What do you need to know about student housing in the UK?
After getting accepted by the university that one has always dreamt of, it is quite obvious for an individual to be on cloud nine. For an international student who has gone through an extensive process of application and interviews, a positive result is even more pleasing. However, due to this surge of happiness, most people forget to think about accommodations or think of managing things until they arrive at their new university or college.
At times, students tend to think they’ll be able to manage on the fly. However, this is one of the biggest misconceptions that one can have. Firstly, hotels will end up charging you extravagant costs. And it’s not just the rent that counts. The cost of food and electricity will add to it later and before you know it, you will have spent a whole month’s worth of rent. Therefore, you shouldn’t buy a problem out of excitement. Go through the university website and the brochure thoroughly, before you jump to any conclusion about choosing the type of accommodations.
When traveling to a new country, the best approach is to be as prepared as possible. As a result, finding all that you can about the housing is also advisable. If you’re a student traveling to the United Kingdom, here are different things that you need to know about student housing there, as well as different accommodation types for you to choose from.
- University accommodations:
Most universities in the United Kingdom offer residential accommodation to their students. However, this might depend on the course you are enrolled in. If you check the website of the institute you’re enrolling in, you’ll find different options of accommodations. Since these accommodations are provided by universities, they are reasonably priced and worth investing in. Mostly, these houses are not self-catering and you need to adjust to the food culture. This is one of the best ways to adapt to a new place.
Also, you can utilize the time to prepare your food for something else. As these accommodations are offered by the university, they are within a radius of 100 meters from the university, or sometimes situated inside the university. This will save you traveling costs, as well as energy and time to travel to your university place. You also have an option to share your bed or go for a single bed. The campus has seniors and juniors staying together, which amplifies the friend circle, and chances of making new friends increases. Staying on campus with the college community is a good idea since you’re new to the country and since it offers security too. Later, you can move out of the place with friends to some private rooms or house if budget becomes a hurdle.
- Temporary accommodation can come in handy
In the early days of your stay in the UK, it may prove very helpful for a student to find temporary accommodation, until you can find a permanent one, of course. In terms of the quality, these are very similar to university accommodation but more expensive than the same. Also, since these are temporary housing, usually, advance payment is necessary. Some amount is taken as a deposit in the name of a security deposit. You can easily find many options for rooms and you need to choose among them. Universities are providing temporary accommodation too. If you are looking for one, ask for it from a helpline or go through a website.
- Renting an accommodation could be an option
These are houses owned by residential people who wish to rent them out. It can be either a flat, a whole house, or a room. You can go through whatever feels comfortable to your needs. When it comes to sharing, some rules solely depend on the landlord. Some may allow partners with a different gender to stay while some may not. Rents highly differ according to the location of the house. There will be a great difference. In the city, the rents are much higher as compared to the rooms that are on the outskirts.
It would be a good idea to keep factors like furniture into consideration. If the rooms are furnished, the price is likely to be high whereas those with no or less furniture may end up costing less. If you pre-book the room, nearly three to four-month before getting the accommodation, this will save you from creating a mess, as well as will make bills cut short. In contrast, if you look for housing on an emergency basis they will ask you to pay almost double the amount. It always helps to keep records of all the payments that you make in form of rent or any other. Add to the description what the payment is for. If you face any issue with something you will have evidence.
- Private student halls
Also known as Off-Campus Halls, are controlled by private organizations or persons. These halls usually offer well-furnished rooms. The cost also varied according to the amenities and luxuries that the halls offer. You can easily find these halls, located a bit away from the main city. However, it needs to be kept in mind that since the halls are away from the city, the cost of traveling would add up. Moreover, a security concern can also come into the picture since these halls are cut off from the city. But if your classes are being conducted online, these halls can be a perfectly viable option.
As a student, you should check the university website as they usually contain information about such halls. The website contains links to verified properties and thus, they can be trusted if you’re looking to avoid property fraud. If you’re looking to save money, getting a shared accommodation may be another way to go about it. It can also help to develop new bonds with people and transform your personality. If you need a guarantor to acquire the accommodation, keep in mind that many agencies offer such services. However, you may need to pay them a handsome amount of money.
