Finding and moving into your own accommodation whilst at university can be a daunting prospect as you have to make a decision on where to live, who to live, what you can afford, what your rights are, what steps to take when moving in to protect your interests and more. Here, we help you with a list of the things you should be looking out for and doing when it comes to finding and moving in to your accommodation.
What should I consider before deciding on my accommodation?
- Cost –What can you afford, making sure to leave enough money for food, travel and any other living costs? With the increasing cost of living, make sure not to use your entire budget on housing! Use Save the Student’s Rent Calculator as an indication.
- Don’t just accommodate for rent, but also internet, TV licence, utility bills, personal property insurance etc. Be sure to check whether these are included in your rent or if you need to budget separately for them. Read more about costs.
- Where do you want to live? Choosing between University rented accommodation or private housing is important and you need to decide the positives and potential downsides of both for you. Be sure to look at transport links and the cost of these to campus. Also check local amenities like shops, restaurants and bars, parks, gyms, and places of worship.
- Who do you want to live with? Everyone is different, studying different courses, with different demands. You might have friends you want to move in with, you might want to move somewhere with new people, or you might not mind as long as it is quiet. Decide what is best for you!
- What type of property do you want to live in? The experience in university halls is very different from that in a house, flat or elsewhere. Do you want an en-suite, your own kitchen, or are you happy to share facilities? You should know which you're interested in living in before you start to look and understand the potential contractual and financial differences.
What should I do before I move into my accommodation?
Take a look at our checklist below so you know what steps to take when you are moving into your accommodation:
- Be sensible about what you bring – Do you really need ten pairs of shoes and four sets of bowls and plates?
- Make sure you bring any essential documents. Scan them and keep them somewhere safe in the cloud or saved to a memory stick/ computer device.
- Accommodation contract.
- Your driver’s licence, passport or some other officially recognised form of identification.
- Your bank account details and bank card.
- Student loan documents or any other funding document – if they’re in print think about scanning them to a computer and keeping them at home.
- National Insurance card – record the number on your phone or computer. Keep the card at home.
- If you pay bills separately, read meter readings for your water, electricity and if applicable gas. Submit these to your current suppliers to avoid paying the previous tenant's bills.
- If you have gas, ensure you have a gas safety certificate for the property. These safety checks should be arranged yearly by the landlord or lettings agency.
- Regularly check all smoke alarms work and plan an exit route in the event of a fire.
- Take photos to document the condition inside the property and contact the landlord or agency if there is any damage or issues.
- Complete an inventory and return to your agency or landlord. This should detail all items in the property and their condition. If you are not supplied one it is worth taking the time to take note of the serial numbers on the appliances that the property came with (fridge, kettle, washing machine/ dryer) and take note of any imperfections, photographing these where possible. You can also do this for the bed, desk and anything else.
- Deposit – it is a legal requirement that your landlord or agency protects your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. Within 30 days of paying your deposit you should receive further information on how it is protected.
- Take out Contents Insurance to cover your personal belongings. You can search for the best offers using insurance comparison sites.
- Check your local council website to find your bin collection schedule and confirm what can be thrown in each type of bin.
- Consider saying hello and introducing yourself to neighbours.
Where can I find more information about housing whilst at university?
If you have more questions about housing or you'd like to find more information and guidance, you can visit Your Advice Services housing webpages.
You can also speak with Your Advice Service about any housing questions you have or even have your contract checked before signing it by visiting our Housing Fair on Tuesday 31st January 2023.