A Guide to Student Accommodation in the UK
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With the students flowing in from across the globe year after year, the United Kingdom hosts exciting career paths and enticing city life for the immigrants. However, one thing students struggle with is finding a cheap and safe place to stay.
A new term in UK Universities starts around September. But most student hostels would be booked by the end of July. So, start the hunt early, preferably in the off-season, for the luxury of time and deals. Student housing options vary across cities, but the following are the most common types of student housing in the UK.
1. Halls of Residence
Most first-year students prefer to stay in dormitories managed by the University as it enables them to ease into a new setting. With the basic amenities shared, you have a higher chance to meet new people and enhance social connection. The rooms are cheap and basic with an all-in-one bill and a maintenance department you can rely on for any damage/repair works. Most of the University halls offer a meal plan on a subscription basis, while others have a kitchen area and supplies where you can relish your favourite traditional meal. Being close to campus helps you save on commutes and daily expenses. The University websites have a detailed overview of the dorms available.
2. Private Studios
If you value privacy over everything, a private studio is what you want. It would feel more like home and less like hostels with strict rules and regulations. However, bear in mind that this independence does not free you from the baggage of duties. In fact, the responsibility doubles. You are solely responsible for finding a room, negotiating the deal, viewing the house, signing the contract, cooking dinner, taking the trash out, paying bills, and turning it into a home. In cities like Sheffield and Birmingham, student accommodation studios typically cost more and are located a bit away from the campus. As a result, you can explore the place more and connect with locals on the go.
3. Shared Private Accommodation or PBSA (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation)
Some of you want to lead an independent life but need your gang to chill with. Don’t worry; we have the ideal option for you. From spacious dining halls to perfect reading rooms to a fully functional sports centre, PBSAs are built with students’ needs in mind. In many cities like Coventry, Manchester, and London, private student accommodation near Universities includes all the bills in the rent, with support networks for any grievance. They are located near both University and the city centre. So you can move in with your friends, share the bills and amenities, and have the best time of your life on a pocket-friendly budget.
If living alone in an alien land sends a chill down your spine, a homestay would be the way to start your international life. You can stay with a local family in their house where you have a room of your own. You will share the common spaces with the family members, providing you with meals and other essential utilities. Though homestay makes you feel secure and safe, you must comply with basic family etiquette. Discuss the house rules before you agree upon the house. Make sure your diet and hygiene preferences match or are negotiable. Homestay parents can also serve as guardians.
Now that the options are laid out, all you have to do is choose. But as the American journalist Chuck Palahniuk rightly said, “If you don’t know what you want, you will end up with a lot you don’t”. So it would be best if you had your priorities set while going through different options. Here are the primary factors to reflect upon while finding accommodation in the UK.
1. Type of Neighbourhood
It is essential to look for houses in the vicinity of campus, but some may not be comfortable with the loud and buzzing lanes throughout the night. Reflect on personal preferences and priorities while exploring different types of the neighbourhood. If you prefer homestay, be prepared for long commutes since families mostly settle in peaceful streets away from campus. Enquire about the general lifestyle and crime rate in the area. When you choose the type of neighbourhood, bear in mind the safety, comfort and access to basic amenities around the area. In the end, the vibe of the place should resonate with you.
2. Budget and Standard of Living
Research the everyday living expenses of the city and plan a budget for your student accommodation. Read the contract and understand the breaking down of the rent and other costs. Depending on the contract, the rent might cover all the bills, or you might have separate bills for internet, TV license, laundry and other services. You can share the rooms to cut down on bills. You can also consider part-time jobs along with your studies like catering, tutoring, food delivery and storekeeping. Ask for student discounts whenever valid and rely on thrift stores for essential items. Keep apart money every month for emergencies and savings.
3. Type of Roommates
There is nothing that kills the vibe of an international life like a bad roommate. So, pick your roommate wisely. Check if your temperaments and lifestyle match or are negotiable. If you live for gatherings, you don’t want to live with someone who has their head buried in books all the time. Be open and pick someone neat, responsible and reliable. Remember not to be very uptight; a slight adjustment goes a long way. More than the rent or the chores, make sure you can share a fun time. Get a Joey for your Chandler, and life is sorted.
4. House Tour
Once you have a list of houses around your preferred location, you can book a house tour to view the house before you make a decision. You can do it either online or by going to the place yourself. Look around the site, learn about the neighbourhood, and negotiate the deal with your landlord. Ask the current or early tenants about their experience in detail, including their problems and how they dealt with them. You don’t have to choose a house just because you viewed it. Weigh different aspects and get feedback from different people before you decide. Always trust your instincts; you don’t want to stay in a place that doesn’t match your vibe.
5. Terms of the Contract
A rental contract must contain all details regarding the length of stay, payment obligations, subletting options, parking, waste disposal, renewal of contract, damage covers, maintenance works, and other extra bills. If you need clarification on any front, ask it right away and keep the communication open. Make an appointment with your landlord or the letting agency to discuss the rights and responsibilities you would have as a tenant. Have all the agreements on paper and maintain a copy of all the proceedings. Learn about the tenancy deposit scheme and cross-check the inventory before you make a deal.
6. Rental Frauds
As with any big decision, you should be cautious of scams, especially when all the appointments and payments have shifted to digital space. Some might have wrong or duplicate addresses, while some might demand early deposit. Keep track of all the intimation via email or any trackable means, and don’t share personal information online. Always secure your booking through trusted accommodation providers and take time to go through all the contract details. Make it a point to trust your guts and keep an adult in the loop with all the financial and legal matters.
How can Amberstudent help you?
We at AmberStudent are devoted to giving you the best experience and option for student accommodation worldwide because we apprehend its value. We have upgraded ourselves continuously with the COVID policies and would be more than eager to assist you in those.