In Cambridge suitable accommodation of any kind is not easy to find. Students will generally have more choice if they elect to take Half Board or Bed and Breakfast for the first semester. The Accommodation Office provides details of all categories of accommodation but it is important that, having viewed the accommodation, a decision is made quickly but do not be pressurised into taking the room offered if it does not seem suitable.

Options in host family accommodation will include:

Half Board
Bed, breakfast and evening meal plus lunch at weekends.

Bed and Breakfast

Simple breakfast is provided and the student is normally expected to have the rest of his/ her meals out. The landlady may be prepared to allow the student some use of her kitchen for drinks and snacks, but this is usually by agreement and the student should not take this facility for granted. Do check if this arrangement can exist before accepting accommodation.

Bed and Breakfast with use of kitchen
Simple breakfast is provided, together with the use of the landlady's kitchen for basic meals, although facilities may be limited.

Self Catering
Students will usually have full use of kitchen to prepare their own meals.



At the beginning of the academic year there is often a delay in receiving grant cheques. Students are advised to bring sufficient money with them to cover their needs and to pay the rent for at least a month.

Students are responsible for paying the landlady direct. The first payment should be made immediately on arrival and subsequent payments made on a set day, a week, a fortnight, or a month in advance without the landlady having to ask.

To avoid any misunderstanding, a receipt for payments made should be given and the date on which they are made and the period to which they refer. If the landlady is reluctant to do this, the student should endeavour to pay the rent by cheque.

If the original booking was made on the basis of a full week's lodgings, then no reduction can be expected for an occasional absence at weekends. Some landladies, however, feel that provided the student gives enough notice of weekend absence, a nominal reduction of approximately 25% is in order. As the dates of the semester may vary slightly according to the course, the landlady should be advised of semester dates and how long accommodation is likely to be required. This applies particularly if the course is only for one semester.


Retaining Fee

If a student is returning to the same lodgings after the Christmas and Easter vacations, s/he may be asked to pay a retainer (approximately 15.00 per week). If the student is ill for a period or is on a field course, and goes away from the lodgings, a charge of one third the normal cost may be requested.

The above information on retainers is for guidance only as, ultimately, the decision on the amount of a retainer rests with the landlady and details should be agreed before the student moves in.




The landlady is expected to provide heating in the room used for private study and/or bedroom. As the cost of heating a home is considerable, and is a cause of great concern to most landladies, unnecessary use of radiators and gas or electric fires should be avoided. Students should remember, when they are going out, to turn off all lights and fires.


Normally, a charge is included to cover one shower per day. An agreement should be reached as to how many baths are allowed and when they may be taken.


The landlady is usually responsible for the laundering of bed linen, but not student's personal laundry. Facilities may be offered, sometimes at an extra charge that should be discussed in advance of any arrangement being entered into.