Choosing the right student accommodation can be a complicated process. There are so many student housing options to choose from, which differ in price, location, and quality, that the task of finding the best one for your needs and preferences can become overwhelming and exhausting. An even more daunting idea is the prospect of having to do this every year.
While many options are available to students when choosing where to live, sometimes, they don’t know where to start. With so many factors to note, this dilemma isn’t at all surprising. But, you got nothing to worry about as this article will guide you.
However, first and foremost, you ought to know the different types of accommodation available.
Student Accommodation Options
The first step to finding a suitable place to live is understanding the variety of accommodation available. Here are seven main types of student accommodation:
1. Private House Or Room
The first option is a private house or room, like the ones offered by https://www.hillcrest-townhouses.com/ and other living communities. This option gives you the most privacy and flexibility because you’ll have your private room and be in charge of food and other necessities.
Private houses and rooms generally involve renting a private-owned room or house shared by several people. If you have friends from your program who are also looking for accommodations, this might be a good option as there may already be people living near one another. This arrangement is suitable for those looking for total freedom and autonomy a live-and-leave arrangement.
2. Shared Apartment Or Flat
The next main option is shared accommodation, which generally involves renting an apartment or flat with one or more other people. While you have your own room in the place, you’ll probably share amenities, like bathrooms and kitchens, with the rest of your flatmates.
In a shared apartment, you might have roommates in your program or folks who work around the same schedule as you. With a flat, you can probably find roommates with a similar budget to what you expect to pay for student housing. This option is an easy way to share an apartment with one or more people. However, this option can be more challenging for those new to the area who don’t know anyone yet.
3. University Managed Housing
Universities sometimes provide housing for students through university-managed student accommodations. While the regular process of applying for a room here can be competitive, there might be a chance that you can get a spot this way if it’s the only option available to you.
There are also university-managed on-campus apartments that have their own unique perks and benefits, such as being closer to campus or other university facilities. However, this housing type tends to be more expensive since universities have a limited budget and can’t meet all student housing needs.
4. Student Residence Halls
Another form of on-campus accommodation is the student residence halls. These are dormitories that offer single rooms with shared bathrooms. The rooms are comfortable, with study spaces and televisions, but they’re usually less spacious than other forms of student accommodation. This type of housing is more common at large universities with limited on-campus housing.
Students are more likely to get involved with on-campus activities in these halls since the halls are often centrally located. However, there might not be enough supply of these rooms for all students who want them or need them. Like university-managed housing, this type of arrangement is on a first-come, first-served basis.
5. Off-Campus Housing
Off-campus student accommodations are usually cheaper than on-campus ones, but there might be fewer amenities and features since they don’t fall under on-campus student housing regulations.
This option entails finding a place on your own through a realtor or a housemate. The good thing about this option is that you can find housing outside the campus, but it’s still close to the university. This type of accommodation is more suitable for those who already know what kind of place they want to live in and where they want it to be located. It also allows for more freedom because there’s less regulation.
A homestay is an option for living with a local family instead of fellow students. This type of student housing helps you get the most out of your experience abroad by immersing yourself in the culture and making new friends.
Homestays can also help you learn about living on your own since you’re sharing the household with another family. The downside of homestays is that you might not get enough privacy, and you’ll probably have to rely on public transportation. These can also be far from campus or other facilities.
7. Campus Housing
Finally, there’s campus housing for those concerned about the cost. This option offers reduced prices because you won’t have to pay for accommodation outside university property. You might even get special deals on meals, laundry machines, and the like if your university provides them in residence halls.
Finding The Right Accommodation For You
Now that you know about the different types of student accommodation on offer, you must decide which one’s best. To do so, you need to take several factors into account. These include the following:
- How long will you be studying?
It’s one of the most important aspects to consider because your student accommodation needs will depend on how long you’re going to study. For example, if it’s just for a semester or two, you’ll only need temporary student accommodation. For an entire academic year, a university residence hall or student flat will be a better option.
- What types of services do you need and want?
Different services and amenities are available, depending on the student housing you choose. If you want a furnished room with access to a kitchen, opting for a student flat or house is your best choice because these accommodations usually have kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms. However, if you want a fully equipped kitchen and access to laundry machines, then student halls will be the best option for you.
- How much privacy do you desire?
