Four in ten first year students began searching for somewhere to live in the next academic year, before the end of their first term at university, the consumer watchdog Which? has revealed.

A 2017 survey of more than 3,000 first year students, found that one in four began searching between September and November, in their first academic term.

Based on the findings, Which? has reminded students to make sure that they don’t make ‘rash decisions’ when it comes to choosing accommodation, which they may regret later on.

According to Which? a mere one in five (18 per cent) had not yet started looking for accommodation by March of their second term.

Four in ten (39 per cent) of students reported that they felt ‘very’ pressured to start looking for accommodation, and to secure somewhere quickly.

The Which? University research asked first year students in March this year whether they had started looking for their accommodation for the next academic year, and if so, when.

The research found that in regions with smaller university towns, students felt that there was greater pressure to find somewhere to live for the next academic year (compared to in larger university towns and cities).

This was the case in the North East (45 per cent) South West (45 per cent) and East Midlands (44 per cent), where first year students were most likely to begin looking for their accommodation for the next year between October and November, just after the start of their first term.

First year students in London were most likely to leave the search for next year’s accommodation until later in the academic year, with 43 per cent not beginning their search until after March 2018, and a further quarter (27 per cent) beginning their search between January 2018 and March 2018.

In Wales, 44 per cent of first year students began looking for accommodation between October and November.

Alex Hayman, managing director of public markets at Which? said: “Our research shows that first year students are not only having to deal with the stresses of leaving home, managing their finances and adjusting to life at university, but that many of them have the added pressure of needing to look for accommodation within a few weeks of starting their first term.

“There is plenty of advice and guidance available to students looking for private accommodation for the first time, to help navigate the process and make an informed decision.”

The research was carried out by YouthSight, which on behalf of Which? surveyed more than 5,000 undergraduate students. 3,283 students were included in the survey.

Richard Truman, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance, said: “If your property is anywhere near a university, there’s no escaping students.

“It’s true that students are often deemed as “high risk” for reasons including lack of experience, financial instability and party-related damage.

“But letting to students can be a lucrative option for landlords, and yields can be particularly high, with returns in some parts of the UK reaching up to 10 percent.

“Students are unfussy tenants, and there’ll be less pressure for your property to be on the best streets, with emphasis instead on good transport links.

“Steps you can take to ensure a smooth tenancy include setting up a guarantor, taking a thorough inventory at the start and end of each tenancy, and following the same procedures for HMOs.”

Check out our Simple Landlords Insurance feature on students.