Searching for the right accommodation can be as challenging as searching for the right university for yourself. It is best advised to look for accommodation through the University you are going to study at but many times due to limited availability of rooms with university halls students end up stranded.
Accommodation plays a huge role in your student life experience as a lot of things like who your new friends would be, easy access to university, comfort and hygiene level in and around your habitat matter a lot.
We recommend all our students to do enough research before finalising accommodation. As per research more than 35% of the students are unhappy with their accommodation. This is mainly because they are not able to see the accommodation before they move in.
Back2study’s local team based in London will provide ample assistance in understanding which accommodation will suit you the best as per your preferences.
Most of the education consultants are unable to provide proper guidance as they themselves lack knowledge of the local whereabouts of the suggested university. Back2study having its base in London, has its grounds covered to provide guidance to its students to search for ideal accommodation.
Type of Accomodation in the UK
University halls are usually located inside the university campus or somewhere closer to the study campuses in some cases. The university residence halls form the best and most suggested types of accommodation as it helps in a lot of ways for the student
- You live in a very secure environment
- You get an opportunity to make more friends and do not feel lonely
- You save time and money travelling up and down the university
- You are able to spend more time at the University Campus to enjoy other extracurricular activities
- You are able to network and live with students from different nationalities, cultures and ways of thinking
- You may have a shared kitchen and a dining area with 4-6 other students with most of the rooms having ensuites
- You may have a standard contract for 33 to 52 weeks depending on the university policy
University Halls, however, may prove to be a little more expensive than other types of accommodation but have enough benefits to compensate for the additional cost. Back2study team highly recommends the students to book for University Halls asa they finalize on their universities as with many popular universities their accommodations get filled up very soon.
Independent Student Accommodation Buildings
Private students’ accommodation buildings are another popular type of accommodation which is very popular with international students. These are owned by private companies which own/manage these independent student accommodation buildings to ensure they are kept to an appropriate standard for students to have similar or better experience to University Halls.
The following are the salient features of the Private Accommodations are
- You enjoy living with students from different universities, nationalities, and cultures in the same building
- They are only occupied by students and will not accommodate dependents or family members
- They are generally located close to the University’s Study Campus
- Most of them have facilities like a gym, common study area, café etc.
- They are very secure as they have 24/7 security and the accommodation team is also helpful with other general queries.
- You may have a standard contract for 33 to 52 weeks depending on the provider’s policies.
- Most of these properties are available during the start of the course I.e. September or January
Back2study team recommends to live with these types of accommodation over other types of private accommodation however it is important to look at the ratings of these individual buildings.
You may want to visit the following websites to have a look at different Private Accommodation Providers in the UK
- Home for Students – www.wearehomesforstudents.com
- Chapters Living (London) – https://www.chapter-living.com
- University Living – www.universityliving.com
- Unite Students – www.unitestudents.com
- IQ Student – www.iqstudentaccommodation.com
- Amber Students – www.amberstudent.com
- My Student Halls – www.mystudenthalls.com
- Accommodation for Students – www.accommodationforstudents.com
- Uni Acco – www.uniacco.com
Private Accommodation – Renting a house/Apartment/Studio
Some students who would travel together or with family may want to opt for this option. There are a variety of studios, one to five bed apartments/houses available to rent all across the UK for students or professionals. These apartments are usually owned by private landlords and managed by estate agents and are usually available all-round the year you need to keep checking the relevant websites a couple of months before you are planning to fly in.
- You may have a standard 1-year contract with a break clause after 6 months. You can get out of the contract after this by giving one month’s notice
- You may have to pay up to 5 weeks’ deposit which is secured in a Deposit Protection Fund and is returned back to you at the end of your contract if no damages are made
- The houses/apartment may vary from each other and may have different floor plans
- Usually, the rent mentioned does not include the additional utility bills. You may have to pay the bills which include Gas, Electricity, Water, Internet etc. You may be able to claim exemption from Council Tax if you are a student
- It is important that you read the terms of your contract carefully before signing.
- The agency you are dealing with may subject you to reference check and may require you to provide a UK-based guarantor before agreeing to exchange contracts. If you are unable to provide a UK guarantor, they may request you to pay 6 to 8 months of upfront rental.
- It is advisable to do a thorough check of the property before paying deposits to ensure you are being given the property as seen in the pictures published.
- You may be able to invite guests over to stay
There are many websites available where agents and landlords publish their properties but the following portals are recommended where most of the reputed agencies publish their properties to let:
- Rightmove – www.rightmove.co.uk
- Zoopla – www.zoopla.co.uk
- On The Market – www.onthemarket.com
Team Back2study recommends this type of accommodation only to students who are travelling with their families or if students want to live together.
Some common drawbacks and downsides to look for
- The apartments may be located away from the university so you may have to spend additional money on travel and may waste time too
- They are less secure compared to university or student accommodation
- They may not be as well maintained and may not be exactly as shown in the pictures
- You may have to pay for the utility bills separately which may add up to additional expenses
- If you move in with some newly made friends or acquaintances and have disputes it might be difficult to get out of the contract and may have to stay all through the tenure
House Share/Paying Guest
House Share or living as a paying guest is the most common type of accommodation generally people in the UK opt for, however it is not recommended for international students who are new to the country and are trying to book accommodation from overseas without actually visiting it.
In these types of accommodation usually the landlords or agencies advertise for their rooms on different websites to attract tenants by adding pictures of the room and renting a house room by room in order to fetch more rent.
Students may find this kind of accommodation cheaper than other forms of accommodation as the rental varies from the size of the room, type of the room, condition of the property, distance from city centre etc. However, students need to be careful in looking at various aspects of the room/house before making commitments
Things to look out for before paying a holding deposit:
- Ensure if there are more than 2 families living in the house it has a valid HMO Licence
- Ensure you or someone known to you has visited the house and the room before committing to the rent
- Ensure the rent or deposit is being paid to a legit company or landlord after making a physical visit to the property. A lot of students who have tried to book such forms of accommodation without physical visits have been scammed by people by showing fake pictures on some websites and pushing students to pay the rent/deposits into unknown accounts and later disappearing.
- Check whether the rent includes all the utility bills.
Websites you may be able to look for different Flat Share options:
- Spare Room – www.spareroom.com
- Gumtree – www.gumtree.com
Some downfalls after getting into such accommodations
- The housemates may be of a different age group and not necessarily students hence it might not be a very good place to network and make friends
- The condition of the property may be poor and may not have immediate response from the landlords or agents for any repair work needed
- You may not be able to get along much with the university students as you may not spend too much of time in the university
- If the accommodation is located further away from the university you may spend additional money on travel and may waste time too
Back2study does not recommend these kinds of accommodation for students who are flying into the country for the first time. This may be used as the last resort and pay the rent only if someone local has made physical visit to the property and has spoken to the landlord or agency personally.
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