This article about finding student accommodation was updated by the Great British Mag content team on 4 September, 2019
Yippee, you’ve got a place at the university of your choice! Now you’ve got to sort out your student accommodation. This can seem like an overwhelming job considering you’re not even in the UK yet.
To help you we’ve outlined 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 licence.
If you need any further information and guidance, most universities have a team that can help you find a place to live.
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”) is popular with first year students because it’s a great way to meet other students and make friends. The halls are normally located quite close to your university, which is handy if you’re new to the area (and if you’re running late for a lecture).
Room costs vary between every university but this option is by far the most economical. 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 the application deadlines!
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 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. In most cases, you’ll have your own bathroom. Some accommodation even comes with your own kitchen, which isn’t always the case with university accommodation.
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.
If you are moving to the UK with your family or want a place to yourself then renting a flat or house is the way to go. The easiest way to find a property to rent is to register with a local estate agent. They will take you to view the property and will be the ones you liaise with if there is a problem with the property.
If you rent a property you will be responsible for all the bills and will have to sort out things like the internet connection yourself.
No matter where you choose to live you will probably have to bring your own bedding and kitchen equipment. We recommend using UniKitOut, which allows you to shop online and have all your things delivered straight to your UK accommodation so that everything’s sorted when you arrive. (Psst – GB Mag members get a 10% discount!)
What is a TV license?
If you want to watch telly you will need a TV license, which you need to have by law in order to watch programmes live or that have been recorded via a TV, laptop, tablet or mobile device. You need a license wherther you live in halls, private student accommodation or are renting a house or 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.
To find out how to apply for a TV licenses click here.
How to sort out internet?
If you’re living in student halls or private student accommodation, 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 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.