Student Life: How to Find Student Accommodation

Attending university is an exciting chapter in anyone’s life, but finding the right accommodation can often be a daunting task. With so many options available, it’s important to make informed decisions to ensure a comfortable and conducive living environment. Whether you’re a fresher or looking to move off-campus, this guide from Nicholas Humphreys estate agents provides essential tips and advice to help you navigate the process of finding student accommodation.

Students, looking frustrated, packing to move to a new accommodation

Understanding Your Options

When it comes to student accommodation, there are several types to consider. The main options include university halls of residence, private halls and private rented accommodation.

University Halls of Residence: These are typically located on or near campus, providing a community atmosphere with easy access to university facilities. They often come fully furnished and include utilities and internet in the rent, making budgeting simpler.

Private Halls: Similar to university halls but owned by private companies, these can offer a range of amenities like gyms, study rooms and social spaces. They tend to be more expensive but provide a high standard of living and often have more modern facilities.

Private Rented Accommodation: This includes houses, flats or shared houses rented from private landlords. This option offers greater independence and often more space but requires more responsibility in terms of managing bills and maintenance.

Start Your Search Early

The best accommodations are snapped up quickly, so it’s important to start your search as early as possible. Most students begin looking for the next academic year’s accommodation around January or February.

Research Thoroughly: Use online portals such as UCAS Accommodation and The Uni Guide to compare options and read reviews from other students. University accommodation offices can also provide valuable advice and listings of available properties.

Consider Your Budget

Budgeting is a crucial part of the accommodation search. Be realistic about what you can afford, considering not just rent but also bills, groceries and other living expenses.

Inclusive vs. Exclusive: Some accommodations include bills (electricity, water, internet) in the rent, while others do not. Inclusive options can help you avoid unexpected costs, but it’s worth comparing to see which is more economical.

Location, Location, Location

The location of your accommodation can greatly affect your university experience. Consider factors such as proximity to campus, local amenities and transport links.

Close to Campus: Living close to campus can save on commuting time and costs, making it easier to attend lectures and participate in campus activities.

Local Amenities: Check the surrounding area for essential amenities such as supermarkets, medical centres and leisure facilities. Being close to these can make daily life more convenient.

Transport Links: If you’re opting for accommodation further from campus, ensure there are good public transport links to avoid long and expensive commutes.

Viewing Properties

Always view properties in person if possible. Photos don’t always tell the full story and it’s important to get a feel for the space and its condition.

Check for Issues: Look out for signs of damp, mould and the overall state of repair. Ensure that essential appliances and facilities are in good working order.

Security: Assess the security of the property. Check for working locks on doors and windows and consider the safety of the area. Ask about any security features like CCTV or alarms.

Understand the Contract

Before signing any contract, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. If possible, have it reviewed by someone knowledgeable about rental agreements, such as a university housing adviser or legal professional.

Tenancy Agreements: Ensure the agreement outlines the length of the tenancy, rent amount and payment schedule. Check for clauses on deposits, repairs and your responsibilities as a tenant.

Guarantors: Many landlords require a guarantor, usually a parent or guardian, who will be responsible for the rent if you are unable to pay. Make sure your guarantor understands their obligations.

Living with Others

If you’re considering shared accommodation, choose your housemates carefully. Living with friends can be fun, but ensure they have similar habits and expectations regarding cleanliness, noise and social activities.

Housemate Agreements: It can be helpful to draw up a housemate agreement to outline shared responsibilities and resolve potential conflicts.

More Tips

Join Student Groups: Many universities have social media groups where students post about available accommodation and look for housemates.

Use Reputable Agents: If you’re using an estate agent, ensure they are reputable and registered with a recognised body.

Finding the right student accommodation is crucial for a successful university experience. At Nicholas Humphreys, we specialise in helping students find their perfect home away from home. Contact us today to explore our listings and get expert advice tailored to your needs. Visit our website or call our friendly team to start your search.