Searching for accommodation can be difficult for new students. The deciding factors will be location and budget; however consideration should be given to the student’s personality. Everybody has different needs when it comes to living space. Some people are happy to share a room, while others need their own space. You might be looking for a party house or for a house where you can study and get a good night’s sleep. You’ll also have to consider whether you want to cook for yourself, whether you value independence or home comforts and whether you want to live with other students or find your own place.It is best to start the accommodation hunt with the college accommodation officer in your chosen college.
Lodgings/digs mean renting a room in a family house, meals are provided by the family. However this can be restrictive in terms of having friends over or having access to laundry facilities, on the other hand you don’t have to worry much about cooking and cleaning
Renting may be more sociable in sharing with others but can be more difficult to budget for bills.
Questions to consider when renting include:
How much is the deposit and do I need to pay rent in advance? (Get a receipt for any money paid at the start).
What are the conditions for getting my deposit back?
What happens if one flat mate leaves? Will we have to pay their rent? Who will be responsible for finding a new person?
How much notice do you have to give before leaving?
Who do I contact if I have a problem?
Can we make any amendments to the house (like putting a nail in the wall to hang a picture)?
On-Campus may provide the best of both worlds; this may appear to be the more expensive option but can balance out over the year. On campus student accommodation are normally self-contained villages or buildings.
They should have everything you need nearby (shops, launderettes, bars!) and be easily reached from the university or college.
Don’t panic and take the first place you look at. Ask someone with experience of living in rented accommodation to come with you and to check stuff like the heating, who you’re living with, how long it will take you to get to college and if the kitchen is okay for cooking.
When viewing a place that requires repairs, make sure they are carried out before you move in!
If your bills are separate to rent, make sure you are only paying for what you used by checking the electricty metre.
Safety’s important, check if there are fire escape routes and fire extinguishers.
Check for signs of dampness (especially in older houses). Look inside cupboards, at the ceilings and on furniture for damp patches or mould.
Many students find that when it comes to asking for their deposit back, the landlord charges them for damage already done to the flat. Make sure that the landlord gives you a list of what’s in the flat and anything that needs to be repaired BEFORE you move in. Then you can’t be asked to pay for anything already broken or damaged.