Another essential factor to consider is privacy because each accommodation type provides students a unique level of freedom and autonomy. If you’re looking for housing that offers a greater degree of privacy, then a student flat or house will be your best option because most of these accommodations have their own living room, kitchen, and bathroom.
- How safe is the area?
You must also consider whether or not you feel safe in your student housing. It’s an essential factor because you’re going to be bringing most of what you own, and it would suck if they’d get stolen or damaged. So, if privacy is your top concern, opt for a type of accommodation that comes with 24-hour security staff and CCTV monitoring to ensure your safety.
- How much can you spend?
Next, consider how much money you can afford to spend on housing every month. That’s because the price of student accommodation depends on its location, type, and amenities. For example, if you want to live in the city center, it’ll be more expensive than somewhere away from the city.
- Do you have any special requirements?
Depending on your situation, some options may not be suitable for you. For example, if you have a pet, it’s nearly impossible to find student flats that accept pets. However, it’s also easy to rent self-catering accommodation or houses that allow pets.
How To Find The Right Housing Provider
Once you’ve decided on the housing option that’s most suitable for your needs and budget, you need to find the right provider. Fortunately, many housing options are on offer, so finding one that suits your requirements shouldn’t be too difficult.
To help you with this process, here are some tips:
- Use the internet
One of the best ways to find out about different providers is by browsing their websites because most of these provide information about the services such providers offer. You can also use websites that are dedicated to student accommodation. These sites allow you to search for the most suitable housing provider based on your budget and location.
- Talk to your fellow students
You may also consult your fellow students because they may have already rented a place and are familiar with the providers that offer student housing. It can be very beneficial because you get to hear first-hand information about the pros and cons of different housing options. Furthermore, you can get advice on how to deal with housing providers.
- Talk to the housing residents
Another good way to find out more about a particular provider is by talking directly to their current residents. While you may not contact all of them, most providers have their email addresses or contact information on their websites, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right people to talk to.
- Learn about the availability of student housing
Another essential factor to count is whether or not there’s sufficient availability for student housing in your area because if there isn’t, then trying to find a suitable provider may be a struggle. Fortunately, there are lots of government initiatives in place to help students find accommodation, so use these resources to your advantage.
- Search for student housing near your university
If you’re going away to study, it’d be best to find housing near the university or college campus because commuting can take up a lot of your time. To do this, you may need to consider whether you should rent a student flat near the university or self-catering student accommodation in the city center.
- Visit different properties
The best way to determine which student accommodation is perfect for you is by visiting different properties in-person to know what types of services and amenities are provided. Furthermore, it’ll help you decide whether or not they’re suitable based on your budget and requirements.
Considerations Before Signing The Housing Contract
Once you’ve selected a provider and decided on specific amenities or services that are suitable, you need to know that everything is in order before signing the contract. Otherwise, you may end up paying rent for a place that doesn’t meet your requirements, which could be a huge problem if something goes wrong after you’ve signed the contract.
Here are some tips to consider before writing down your name on the dotted lines:
- Confirm all the essential details before signing the contract: Before validating any contract, ensure that you check all the small details regarding your newly rented student accommodation. It includes checking the date when you’ll need to make the first payment and whether there are any cancellation fees. Don’t just use a glance because these details can be easily hidden in many places, which could cause problems later on.
- Changes to the contract: It’s essential to note that some housing providers may ask you to sign a contract without changes. If so, it’s best to think twice because this means that they don’t have any consideration for your requirements. On the other hand, some providers will ask you to make changes before signing the contract. It’s a sign of a good tenancy-landlord relationship because it means they want to accommodate your requirements above all else.
- Know your rights and protect yourself: Tenants have some rights according to the type of housing they rent, so make sure you know what type of contract you’re signing. For example, if it’s an assured shorthold tenancy, your rights are protected by law under the Housing Act 1988. It means that landlords can’t evict you without a valid reason after the initial six-month period.
- Check the inventory document: A property inventory is essential for all tenants because it lists down all the appliances, fixtures, and fittings in a rental unit. It’s also known as a schedule of condition or schedule of fitness, so make sure that you check all the details before signing it. You can ask your landlord to list the property’s shortcomings, damages, or defects before putting your name on it. However, no one can expect perfection, so always ask for fair wear and tear allowance.
Certain factors need to be well considered when choosing suitable student accommodation. Since people’s circumstances are different, one solution may not be ideal for someone else. However, following the student housing guide above, you should soon find one that meets your requirements and unique preferences.