When should you start looking for student accommodation?

When should you start looking for student accommodation?

20 July 2022 • 8 min read

One of the big questions on any student's mind is “when should I look for student accommodation?”.

It can be tricky! You don’t want to jump in and choose the first place you see, but you also don’t want to leave it too late and miss out on that perfect university home. But fear not, we’ve listed a few tips and tricks below to help you with the big decision.

The best time to start looking 🔎

There is no “right” time to start looking for student accommodation, however there are pivotal months in the year which may be more beneficial than others. This can vary depending on where you live or are wanting to live. For example, a which student survey revealed that the rental market in London has a faster turnaround than the average for the rest of the UK. This means that it may be easier to start looking for your perfect home closer to the date you wish to move in if you’re studying in London. However, there’s never any harm in looking early to get a feel for the types of properties available and what interests you the most. 

For other regions, some of the best months to start thinking about and looking for your next place are as follows:

- October: This may sound early - after all, most students only just started their course in September, but it’s a good idea to start putting the feelers out and discussing with potential flat/house mates what their plans are for the next academic year. Talking to other first or second year students can really help set the ball rolling and impact your decisions on what type of accommodation you are looking for. Some accommodation providers also start advertising and open up their bookings for the following academic year around October-November time, so if you’re looking to secure your house or flat early, October is the perfect time for you. You may even receive “early bird” discounts for booking or securing your slot early, which in the long run will help you save money.

- January: After the hype of Christmas it’s nice to fill those January blues with a bit of house hunting. By this time of the academic year, hopefully you have a good idea of the type of accommodation you’re looking for and who you want to live with. If you’re still trying to figure this out, January is the best month to try and finalise these points. At this stage there should still be plenty of housing options for you to choose from, and hopefully there’s enough students in the same boat as you, so finding people to live with (that you know and like) should still be relatively easy. 

Make sure you do your research but move quickly. As mentioned above, a lot of students prefer to keep their options open and start looking for university accommodation around January time. This could mean you end up competing with others for your perfect home.

- March onwards: For the majority of regions, March and onwards can be viewed as “late” in terms of your search (with London being the exception.) Some providers may already be sold out of the majority of rooms, but will still have a few options for you to choose from up until May. The longer you leave it after May, the less options you’re likely to be left with. That being said, there’s always the possibility that someone who booked early on in October may pull out of their tenancy at the last minute - meaning you can snap up their spot! Don’t rely on this to happen if you have a particular home in mind as someone dropping out is not a guarantee and you may miss out.

What to think about when looking for student accommodation 💭

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of house hunting and even easier to become overwhelmed. With so much to deliberate, we thought we’d give you a helping hand. Our below list highlights the main considerations we believe will help you along your decision making path!

The types of accommodation out there

There are many different accommodation options for students. From privately rented houses to PBSA’s (purpose built student accommodation) and from student houses to student halls. Any option you’re looking for, you will probably find. The trick is deciding early on which type is right for you. Are you a first year student looking to share a student house in second year? Or, are you a new university student looking to move into a shared accommodation such as student halls? Maybe you’re a second year student thinking about renting privately. Whatever your choice is, make sure you do your research. And if you’re unsure what to look for, and possibly a little confused about the options available, take a look at our blog on the types of student accommodation to familiarise yourself.

Your budget

This can seem like a simple one but sometimes it’s easy to forget. Work out your budget beforehand so that you have one in mind when searching for your next home. Some properties offer bills included whilst others do not. Keep an eye out for this and make sure if they don’t offer bills, that you can still fit this into your budget - this is especially important if you’re looking at privately rented properties. 

The area

Think about where you’d like to live. Are there enough transport links around? Is it close to the university campus? What is the area like? Is it student friendly or will you be on the outskirts away from everything? Whatever you prefer, you need to ensure you’re looking for student accommodation which matches your lifestyle. This may make your search a little longer (especially if you have specific ideas in mind), but in the long run you’re more than likely to find your perfect match and love your new home - and loving your new home will make your next academic year much easier!

Who would you like to live with?

As mentioned above, it is always a good idea to ask around early on who will be looking for accommodation next academic year. This will help you make your decision on not only who you would like to live with, but also the type of accommodation you will need to look for. For example, if there are a bunch of you who’d like to live together, you will need to look for places that can accommodate all of you. On the flip side, if there are only a few of you and you want to keep it this way (no strangers allowed), you’ll need to adjust your search accordingly so that you’re able to find smaller properties to share.

For students who’re going into first year, there are many sites and groups you can join beforehand to reach out to other students. This can be handy for seeing who else is looking for accommodation and flatmates, so that you can get to know them and look together. If you already know people going to the same university as you and you would like to live with them, it’s always handy to look for places that can allow group bookings so you know you’ll be placed together.

What happens if you’re too late? ⏱

Although it may feel like the end of the world if you’re not able to snatch up your ideal home from home, it’s never too late to find student accommodation. There will still be options available to you; they just might not be your first choice. The location could be not what you hoped for, the amount of rooms may be just a few too many for your liking, but you will have a place to stay and call home for the next academic year. If you have the ideal home in mind, then it’s always better to start your search early - remember that once you sign the contract, your preferences more than likely cannot be changed! 

If you’re looking for your dream student home, take a look at our full range of student accommodation in the UK. Each of our properties is available with all bills included to take extra stress away. 

Students UniHomes.

Search & Compare