There are different types of accommodation available to students and all should be considered before making a decision.
Most universities will try and house their first year students in their own accommodation. The quality and quantity varies a lot but you will usually be allocated a room in a shared flat with other students. You may not have en-suite bathroom facilities and dependent on whether you choose catered or non-catered will impact the level of kitchen facilities you have.
It is a good idea to take up an offer of university accommodation in your first year as it will take the hassle of having to find somewhere to live by yourself and ensures you do not miss out on any social events in your first few weeks. Some universities will offer limited places beyond your first year so if it is an experience you have enjoyed, it may be worth looking into. Do consider though that you may end up sharing with first years.
Private halls are not owned by the university but may appear to be similar to the traditional halls of residence. They are usually laid out in shared flats and studio apartments with excellent quality accommodation and communal facilities.
These are a comparatively new addition to the student accommodation market as a compromise between university accommodation and traditional rented houses.
It is a relatively easy option compared to renting a private house as your bills are usually included, communal areas are cleaned and looked after, there are maintenance staff on site, sometimes there will be a manned reception desk to assist with lost keys and post, sometimes a carpark, social activities organised and usually ensuite bathroom facilities.
Choose any type of accomodation while you study abroad : campus, private accomodation or appartment and we will assist you
You can either rent a whole flat with your friends or rent one room within a flat and allow yourself to be allocated flatmates. Another benefit to this set-up is that as you all have separate tenancy agreements, you are not liable to replace a flatmate that decides to leave.
This type of student accommodation isn’t for everybody – you may feel that you would rather be completely independent and want to tackle renting privately instead. The costs can also seem higher but they do tend to include bills.
For years this has been the most popular form of student accommodation as you can live independently without supervision for the first time!
Whilst this is true, the process is not always easy regarding the money side of things and paperwork can be baffling. You will need to deal with a landlord or an agent who will have certain expectations about how you use and maintain the property.
The property itself may not be as nice as the one you grew up in and it may be a harsh reality realising that the entire cleanliness and maintenance of the house is down to you and your friends.
Consider the cost carefully as a cheap house will be cheap for a reason – either size, location or quality, and bills will be payable on top of the rent.
The benefits are that it is a great practice for when you will be renting or buying your own house in the future – get a grip now on budgeting and cleaning and you may never move back home !
Some parents will decide that a savy solution to where their son or daughter is going to live is to buy a house and rent it to a group of students. So your friends’ parents could end up being your landlord.
Whilst this may operate in a similar way to renting any house in the private market, you will also have the added dynamic of sharing with the son or daughter of the landlord. Before deciding if this is an option for you, consider how you feel about this and the way your friend may react to this/be treated differently.
Financially, this may be the only option available to you, in which case, you will certainly save a lot of money compared to your friends.
If you do this, ensure that your house is located within reasonable travel distance from your university so you can still commit to your course and enjoy a healthy social life. It may be worth getting a job near the university as this will encourage you to stay close by for longer rather than rushing home.
Also consider how much you may pay for public transport or in petrol and parking if you are travelling to university every day – it may soon add up and may not be much different to living in student accommodation.
- The costs of Student Accommodation
The type of property is an important consideration and you should always explore all the options before making a decision. In your first year, you will most likely be in halls of residence but after that, there are more options available – each with their own costs and benefits.
Traditionally, students tend to live in shared houses or flats in an older style property in an established student area. However the emergence of managed accommodation, or “private student halls” are also worth considering as they have many benefits. Weigh up the pros and cons of the following points before deciding:
•Living in a group
•Quality of accommodation/furniture
Sometimes managed accommodation will appear more expensive but will mainly include bills and will also tend to have a good quality of student accommodation available so look at value for money rather than just the cost.
You could also look at just renting a room in a house if you don’t have a group you would like to share with. It’s a great way of making new friends without the pressure of having to join in with the whole group social scene. For a more comprehensive breakdown of your different student accommodation options see our article “What types of Student Accommodation are there?”
PPW & PCM
The cost of student accommodation varies enormously across the country so you need to make sure you understand what is reasonable for you and your friends to pay. Most landlords and lettings agents will use a PPPW format (per person per week) format so you can work out your weekly budget easily. This is a good way to identify an agent that may be more suited towards students rather than residential non-student property.
However, although the property will be advertised in a PPPW format, this does not mean that you will be paying your rent on a weekly basis. You will need to check but the most common way of paying rent is in termly instalments after you get your Student Loan.
- Length of Contract
Before signing a tenancy agreement, check how long you are actually signing for. Many are actually 12 months regardless of how many months you are actually at university for (you will usually be finished lectures by May/June and will not start again until September). However a contract for a whole year may be a good thing if you want to stay in your university city over the summer and work. Some landlords reduce the rent over the summer and allow you to store your belongings there until your come back in September if you are renting the same property for two years.
Private halls will usually give you a shorter option of around 41 weeks so you are only paying for when you are actually there.
If your tenancy agreement is shorter but you do decide to stay over the summer, some landlords do summer lets and most private halls do as well. Places are usually limited as many international students come to the UK over the summer so register your interest as soon as you decide to stay on.
Remember to tie in any extended stay with your contents insurance so you are covered throughout the whole year.
When discussing the length of the contract with your landlord or agent, remember to get buy-in from your entire group as some may want to stay longer than others.
Top 5 things to look for to find your perfect student accommodation
•Location, location, location – it may be the perfect student house but is it really where you want to live?
•Is there enough communal space? You do not want to spend your days stuck in your bedroom
•Is it good quality? From the kitchen appliances to wardrobes – is it all going to last?
•Maintenance Issues – who will fix your boiler if it breaks or unblock the shower?
•Incentives – don’t be swayed as these are usually a short-term benefit