Finding the Perfect Home From Home
Attending University can be extremely exciting but also a daunting experience. Finding accommodation is both of these things.
Halls or a House? The decision you make should be based on several factors including budget, location, the atmosphere you are looking for , and social factors.
When in your first year of study, halls is usually the most popular , and I have to agree probably the best choice. It allows you to live in university regulated accommodation, ensuring it will be of a good standard, in my fist year of University, I loved my halls Not only were they brand spanking new (I was the fist person ever to have my room!) but they were so modern and well furnished that it provided a perfect place to return to after study, it really felt like a home. Also the security was excellent, something far above anything you could get at a house rental. There were security guards on the premises, cameras, and two gates that you had to have an electronic fob to get through all before reached your locked flat door, and locked private room door, so four security measures! Also a maintenance man is usually staffed, such as my halls were any problem was swiftly fixed.
Obviously the quality of halls will vary from university to university, so you should visit and view them before making any commitment!
Being in Halls also relieves the stress of having to worry about the cost of bills, I was always nice and toasty warm. So having paid the rent you know exactly how much money you have for the rest of the year to be drank away! This can be very helpful for those , like myself who were on a strict budget!
Halls provide a way to meet people in a strange place, my flatmates became my best friends and I loved it! It made it easy to meet and socialise with people from our halls of residence, helped by frequent halls parties.
There are downsides to living in halls of residence, you may hate the people you are placed in a flat with, and it can be very difficult, even impossible to move. Also halls can be very noisy at all hours, which can negatively impact studies.
Now when looking at Houses, when it comes to student rentals…well it can get grim! But don’t despair, and do not take any old property in a panic that you wont get a house in time before ‘all the good ones go!’, this is a myth that everyone seems to buy into every year. When Privately renting a house I would recommend either using houses registered with your University or those represented by a legitimate lettings agency. Do not go with a company whose flyer you have found in your students union or plastered over town, trust me, been there and done that in 2nd year, what a major mistake! We had a dodgy house, where it all looked good, but nothing actually worked, and when you needed anything it took months to get anything done/fixed, as well as the landlord letting himself in whenever he fancied (which is not allowed)!
Getting a house that is registered with your university list will guarantee that they have been vetted to be of a standard, they will have a desk, and should there be any issues you can take it up with the university , and they could lose their valued registration with the university as a result of bad service. Similar applies with a good lettings agency, they will usually provide a good service along with the landlords they represent. However as always you must meet everyone involved and see a property before agreeing to anything!
House Rent prices vary from city to city, but you can get rentals that include bills if you search hard enough.
Houses can be better than halls, with double beds, huge TV’s , and much more space, if you find a good house. Try not to get stuck with the box room, there is always one tiny room known wants, though it will be cheaper!
When viewing a house check everything works, ask what’s included in the rent, and do not believe any promises made unless they are in the contract! An example of the last is in my 2nd year we were promised all new double beds, kitchen table, and sofa suite, the only item specified in the contract was the beds….and guess what none of the other things ever materialised.
You should always get your contract checked before signing, your student ions union will offer a housing help area, use it! Also ensure your deposit goes into a secure deposit scheme so you don’t get scammed!
So happy accommodation hunting, I hope this is useful!