Going through Clearing can be stressful, so once you’ve got your space confirmed at University, you now need to consider where you are going to live. As you’re getting your University place late, this may mean that there are no places available in University supplied accommodation, meaning you need to start looking elsewhere.
So where do you start? Here are a few tips...
Hopefully your university will find you a space in halls. In order to have the best chance of finding a room, you need to act quickly and as early as possible. Ring your university and enquire as to whether they have any rooms. If they don’t have any immediately available, they may add you to a waiting list. If your university can’t house you they find space for you in private halls or recommend you to landlords from their trusted supplier list, or local letting agents. Keep an eye out for housing events and house-mate finding nights for other students who are in a similar situation to you.
Private halls are run by private companies not associated with the university and can offer a good alternative to university halls. Some large private hall companies include Unite, CRM Students and Nido, although there will also be smaller and individual private halls available too. If you do decide to go down this route, ask the halls to place you with other freshers from your university so you have a social group to join.
If your university can’t find you a place in halls and private halls are full too, renting a private property might be the best option for you. You can either rent a property on your own (which could be costly) or you can share a house with other students. A shared house is a normal house where a group of students rent together from a private landlord. Everyone has their own bedroom and then shares the bathroom, kitchen and living areas. It’s common to see students decorate and make their own personal space comforting. Living room furniture packages offer opportunity to make a student house a home. Shared houses do vary vastly in quality so it’s paramount to view the property before you rent it. Photos can be out of date and misleading. The advantages of shared houses are that they usually work out cheaper than private halls (but do bear in mind that you’ll be paying rent for 52 weeks a year, and bills often aren’t included) and you’ll typically get a larger room.
If you’re going down the shared house route there are various forums and websites you can register with such as UCAS’s LivingAtUni.com and StudentSpareRoom.co.uk. Don’t forget the traditional routes such as speaking with local letting agents who may often be aware of spare rooms in shared houses that their tenants are looking to fill. It’s well worth speaking to your University Accommodation office to see if they have a list of trusted letting agents and landlords that they can supply.
Most student house shares come with basic furniture installed, however if you’re struggling to find furnished accommodation or need some extra furniture for your new place, renting student furniture might be an option. Renting furniture gives you the option of spreading the cost over your rental period and also allows you to choose the furniture that you want, rather than having to settle with what’s provided. Find out more about our furniture rental service here.
1) Be careful! If you’re going through a letting agent, find out if they are a member of ARLA. If they are they have to adhere to a strict code of conduct and rules of practice.
2) Some Private landlords will request a deposit (usually a month’s rent) and a guarantor (which can be a family member) or a month’s rent in advance. If you’re renting through a letting agency there will be other fees involved as well which cover inventory checks, admin etc.
3) Make sure you meet your future housemates before you sign on the line. Unlike in halls, if you don’t like your housemates, there will be no easy way of changing for the rest of the academic year – there won’t be an opportunity to swap flats, and no escape clause in the contract if you drop out (and this is also the case in private halls).
4) If you drop out of university you’ll have no income from student finance, but you will still have to pay rent for the entire year if you’re anywhere other than university supplied halls.