Written by Ashana Beria So you’re about to enter second or third year and you’ve got to start thinking about your accommodation. Which seems like the best option: living in halls or a house share? This is a question that the majority of University will ask themselves, especially having experienced the joys (or horrors in some cases!) of living in University-owned halls during their first year. Still undecided about which route to take? Don’t worry, we’ve got a whole list of pros and cons to living in halls and houses, so you can make the decision which is right for you.
Private housing can take three different forms. Firstly (and most often) is sharing accommodation with a group of friends – generally people you’ve lived with in first year, or friends off your course. In that case, you’ll go hunting for a property together. Secondly, if you don’t know anyone who you want to share with, but still want to live with people, you can find a room in a shared house – if this is something you’re interested in, head on over to our room finder at AFS. Finally, you can rent a place of your own, but this is a lot more expensive, and isn’t a viable option for the majority of students.
• In most cases, you’ll have chosen the people who you live with, so you’ll all get along. There will be no need trying to awkwardly force conversation out of that one flatmate who sits in their room all the time, or cleaning up someone you really hates’ mess!
• You can invite friends over whenever you want, with no authority setting meeting times.
• Private housing is more comfortable as far as the living room and kitchen is concerned, as it’ll be set up like an actual house. Gone are the awkward communal areas!
• You can find properties with wide varieties of budgets, whether you’re looking to spend as little as possible on rent, or don’t mind splashing out for somewhere a bit nicer. In contrast, halls tend to be quite expensive and area are all around the same price bracket.
• If you came from living in halls with your own private bathroom, unfortunately, this isn’t going to be the case anymore. You’ll all need to make sure you get showered and ready each morning on time so that none of you are late for lectures.
• It can be costly to find a property – doing it through a letting agent means fees and commissions which don’t have to be paid if going through private halls (although deposits will be required for both).
Halls of Accommodation
There are two different types of halls of residence: University-owned ones (more than likely the ones you stayed in, in first year) and private ones, which are owned by other companies. University halls are mainly for first years, with approximately 10-15% of dwellers second and third year students; whereas private halls are open for everyone from all Universities.
• You won’t need to worry about saving money for electricity and water bills as these will be included in the rent (the majority of private accommodation however, does not include bills in the rent).
• If you’re looking to meet new people, halls present a great opportunity as you’ll be surrounded by other students!
• Halls tend to be in a convenient location close by to the University, so you won’t need to pay for bus fare. In contrast, generally the cheaper the private housing, the further away it’s located.
• Living in halls are very safe as security is high, and often key fobs and codes are needed to even enter the building.
• Unfortunately, it’s likely you’re not going to get on with all of your flatmates, and so many of us know people who like to help themselves to other people’s food – annoying when you’re on a student budget!