Choosing the perfect student accommodation
So, you made it to university. Congratulations! We wish we were back there with you. Well maybe not but in the student union at least.
Now it’s time for the first decision of your university life (apart from the one where you had to choose a uni of course). And that decision is: where are you going to live?
Before you choose a place based on its proximity to the pub or the high street, you might want to pause. As any seasoned student will testify, finding the right place to live while studying is actually harder than it seems.
You need to feel at home and you need access to a social life, but you also need to remember that you’re going to live there. Think about the home you grew up in. Was it massively noisy? Was it in a horrible area? Were students chucking up on your doorstep every weekend? Did you have to shower in a rain of ice every now and then because the hot water decided to stop working?
We’re guessing your answer is probably no. That’s because your parents put some thought into where they wanted to live. We’re afraid to say there are quite a few things you’ll need to think about before you choose your accommodation – but to help you decide, we've put together this handy little guide. Aren't you lucky?
You've got halls, of course, but sometimes they’re booked up or even a bit on the pricey side – especially in London. Choosing to living in a privately rented house or apartment, on the other hand, offers a number of advantages. Not least of which is making you feel (and appear to be) a much more sophisticated adult-type.
But it also gives you the freedom to select where you want to live, and who you want to live with – and provides you with the power to pick exactly what sort of accommodation is best suited to your needs.
So here are a few things to think about if you want to rent private accommodation:
You might be happy to walk 45 minutes to uni in the summer, but when it’s bucketing down with scalp-bruising hailstones (Seriously – why does it hail? Does the sky hate humanity?) you might want a bit of a quicker commute! Look for accommodation that’s either close to the main buildings or close to local transport links.
If you've got a group of friends to move in with then you’ll already be sorted, although you need to be confident that you can get along with all of them – living together is much different than hanging out together. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to find shared accommodation with strangers, it’s really worth meeting the other house-mates beforehand. After all, nothing is more likely to ruin your uni experience than a house-mate trying their hand at DJing until 3am – unless you’re into that sort of thing, of course.
Your rent may cover all bills, or it may not. It’s important to find out exactly what your rent is for, and whether you’ll be expected to pay any additional bills – for example, electricity, internet, television licence fees or heating. Don’t be hit by any unpleasant financial surprises after you've already signed the contract – you don’t want to suddenly run out of money halfway through the month.
If you’re planning to bring a car to university or college, make sure that your student accommodation has available parking spaces close to your home. If you’re planning to live in a busy residential area, it’s worth seeing what the parking is like during the evening because that’s when most people are likely to have gone home. Check whether or not you need a parking permit and what happens if family and friends drive over to visit you. Are they allowed to park there? Or will they need to find a pay and display?
When you rent privately, you’ll need to sign a contract – and it’s important to read through this carefully. Really, we can’t stress this enough: no matter how boring it is, read the whole thing. Think of it as practice for your sessions in the library. Find out how much deposit you’ll need to pay, and also, whether this deposit will be held against any damages to the property. If so, it may be worth requesting an inventory to protect you against false claims in the future.
When you’re looking round the house or flat, think as practically as possible. Does the bedroom have enough space for all your belongings? Is it well-insulated or are you likely to freeze in the winter? What furniture does it come with? Will you need to buy any more items to make it properly live-able? Check the communal space – is it comfortable? Does it feel like it could be a home?
Student Accommodation with Pearl and Coutts
We’ve got loads of great properties in London, many of them chosen because they’re in an excellent spot and close to transport links.
Important note: we can only rent to students who are able to provide a UK-based guarantor.