The Ultimate Guide to Student Accommodation

1st August 2013 Chris Clark Accommodation, London Life

Moving into student accommodation for the first time can be as daunting as it is expensive. Whilst many will have their student accommodation sorted for September, there will be some of you who are still scrabbling to organise student accommodation before the new term comes around. Urbanest gives you these last minute tips to avoid any disasters.

Types of Student Accommodation

Halls of Residence
Halls of residence are primarily available to first years and are often owned by the university, Availability is often limited so some freshers will find themselves looking for an alternative.
What do halls of residence offer?

  • Student halls offer first year students the perfect environment for meeting new people.
  • They are safe, secure and cost effective.
  • There is no need to worry about extra bills.
  • Universities usually supply a cleaner to keep the rooms tidy.
  • There is a choice between catered or self-catered halls, having an en-suite or communal shower.

House Share
House shares are often the option of choice for second and third year students as they offer more freedom and give students the chance to choose who they want to live with.
What does a house share offer?

  • Student houses often vary in quality and price depending on size and location. Starting the search early is key to finding the best houses.
  • University towns have student living areas close to the university meaning it is handy for lectures.

Private Sector Student Accommodation
The number of students applying for university has increased and thus, there is a greater need for student accommodation. As a result, developers have built privately owned accommodation that stand out from house shares due to their all inclusive packages.
What do private halls offer?

  • Privately owned flats and houses offer all the benefits of university owned halls + the benefits and features of quality apartments in the city.
  • They offer a better student community which many students enjoy.
  • They are known for being all inclusive and hassle free with customer service focus led companies being you best choice.

Bills in Student Accommodation

How much you pay for bills depend entirely on the type of student accommodation you choose and whereabouts in the country you choose to live. Generally, living in the North is less expensive than that it is in the South but bills can be included in rent or paid separately.

Don’t Forget…

  • TV License: No matter whether a student lives in halls or a house, if you own a television then you are liable to pay for a TV license. A TV license for a colour television is currently £145.50 per year. If you live in halls then each student will individually need to pay for a TV license but in a shared house, students can share the bill.
  • Council Tax: Students are exempt from council tax. If, however, you live with a non-student or part-time student then they are not exempt.

What Makes for Good Student Accommodation?

Expectations and needs are different for everyone but there are some things that every student should consider when it comes to looking for student accommodation.

Security
Some student areas do attract thieves so security and contents insurance is important. The more secure a property is the less expensive contents insurance will be. It is useful to check with insurance providers what their minimum requirements are when looking for somewhere to live.

Noise
Universities can usually be found in highly populated cities so if you like peace and quiet it would be useful to find out where the calmer areas of the city area. Always consider any main roads, pubs or train tracks which are close to a property.

Furniture
Landlords are always likely to show a student his/her property at its very best. That doesn’t necessarily mean the house will be in the same condition when you move in so be sure to question the landlord on the furniture which will be present throughout tenancy. It will be incredibly expensive to move into an unfurnished property.

Space
This one might be obvious, but make sure that there is always enough room for you and your housemates. Are there enough bathrooms or shower rooms? Is there enough cupboard and storage space?

Location
When looking at properties, always ask yourself it is in a convenient location. Is it close to the university and to local amenities? Are you close to transport links?

Your Rights When Renting Student Accommodation

All students will be asked to pay a refundable deposit when moving into student accommodation unless you are booking a room at urbanest as they don’t ask for deposits! If the house is in the same condition at the end of the tenancy, the money will be returned.

How Much Deposit Will I Pay?
How much deposit you pay will depend on the location and type of accommodation. In private rented properties, students will usually be asked to pay between 4-6 weeks worth of rent but some landlords see students as high risk tenants so more may ask for more.

Protect Your Deposit
Often landlords will protect your deposit with a tenancy deposit protection scheme – or TDP – these ensure that the student gets their deposit back provided the property is not damaged.

Getting It Back
If your landlord refuses to return your deposit you should raise your concerns. If you fail to resolve the matter with him or her then you should speak to the student housing office or to the local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice.
Have you had trouble finding student accommodation? What problems that you have had?

Chris Clark

Chris Clark

For more great posts from Urbanest about accomodation, London life, study tips and much more, visit the Student Journal.