uk student accommodation
Your home can be called many things in the UK like yard, gaff, digs or pad, but whatever it's called the GB Mag team knows applying for accommodation can be stressful, especially if you're doing it for the first time as it might be totally different in your country.
To help you out we've listed some of the more popular options available for student living in the UK. We've also covered the finer details like how to sort out internet connection and a how to get a TV license.
If you need any further information and guidance, most universities have a housing office and an accommodation office where advisors can help you find a place to live.
How do I choose my accommodation?
There are lots of different accommodation options available for students in the UK. The most common are university halls, private student accommodation and private flats and house shares.
Living in university accommodation (which is commonly referred to as 'student halls' in the UK) is really popular with first year students because it's a great way to meet other students and make friends quickly. The halls are also normally located quite close to your university, which is handy if you're new to the area, and not to mention if you're running late for a lecture!
Room costs vary between every university, so do your research. Though a positive is your rent will probably include all your bills including internet connection to your room. Most universities also guarantee international students a place in student halls, as long as you meet all the application deadlines!
Tracey Paradise at Queen Mary, University of London explains all:
Private student accommodation
Private student accommodation in the UK is generally in newly built multi-storey blocks, which are designed to a high standard. The advantage with this option is that it often includes all your bills and provider includes contents insurance and internet as well, so you know exactly what you will be spending each month.
The rooms are designed and decorated to a high standard and in most cases you’ll have your own bathroom and some accommodation even comes with your own kitchen, which isn’t always the case with university accommodation. And if you are house or flat sharing you will have to share these facilities with the other people you’re living with.
Private accommodation does attract a lot of students from outside the UK, meaning you'll be with people who have come from around the world to study at different universities – so you have no excuse not to have a great time and make loads of new friends.
Private flats and house shares
Fahad Siddiqui of Share In The City explains private flats and house shares:
If you decide to rent a flat or house you'll need to think about bills as they're rarely included in your rent!
Gas and electricity
You'll probably need to arrange a gas and electricity provider to ensure you can cook your meals and watch TV! There are many different companies in the UK that provide gas and electricity and prices vary a lot between them. A good tip is to use price comparison sites like Compare the Market and Save on Your Bills to ensure you get the best deals.
If you want to watch telly, you'll need to apply and pay for a TV license, which you need to have by law in order to set up a TV in your home. A license will be needed from students living in halls, a bedsit or a flat. If you live in a shared house, you only need one license per house so long as you have a joint tenancy but if you have separate agreements with the landlord, you'll need to get separate licenses.
The license fee will get you the five terrestrial channels, which are BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. If you love watching TV and want loads of additional channels you will have to sign up for cable or satellite.
You can find out more information on TV licenses here www.tvlicensing.co.uk, including how to apply for one and the cost.
The internet is such an important part of a student's life, so we know you'll be keen to get internet connection in your home right away.
If you're living in student halls then it's likely the internet connection will be ready for you from day one and the cost of it will probably be wrapped up in your rent.
If you're renting a house or a flat, you'll probably need to arrange internet connection. All internet providers will need a telephone line to run the internet through, so you'll need to get this sorted first. Alternatively you can buy a dongle, a small device which you plug into your computer or laptop that you can buy through most mobile phone network providers. That way you can have internet access wherever you are.
There are a lot of companies that provide broadband connection such as Sky, Virgin and BT and many of them offer bundles (e.g. broadband, telephone and satellite/cable TV) which can sometimes be a good way to save money. You can use comparison sites such as Compare the Market or Go Compare to find the best deals.
One thing you should keep in mind is the length of time you plan to stay at that address – it's usually cheaper to get a yearly contract, but most companies offer short-term contracts too.
If you live in a property where all the residents are full-time students you won't need to pay Council Tax (hooray!). You might be asked to present a certificate proving your student status, which you can get from your faculty office at your university after you've registered on your course.
If one or more occupant isn't a student, the property becomes taxable. You'll need to clarify whether you're expected to pay towards it. There is no Council Tax in Northern Ireland, but there is a different local tax, which you may need to pay.
If you're still unsure about your status with regard to Council Tax, the GB Mag team recommends you seek guidance from your Student Advice Centre.
Can my family live with me?
If you need a student visa to enter the UK, your family will too. Most universities offer rooms which are suitable for couples, so you should check with your university if they can offer you this.
For students renting a private flat or house, you'll need to ensure you're following regulations on how many people can live in one room. Your landlord or university will give you details on how many people you're able to have in your accommodation.
Help from your university
If you're unhappy with your accommodation or have questions, the first step would be speaking to your university's accommodation/housing office, the Student Union Welfare Officer or your Residential Advisor (sometimes called RAs).
Bare in mind, most universities now manage their housing to comply with government-approved codes (meaning they need to be up to a certain standard). If you want to read more about this click here.
Citizen's Advice Bureau
If you need any more help or advice, you can always contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau, which is a really handy, independent charity based around the UK that gives confidential information, guidance to people with money, legal, consumer and other problems. The best thing is it's absolutely free!
Visit their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.