When you first become a student there are many aspects of your new life that can be daunting, and understanding student accommodation and its many forms is one of them.
Halls of residence
This type of accommodation is usually only available to first year students as a way of introducing them to student life. The halls of residence are usually owned and managed by the University and are located on the University grounds.
Halls are an excellent way of meeting your peers, as you are all new to the university and you have the ability to get to know different people in a short amount of time. They are secure and effective in terms of the cost, and usually include a cleaner and all bills, so you are able to get used to independent living gradually, rather than being bombarded with all of the nasty things that come with living away from home, in particular bills.
Most Universities provide a range of different halls accommodation ranging from completely self-catered, to catered, some having en suite facilities and kitchenettes where others have shared facilities. Usually these are allocated on a first come first served basis, so don't feel too disheartened if you end up sharing a bathroom, you will soon get used to it.
This is the best option once you finish your first year at university and are looking for off campus accommodation. In some occasions you may be able to remain on campus, especially if you have specific needs such as mobility issues, however during your second year the majority of your peer group will move off campus. By this stage you should have made some good friends, and house shares usually come in rooms of 4 however smaller and larger houses are available. The types of houses available range in quality and price, but you do not want to spend too much time shopping around as the houses go quick, so once you find one that meets your needs be sure to do something about it. In particular if you have a high number of people you want to live with, anything from 5 upwards your choices will be even more limited so don't wait around. It may sound too soon but as soon as you are back from your Christmas break you will want to start thinking about next years accommodation.
When considering location it is wise to try to pick heavily student populated area. Living in a residential area with families is likely to cause you problems with noise complaints and unsociable hours from both sides, so stick to an area where you all have the same type of routine.
Parent owned student houses
If you are lucky enough to have a parent willing to buy a student home, or are friends with someone who is, this can be great as you will know your landlord, and it is likely that your rent will be cheaper. A word of caution however is that this type of set up is known to cause tension between housemates, in particular the housemate with the parents that owns the home. If this is you, make sure you are not getting preferential treatment such as cheaper rent, this is likely to ruffle the feathers of your housemate and certainly isn't worth the saving. You will also want to iron out with your parents that you are not a live in landlord, and therefore it is not your responsibility to keep your friends in check.
Another option is to rent a room in a private house. This is a great option if you have not been able to secure a group of friends you are happy to live with, and is usually a lot cheaper. The quality of the accommodation is also usually a lot higher as it is someone else's home, so it is likely to be more comfortable and homely. The downside of this set up however is that you may find it difficult to maintain privacy, and you will lack freedom in the amount of noise you can make and your comings and goings.
If you are a fan of your own company you could opt for a private flat, however this is not the most desired set up as it can be very expensive, and you will be missing out on the student lifestyle.
All in all, whatever your choices it is wise to check the landlord of the home you are looking to rent to ensure that they are reasonable, and that the home is available for the length of time you require it. You don't want to find that your landlord has suddenly increased the rent with no warning of wants you out in an unreasonable amount of time. Fortunately there are now website and forums that allow you to perform these types of check, therefore spend a little time investigating before jumping in.
Hi, my name is James and I am the owner of studenttenant.com. We specialise in helping student find suitable accomodation and offer lots of help and advice along the way.
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