Finding suitable accommodation as a student can be challenging, but there is no need to worry since there are many different helpful resources available to help students to obtain an appropriate place to live. Here, we look at some of the different options available and explore some of the best ways to find accommodation.
Staying In Student Halls Of Residence
The majority of first year university students live in university-owned accommodation, in either a halls of residence or in a house or flat which is owned by the institution itself. As soon as students are offered a place at a college or university, they should receive details about how to apply for accommodation, and should they not receive any of this information, they should contact the accommodation department of the institution.
Halls of residence are a great place to live in the first year of study because they help to make transitioning to an independent lifestyle a little easier. Cleaning services are often provided and catering is sometimes also an option, and with other students around, making friends is much easier. Most halls accommodation is in shared or single rooms which offer either shared bathrooms or en-suite facilities. Although hall fees may be more expensive, the convenience of having internet access, bars and laundry rooms close by makes it a worthwhile expense.
Some students live in university owned rental properties which may be a room in a student house or flat, usually sharing bathroom and kitchen facilities. Often this is cheaper than living in student halls, although cleaning services and other facilities such as a laundry may not be included.
Disabled students are protected by the law, with colleges and universities having an obligation to provide suitable accommodation to provide for their needs.
Are Private Rentals A Good Choice?
Although those who are not in their first year at university can rent accommodation from the institution, there is often not enough supply to meet the demand. Private rentals are therefore the answer for many students. It can be tricky to find suitable and affordable student accommodation, however the university’s accommodation office is often able to provide some assistance by suggesting suitable lettings agencies, checking tenancy agreements and advising on any problems.
When renting from private landlords, rent will often need to be paid in advance and deposits must also be paid up front. It is important to get a full inventory of all of the landlord’s household goods and furnishings when moving in as this will help to make sure that students get their deposit back on moving out. Students must also take care to check that their landlord is registered with the local councils.
Living In Private Halls Of Residence
One further option open to students is to live in a halls of residence which is privately owned rather than owned by the university. Private halls are secure and offer plenty of on-site facilities, and while they are not available at every institution, they are becoming more widespread and popular.
Avoiding Getting Ripped Off
Some students are worried about being ripped off by an unscrupulous landlord, since this does happen on occasion. It is very important for all students to familiarise themselves with their tenants’ rights and to take advice from a housing aid centre or student accommodation service as soon as any problems are encountered.
Although the majority of students are unable to claim any housing benefit, those who are disabled or who have dependent children may be entitled to make a claim. The Citizens Advice Bureau or student welfare advisory team will be able to advise on this matter.
What To Do If You Can’t Find Anywhere To Live?
Some students struggle to find a place in halls, especially if they have made a clearing application, however if this is the case, contacting the accommodation service at the university is the best option. There may still be places left to allocate in halls, or there may be lists of house shares with students. They may also be able to recommend a reputable lettings agency or landlord in the area with student properties to rent.
If all else fails, local newspapers, cafes and community centres around student areas may have listings of flat share vacancies, or local lettings agents may have a suitable property. When visiting a potential property, it is important to avoid going alone, and to always tell someone about the visit.
Any students who are still struggling to secure a suitable place to stay would be well advised to check out the Accommodation For Students website, which enables students to make an online search for a vacancy in student housing in their local area, whether in a privately rented house or flat or in halls of residence.