Choosing student accommodation: how to make the right choice

When you’re going to university, whether you’re going into your first, second or third year, where you’re going to live will be one of your top priorities. When you’re living away from home for the first time in an unfamiliar place, it can be difficult to know where to live. 

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Choosing the right student accommodation can take a bit of research and there are a few key factors to consider too. We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to think about to make sure you find the student accommodation that’s right for you. 


1.   Choose the right type of accommodation 🚪

There are a number of different types of student accommodation available to choose from. Student halls of residence tend to be university or privately owned accommodation popular with first year students who are looking to meet people. 

On the other hand, privately rented houses and flats are commonly chosen by second and third year students who want to live with their friends and enjoy more independence. Living in a shared house will give you more freedom over where you want to live and who you want to live with. The type of accommodation you choose will all depend on what you’re looking to get out of your uni experience and who you want to live with. 

Some students prefer to remain living at home to save money on accommodation costs. These are all factors you will need to consider once you get your place at uni. 


2.   Consider your budget 💸

We know that thinking about budgeting is not the most exciting part of going to uni but it’s still one of the most important decisions to think about. 

Knowing what your monthly budget will be based on your student loan, grants, help from your parents or a part time job will help you to understand what you will be able to afford. This will also help to narrow down your accommodation options too. 

There are huge differences in the costs of different types of accommodation so you will need to be realistic. You might have visions of living in a large city centre flat but might find that it’s just not going to be possible on a student budget! 

Remember that privately rented accommodation and private halls are two of the most expensive options so this is something to consider when choosing your accommodation. 


3.   What’s included in your rent? 💡

If you find a house with low rent, you might think it’s a great choice. But, always remember that low rent could mean that bills are not included in your rent. If you’re living in halls, this isn’t usually something you have to worry about but in a houseshare, it’s definitely something you will need to sort out or look into. 

When opting to live in privately rented accommodation, always find out whether bills are included within the rent or not. Some landlords will include bills which means the rent might be slightly higher to cover this but it means you don’t need to worry about sorting them out every month.  

If bills are not included, find out how much they’re likely to cost per month and whether you can afford these in addition to your rent. In a houseshare, you will also need to decide how you’ll take care of the bills and how they will be split. 

At Unihomes, all of our properties have bills included so you don’t have to worry about them. You can also use bill splitting services to take the hassle out of paying your bills.

Bills you need to think about include:

●      Broadband / Internet 

●      Electricity 

●      Gas 

●      Water 

●      TV Licence 

Having all of these included in your rent can make living away from home for the first time much easier and stress free. 


4.   Is there a good WiFi connection? 💻

You might think that having a good WiFi connection is a given in any student home but this is not always the case! Make sure you look at the quality and speed of the connection in the accommodation you choose. 

Access to the internet and being able to video call friends and family are an essential lifeline when you’re living away from home. You don’t want a connection that drops out when you’re close to a deadline or when you’re trying to switch off and watch Netflix! 


5.   Location 📍

No matter what type of accommodation you choose to live in, the location will be an extremely important factor for you to consider. This will be based on the city you live in, the location of your uni and what you want to get out of your student life. 

A cheap house away from the city centre or campus might seem like a great idea until you have to commute to uni for an hour or you get stuck with no transport on a night out. 

Think about what’s going to be important to you. Do you want to live as close as possible to campus so you can roll out of bed at the last minute for your lectures? Or do you want to walk to uni and enjoy living closer to the city’s bars, restaurants and shopping centres? Take a look at public transport links from the area you’re looking to live in too. Will it be easy to get to uni? If you’re travelling home regularly, is it easy to get to the train or coach station?  

The perfect accommodation in the perfect location should include: 

●      A good price - have a look at prices in the area and prices of other student housing in the city to give you an idea of the lower and higher end prices

●      Good proximity to your uni campus and other essentials such as supermarkets 

●      Safety - most student areas are safe but double check before you commit to anything 

●      Good transport links - whether you’re commuting to uni or you want to make the most of your city’s nightlife, make sure the accommodation you choose is easily accessible 


6.   Who are you going to live with? 🙇🏻‍♀️

Who you’re going to live with is another huge factor that can have an impact on your student experience. If you’re living in halls, you won’t get to choose who you live with but, when you move out of halls, usually in your second or third year, you will need to think about who you want to live with.  

Getting a group together will determine the size and type of accommodation you need. Do you want to rent a studio flat on your own or would you prefer to live in either a small or large group? We usually recommend deciding on who you want to live with before Christmas so that you’ve got plenty of time to find the perfect student home. 

Having a group together will narrow down your options and make house hunting much easier. You will all need to agree on the right location and house too. 


7.   Facilities 🏓

When you’re living miles away from home or you just need somewhere to go and switch off from studying, you’ll want to feel at home and not as though you’re staring at the same four walls. The bedroom you choose will need to be comfy but think about the other facilities available too. 

If you’re living in a privately rented house, this will include the kitchen, living room, or other socialising spaces and making sure they’re somewhere you can go for a change of scenery. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking at living in student halls, this could be a gym, cinema room, games rooms or an outdoor area to enjoy and escape to. 


8.   Contract Terms & Conditions 📃

When you sign up for student accommodation, it’s highly likely that you will need to sign a contract, no matter which type of accommodation you choose. 

Take a look at the length of the contract, how much your deposit will be and how easy it is to leave the contract if you decide that the accommodation is not for you. If you’re sharing with others, the contract should include information on whether you’re individually liable for missed bill or rent payments or if the responsibility is on the group as a whole. 

When it comes to your deposit, always ensure your landlord will be placing it into a deposit protection scheme and will provide you with the right details for the scheme. This will help to ensure that you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy agreement. 


9.   View the accommodation 🔍

Particularly if you have chosen to live in private accommodation, you should always view the property you want to live in. You might have to book to look around a number of properties before you find the perfect home but viewing the property will make sure it fits all of your needs, there are no mould or damp issues and it will give you an opportunity to ask all of the relevant questions. 


Once you have considered all of these factors, you will be ready to move into your perfect student home! If you need extra support, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your uni or with other students. It can be hard to know where to live or where to look when you’re moving to a different city so make use of the advice available to you. At UniHomes, we can help you find the perfect student home so take a look at our full range of properties to find accommodation in your area. 

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