- Facebook Marketplace can help
Facebook has become an emerging place to exchange needs recently. This may be cheaper than any other known source. People who want to rent their house make their profile. There are numerous out there, you can easily look for one by going through the profiles. You can get a cheap one easily. But trust is a big issue since there is no way to point out fraud. As many people take advantage. When it comes to trusting Facebook profiles, be more careful. Do not pay directly without knowing the person. Visit the place before you pay for it. Know if the partner is trustworthy if opting for a shared base. Make sure the rent has all the taxes included in it. Let not them fool you with low prices yet heavy taxes, which makes the overall worth the same as some luxury rooms.
Types of accommodation that you can find
Studio flat: Studio flats usually come with an extended kitchen and washroom. For students, it can be their mini abode. If you are someone who doesn’t want to give to food restrictions, this may be a wonderful option as it allows you to cook according to your own choice. Also, getting a studio for yourself takes care of the issue of privacy as well. But keep in mind that cooking can take a good amount of time out of your day. A good idea is to learn how to manage your time wisely. Living alone may look like a promising future, but you can end up wasting a lot of time on things other than studying.
Ensuite room: These are rooms with personal washrooms, which gives privacy though not much as studio flats, yet more than bedroom accommodations. Rooms may be with single or double beds. They are less expensive than studio flats. You won’t get a separate kitchen. There might be several people staying together in a house with different rooms and washrooms. Mostly they are well furnished. Modulation with eating habits is where you need to compromise.
Single/Double bedroom: This is one room with a single or double bed. You can have a partner for the room with double beds. Rules vary for having a partner according to individual landlords. These rooms might be in a flat or a house where you will need to share a kitchen and washrooms. They offer less privacy as well as you will need to adjust to the food habits. They are less expensive compared to other housing types. It’s always better to share a room with your friends rather than strangers. Single rooms are best if you want privacy and have tuning problems with companions. Single rooms are smaller in size while rooms with double beds are relatively much larger.
So, if you have a good financial backup go for a studio room, and they are way better than any other type, and you don’t need to adjust with anybody and it’s just you in the whole house. If you want a group to be with you and make new friends, and are not much concerned about privacy and can adjust well, then renting a room is the best option. This will offer interaction with new people. However, the en suite is good for the students who don’t want to share shower rooms and are not willing to spend much on housing. This is a great choice for not so expensive and enough privacy giving.
All of them usually require an advance payment of 2-3 months and a security deposit which is refunded when you vacate the accommodation. In case you end up doing some damage to the property, the deposit will not be refunded. Visiting the property before making the final decision is always a good idea. Things are not always the same as they are shown in pictures. Also, keep in mind that a tax called council tax is to be paid by an individual if they own or rent a house. However, you are exempted from council tax if you are a student. Make sure you have a look at the tax you are charged and ensure that it doesn’t include council tax. Since you are not supposed to pay this tax, know your rights before coming to any decision. Booking a hotel is also an option if you are not sure about departure timing. Rarely do hotels demand advance payments? So you can cancel it anytime you wish to. You have to pay only when you report there physically. If you are planning to look for accommodations when you reach the place and are willing to find a shelter for a few days, then hotels are a wise choice. As there are no rooms on rent available for two to three days as such. Being in a group is always a plus point. As you will have the bills shared, the burden of travel costs will also be reduced to a good extent. As it will cost you the same if you are traveling alone, sharing can come in very handy.
Some important tips:
- Being an extrovert who can talk to people easily will have benefits for you.
- Making new friends, especially from your parent country can help you a lot.
- Being in contact with somebody who has been there before you, can help you with many things that you are not aware of.
- Avoid trusting people easily as it can lead to financial losses, especially when there is property involved.
- Locality in which you will stay matters a lot. Check crime rates there. Do not fall for cheap rates. They could be a consequence of the high crime rate.
- Go with trusted and renowned websites to avoid mishaps.
- Do not pay in advance, for less followed profiles and the ones that look unethical.
- Visit before you stick to one accommodation.
- Have flexibility with eating habits.