As university life approaches, many young people wonder about the possibilities of being able to stay with their partner for a while. Especially if they attend a different university. Whether it is for a couple weeks, or just overnight, it creates questions on whether this is possible, or even legal. Therefore, it is essential that you have all the right information before allowing your partner to stay. There can be consequences if you have someone else stay in your room without permission.
Generally, there shouldn’t be any major problems with a partner staying overnight. That is, of course, that you ask for permission from your university. However, there could be multiple issues and consequences if you have another person staying with you in your room for a longer period without permission. Not only would you be committing council tax fraud and risk breaching your university contract. But also, it would be hazardous in case of a fire, or a similar type of emergency. Nonetheless, there are other options of being able to stay with your partner, such as private accommodation, most often after your first year.
Now that you have a surface level answer, I recommend reading the entire article to get a better understanding on the general rules of having a boyfriend or girlfriend stay in your room at uni.
Can Your Partner Stay in University Halls With You Overnight?
Generally speaking, there shouldn’t be a huge problem if a partner, or even a friend, comes to stay with you overnight. That is of course, that you make your uni aware that there is another person in your room with you.
But it’s quite a difficult situation to give a simple yes or no answer, as every university has different rules, that could also have changed slightly due to the pandemic.
If you look at it from a different perspective, there simply could have been an emergency and someone you know needed a place to stay overnight. Therefore, most universities shouldn’t have any major problems if you have someone to stay over one night in an emergency scenario.
However, in a non-emergency scenario (which is one that will most likely occur), some, if not all, universities may require you to tell someone if you have a guest staying overnight, which you will have to check specifically with your uni.
For example, Brunel University London allow you to have a guest overnight, for a maximum of 3 nights in a row at a time. You have to let them know, as well as pay a fee of £3 per night to hire a bed and bedding.
Read more about Brunel University here.
Also, it’s good to keep in mind that overnight literally means one night, and one night only, there could be universities that are very strict about this rule.
Can Your Partner Stay in University Halls with You Permanently?
As an undergraduate, the most common answer you will hear is unfortunately no. But, if you both attend the same university, then you could request for a larger room for 2 people, if this option is available. If you both attend different universities, then it gets a little more complicated, especially during your undergrad years, but even more so, your first year.
The main reasons why your partner cannot live with you permanently include:
- If you get caught you could end up paying a fine.
- You (or your partner specifically) would be committing council tax fraud.
- Your partner wouldn’t be paying the right, or possibly any, taxes that they might have to pay.
- They wouldn’t be paying rent.
- It would be hazardous in an event of a fire or a similar type of emergency.
- More mess in communal areas such a kitchens and bathrooms, which would be uncomfortable for other students.
Generally, this is because there would be another person living with you for free. Even if they help you pay a fraction of your rent by physically giving you the money, the university staff do not know that they live there.
However, this is not to say that some sort of contract could be worked out with your uni to allow them to live with you for an extended period of time (especially if you have a valid reason, e.g., medical reasons).
Some universities, such as the University of Cambridge, have deliberate rooms for your family/ friends to stay in for a while when they come visit. Although this is not a permanent solution, it does allow you partner to stay with you for a couple days at a time.
Have a look the Cambridge website here.
What Happens if You Get Caught Having a Partner in Your Room Without Permission?
It’s hard to say because it entirely depends on your uni. They would probably take into account how long they have been staying with you for, as well as other factors.
It could perhaps be just a fine, but worst-case scenario you could be evicted from your residence halls, as you would be breaching your contract.
Every student has to sign a contract when they move into residence halls. The contract will often give you information about having partners or family stay over.
For example, students attending the University of Southampton had to sign a contact. It states that if you wish to have a guest stay for more than 3 nights, and only up to 7 nights, you must ask, in advance, for written permission. You must also provide their name, date of birth, age and reason for staying when asking for this permission.
Read the University of Southampton’s contract here.
This is why it is likely to be much better to move into private accommodation (after your first year) as then your partner will be able to stay with you for as long as you let them!
Do the Rules Regarding Partners Staying Overnight Differ For Postgraduate Students?
Most of the time, if you’re not living in private residence, relationships between postgrads are taken more seriously. This is because they are older and classed as “mature students” so their relationships are believed to last longer and be more serious.
This is not to discourage anyone who is about to go to uni and in a relationship, but many of the uni staff believe that relationships are more likely to last with people who are in their 20s rather than late teens.
As a result, when applying for postgraduate education, there are more opportunities to live in a room with your partner. Some may have a section when applying for picking accommodation with a partner, so you will most likely share an En-suite together.
But if you’re in different university’s then private accommodation might be the way to go, as there will be much less hassle.
Can You Stay in Private Accommodation Whilst at University?
Private accommodation, on one hand, can be much better than residence halls. You have the opportunity to invite guests over whenever you want, have your own kitchen and bathroom and of course live with friends or your partner.
But as you may be aware, this is mostly only possible after your first year. Therefore, in most universities you have to spend your first year in residence halls on campus.
Also, it can be more expensive. If you live on campus, you can sign a contract to live in the room for only a certain number of weeks. So, you will move out during the holidays and therefore not have to pay rent whilst you’re not living in the room.
This would not be available in private accommodation.
Some universities, such as Oxbridge (University of Cambridge and University of Oxford) are known as collegiate universities, which means that they have a “college” system where students live. This means that they will live on college campus for the duration of their course. Although you can move out into private accommodation after your first year, many don’t as it is more expensive and they enjoy the college lifestyle.
It is useful to be aware of the different accommodation systems that different universities have, to see which one suits you and your needs the best.
Read more about accommodation for different universities:
What is “Council Tax” and Who Has to Pay?
As mentioned previously, if your partner lived with you for an extended period of time, they could be committing council tax fraud. But what is it?
Council tax, by definition from the oxford dictionary, is “a tax levied on households by local authorities in Britain, based on the estimated value of a property and the number of people living in it.”
Simply, it is a tax that you pay if you’re over 18 living in any type of property such as a house or flat, and the amount you pay depends on where you live and in the type of building you live in.
However, full time students do not need to pay council tax.
Therefore, if you are a full-time student and your partner, who is living with you, isn’t, they would be committing council tax fraud.
Read more about the council tax here.
I hope that you now have a better overall understanding on the rules of having a girlfriend or boyfriend stay in your room at uni. Remember to check specifically with your university on their exact, and most recent, rules before letting a partner stay with you.