When you’re going to college or university, you don’t just have to think about your course and finances, you also have to think about where you’re going to live – well that’s if you’re not staying at home! Fortunately there are several options.
Most universities have accommodation on campus or nearby, either Halls of Residence or privately-run housing – you should find details in your prospectus or from Student Services.
It’s worth looking into this, especially if you are a disabled student, as it can have a big impact on your experience of going to university.
A university or college cannot refuse you accommodation because you are disabled. They must make every reasonable attempt to provide you with accommodation that is accessible, suited to your needs and of the same standard as non-disabled students.
If you are looking to privately rent a shared house, bed-sit or flat, ask Student Services for a list of recommended housing that is available.
When to look
As you can imagine, in August and September each year, lots of students are going to be looking for accommodation. When you have had your place on your course confirmed, you need to sort out where you’re going to live as soon as possible.
Most first year students choose to live in halls on campus or in university managed accommodation, it’s easy to meet people, safer and you won’t have utility bills to worry about so it can be easier to manage your finances too.
After the first year you may decide to rent a house with your friends, it can be lots of fun, but you’ll need to learn to live with other people and to budget as a group.
What to look for
When you’re looking at places it’s important to check:
- You’ll be near to where you need to get to – lectures, shops, nightlife.
- Public transport or parking is easily accessible.
- The rent is within budget – be prepared to pay a bond, deposit and rent up front, and don’t forget to allow for bills in your budget too.
- Appliances such as gas and electricity have the relevant certificates and are well maintained.
- Smoke alarms are fitted and have batteries.
- There are no damp or unpleasant smells.
- Check your contract carefully. Don’t sign on the spot, take it away to read and if in doubt go to your Student Union for advice – once you’ve signed it’s too late to get anything changed.
- Check accessibility if you are a disabled student – ask the university’s accommodation officer for details as it’s better to find out how it will affect you now rather than later.
- Check with the local council where the university is, as they might have accommodation available for disabled people that you could rent as a student.
Take a look at the ‘Who can help’ section below for information on finding student accommodation, university or college-owned and privately-owned, and for tips and advice on contracts, local amenities and your rights.
You might even want to get an idea of prices if you’re money conscious and trying to decide between university offers.
Extra help for learners
If you are aged 21 or under and are unable to live with your parents or carers, you could be entitled to financial support if you’re in full time education or are about to start.
This extra help is in addition to the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance).
Who can help?
Speak to Student Services or the Student Union at the college or university that you’ll be studying at. They will be able to tell you what accommodation is available both in Halls of Residence and privately. This is especially important if you are disabled and have specific access needs.
The accommodationseek website tells you all you need to know about finding accommodation. www.AccommodationSeek.co.uk
The following links will also be useful when looking for somewhere to live while you study: