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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages


Living in Cambridge

Pembroke College



The University has an Accommodation Service which can help you find somewhere to live. With hundreds of University properties on their books, they are the first point of contact for new starters and visitors looking for somewhere to live.

Before you can access the service, you will need to register with them.

> Visit the Accommodation Service website


We recommend you consider the University properties available through the Accommodation Service. However, there is a large private rental sector in the city. The majority of properties are rented ('let'), and often managed, by a lettings agency. There are some well-established local and national agencies, with branches across the city.

Almost all of these agencies have their own websites, which is the fastest way to find out about properties that are available. Many of the more established agencies post their properties on national property websites, such as Zoopla and Rightmove. It is standard practice for agencies to request a deposit of 4-6 weeks' rent paid in advance, and the first months' rent paid up front. It is the law that all deposits are kept in a tenancy deposit protection scheme (a TDP), to ensure you are not unfairly treated and your money is safe. Agencies also usually charge an administration fee and a checking-in and checking-out fee, so it is a good idea to find out how much these are in advance if you can, as practices and rates vary considerably.

Local government

In England, most local governments are divided into an upper tier (county level) and lower tier (city level), both of which have different responsibilities and provide different services.

The upper tier is Cambridgeshire County Council, which is responsible for:

  • Families, children and adults
    • education and schools
    • social care and care for the elderly
  • Economy, transport and environment
    • maintaining highways and transport infrastructure
    • collecting and recycling domestic waste
    • registering births, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths

> Visit Cambridgeshire County Council's website for more information

The lower tier is Cambridge City Council, which is responsible for:

  • Collecting Council Tax
  • Arts and recreation (Corn Exchange, Folk Festival, annual fireworks, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities)
  • Maintaining parks and open spaces
  • Housing services (council housing)

> Visit Cambridge City Council's website for more information

All residents must pay Council Tax, which is an annual charge for the provision of the services of the County and City Councils as well as the Fire Authority and Police & Crime Commissioner (who provide policing).

Council Tax is calculated based on the value of your property. If you rent a property you are still required to pay. Discounts may be applicable (for example, if there is only one person in the property). Payment is usually by means of 10 monthly installments.

> Find out more about Council Tax from Cambridge City Council