To leave home and move to an unfamiliar place and meet new people can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a first-year student about to move out/in or simply looking to change housing, a well-informed decision for the right type of student accommodation is vital for your overall experience while in uni.
You have a wide range of student housing options to choose from, each with both pros and cons. Your decisions will depend mainly on whether your college/university has a campus, your city location, and your monthly budget range, of course.
Privately Rented Apartments and Rooms
You may prefer to live in a privately rented apartment suitable to accommodate up to four or five flatmates at best. This is a popular choice for both first and second-year students. These rentals are the so-called buy-to-let type of properties managed by landlords in the private sector. Buildings are often too far from campus, but they are near key transport links, as well as lots of shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants.
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Privately rented accommodations are a top choice among students because rent is affordable compared to university-managed halls (especially when split between flatmates). A downside is utility bills. These are often separate from the rent and you have the responsibility to sort payments for internet access, TV license, and contents insurance costs.
Be sure to read “the fine print” and understand your rights as a tenant before signing the tenancy agreement.
University-managed houses are the perfect choice for students seeking alternatives to halls of residence but are still keen on living with others. The application process goes through the institutions’ accommodation offices.
Often, large university-managed buildings elect students to both represent tenants and deal with maintenance and unexpected issues. Some college/universities may offer rooms in houses or apartments for undergraduate and postgraduate students, so make sure to ask.
University Hall of Residence
Most first-year students are allocated a place in university residence halls, which has both advantages and setbacks.
To live with fellow students is a great way to get to know people you may end up close friends with. Also, most club meetings, parties, and similar activities happen on campus, always close by.
If you’re a first-year student, to live in the university halls of residence is great preparation for the private rented sector as you gain. To live on the campus builds a sense of independence, minus the responsibility of utility bills, dealing with landlords, contracts, and etc. You’re likely to get great support from the accommodation office in case you need advice or help with something.
Private Residence Halls
The next popular option is rooms in private residential housing. These halls resemble university-managed ones but owned by a private landlord, comments property buyer & professional Paul Gibbens. If you choose this alternative you get a private room but share communal areas like the kitchen or living room, he adds.
Numbers show that private halls are half the beds occupied by students in the UK. Private hall accommodations are common in university cities like London and Manchester. Such housing is great for growing the social circle, for students from other universities often live in the same building.
A less common option is family stay accommodation. This type of student accommodation is used mainly by student exchange programs. With homestay, local families let out private rooms to students for a short period of time. It rarely exceeds a year.
How to Find Suitable Student Accommodation
It’s important to make a well-informed decision when it comes to your future student home. Do your homework and:
- Check websites providing courses – There could be an option for online reservations.
- Read the small print – most accommodation providers have strict rules on what you can and can’t have or bring. There might be other important information you must know, before signing a contract.
- Check what bills you must pay – when living in university halls, utilities like electricity and water bills are included in your rent, but you must pay for other expenses such as the fee for internet connection, insurance, and a TV license.
- Watch virtual tours or attend a virtual open day – gather information about the campus and its facilities from the comfort of your home!
- Check Unipol’s National Codes – make sure your accommodation is legitimate. These codes guarantee what’s advertised is what you will get, repairs made on time, and proper management overall.
- Look after your deposit – research Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) schemes.
What Do Students Look For In Their Accommodation?
- Proximity to the university
- Wireless internet connection
- Kitchen in the apartment and proximity to a supermarket
- Perks like standing desks
- Gym or sports activity area
- Laundry unit
- Security of the apartment
- Responsible flatmates
- Safety of the area