Zebra Housing Association is a specialist “not for profit” housing association providing accommodation and support services to international students.

Zebra has over fifty years of experience in providing housing for international students, and offers students the chance to live like a real Londoner in decent, value for money accommodation. Zebra has five, centrally London apartment blocks, all of which are within easy walking distance of public transport facilities and local amenities. The aim is to provide a quiet and safe environment for residents and their families, as well as responsive support to its tenants. 

The Association has 134 flats, employs eleven staff, and provides accommodation to 250 people. The Association’s work is governed by a wide range of legislation, and we are regulated by the Homes England Government Agency.

All applicants apply on line through our website.

There are a number of things that are unusual about Zebra:

  • We re-invest all our profits in our buildings.
  • We only house international students, most of who are studying at doctorate & Masters level, on student tenancies.
  • We allow students to stay in their accommodation until they have completed their studies and this can be between 1 and 5 years.
  • Many Postgraduate students don’t have a fixed term time, and so we have tenancies starting, and ending, throughout the year.
  • Many of our residents are mature students, and so bring their partners or spouses, and children, with them to the UK. Every year a number of children are born to our residents while they are in London. We have had children of former residents become tenants themselves.
  • We are very conscious that studying in a foreign city can be isolating and stressful. Students come to the UK both to study, and to understand and enjoy, British culture. We run a number of programmes to support students, and to help them enjoy, appreciate and participate in British cultural and intellectual life.
  • We do not provide social housing.



Originally established in 1958 to provide housing for students from the Commonwealth (and in particular Africa), who were studying at prestigious London universities, we now house students from every continent. We have well established relationships with a core of universities.


We are governed by a voluntary and unpaid Board who determine our strategy. The Board is made up of people with a variety of different skills and experience, including education, corporate finance, housing development, business, law, international development, and architecture. Two Board members were formerly residents.

Day to day management is carried out by a small group of paid staff led by a Chief Executive. We employ our own maintenance team for all general responsive maintenance.


90% of our residents are studying at Phd or Masters level, and we serve students from all of the major London educational institutions, including the University of London (Queen Mary Hospital King’s College, London Business School, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Holloway, SOAS, University College), City University, The Courtauld Institute, Eastman Dental Hospital, Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, M Imperial College, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, Royal Ventinary college, Westminster University and the University of the Arts.

All of our tenants are overseas nationals, and many have partners and children.

We are particularly keen to offer housing and support to students and their dependents from developing countries, who often suffer most from financial hardship whilst studying abroad.


We know that being a student in a foreign country is difficult. Residents are studying at a very high level, and often in a foreign language. They are sometimes isolated from family and friends and living in a foreign culture. We want to provide a safe and value for money environment for our residents, to help them settle in and, if they have a family, to help the family settle in too. We also want to enable a sense of connection to the UK and international collegiality amongst those educated at the highest level.


The strategic management of the Association is the remit of a small voluntary board, which brings an array of talents to the organisation. Our Chair is an established academic, and our Board members bring skills in housing and commercial development and architecture risk management, business management, the law, finance, information technology and international development. Two of our Board members are former student residents of the Association. Our staff are highly motivated, and offer a wealth of experience gained with the Association and other organisations, including universities, charities, housing providers and public bodies.

Zebra employs its own maintenance team, who provide a friendly and efficient reactive maintenance service.