As September looms so does the beginning of term for thousands of University students across the country. For many it's the same story: you’ve got the grades, your place is secured and you’re off into the big wide world of freshers week, jagerbombs and Pot Noodle… but do you have a place to live?
Many prospective students think that university accommodation and privately owned halls are the only options when it comes to student digs, but this is certainly not the case. Whilst halls, both privately and university owned, can be a great way to meet people and socialise, rooms are often more expensive than student loans allow for and are kept to a lower standard than they would be by a landlord.
For a great alternative to halls living, why not try a flatshare? Often cheaper, better kept and the perfect place to meet lifelong friends, sharing a house is a great route to go down when it comes to university living. Need any more convincing? Here’s five reasons why...
It’s no secret London is an expensive place to live, especially when trying to survive on a student budget; after the cost of books, food and going out, it can often seem like there’s nothing left for rent. For example, In 2017 8 of the top 10 most expensive universities for living cost were in London. You might want to think twice before blowing all your student loan on pints and Dominos or you might not have a place to live.
Whilst it’s true universities provide some affordable accomodation, spots are largely limited and result in many students having to find alternatives. If this means privately owned accommodation, you may be in for a shock when it comes to rent prices. At a staggering £1694 pw for the most expensive privately owned room within 40 minutes walk of University College London (yep, you heard that right…), it’s time for a rethink. Unless you’re pretty much a member of the aristocracy, price tags like this are just not viable - but that’s where flatshares come in. Splitting the cost of living spaces with a few others means bedding down in a prime location is actually affordable, even in the epicentre of extortionate rent prices that is London. When renting a double room in a houseshare in Kings Cross - just a 15 minute walk from UCL - can cost as little as £140 pw you can see why it’s a no brainer.
You’ll have a better standard of living
So, the prospect of a brand-spanking-new privately owned room with its extortionate rent is out the window, and the only option left is the somewhat outdated university owned residential halls. It’s a common joke that a lack of heating and cockroach infested furniture is just part and parcel of student living, but the reality of sub-par standards is far from comic. With numerous halls of residence across the country not having been renovated since their initial build decades ago, it’s not unusual to hear students to complain of - and even protest against - unacceptable living conditions in unaffordable accomodation.
Avoid weekly calls to reception to fix your broken shower and opt for a houseshare instead. If you live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO) your landlord has an obligation to provide you with a safe, secure lodgings free from any health and safety hazards. Moreover, if your landlord refuses to deal with conditions that put you at risk, you can take matters into your own hands and complain to your local council's environmental health team. No more damp ceilings and broken central heating, thank you very much.
Halls living is renowned for its manic hustle and bustle, with hundreds of students in close proximity studying (or more likely partying…) at all hours. From the 10-person flat next door that has club-level music blaring whether 3pm or 3am to the somewhat disturbing grunting noises coming from your neighbours room every time his girlfriend pops over, it can seem like getting even a single minute of time without interruption is near impossible.
Whilst many thrive in the chaos and excitement of this environment, if you’re someone who enjoys a more subdued way of living - or just a decent night's sleep - a houseshare is definitely something to consider. Instead of living with hoards of strangers (which can result in everything from stolen traffic cones stashed in cupboards to having your entire room’s contents wrapped in tinfoil) you’d most likely share a house with a smaller group of just 3 or 4. Not only does massively reduce the likelihood of constant door slamming and all night dubstep, but you’re also likely to be more respectful of each others lifestyles and thus form closer friendships.
You’ll meet great people
So, you’d made it through the manic period that is first year but haven’t managed to secure a room for after the summer? Whether due to changing friendships, last minute decisions or just bad luck, you’re definitely not alone if you haven’t found the right housemates for second year. Never fear - opt for a fresh start and meet new people via a houseshare. When you find a room via SpareRoom Student you’ll be sharing with other students or young professionals, making it a great way to broaden your friendship circle and break out of that all too familiar student bubble. Living with just a handful of brilliant people also means they’ll become like a second family. As they say, it’s quality not quantity!
Moreover, where halls randomly allocate rooms - and there’s no knowing who you might end up sharing a flat with - a houseshare may offer you the opportunity of meeting your potential flatmates before you move in so you can be sure to find your kind of people. Sorry, 4am trumpet player, but it's a no from me…
It’s a great alternative
Summer months flying past and no room yet? Don’t panic - whether you’re just starting out in first year or a postgraduate returning to complete a masters, houseshares are the perfect option if you’ve missed the application window or weren’t able to secure a place. With rooms available all over the country and tenancies starting year round, you need not worry about having a place to rest your head after all that clubbin-… er... I mean studying.