Accommodation

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Shared Student Housing

After the first year, many students chose to move into shared houses or flats for the independence they offer, and the chance to live with a group of friends.

  • In most university towns and cities there will be a wide range of private rented accommodation available through agents, individual landlords or in private halls.
  • Your university or student union is likely to have a list of recommended or accredited landlords and this should be the first place you look.
  • These landlords will usually have agreed to meet higher management and property standards, and if there is a problem, there will often be a complaints procedure you can access.
  • You can find a list of accreditation schemes on the Accreditation Network UK website.

Shared properties for three or more unrelated people (known as Houses of Multiple Occupation, or HMOs) have additional standards placed on them by the Local Authority.

In particular, houses for five or more people, over three or more storeys, have specific standards that require a level of security, fire detection, and appropriate kitchen and bathroom amenities suitable to the number of tenants. These properties are known as licensable HMOs, and by law the landlord must have obtained a license from the Local Authority, which should clearly be displayed in the property.

Your student union or university accommodation service will provide advice and information on choosing a shared house or flat.

Many produce specialised booklets that will guide you through the things to consider, such as deposits, signing a contract, utility bills, housing standards and who to share with. Make sure you have picked up a copy and are fully informed before you commit yourself to renting a property.

Sharing

shared housing
iStock/rilueda

You cannot choose your family but you can choose your housemates, and you never know someone until you have lived with them.

  • University accommodation officers can vouch for the problems they have to try and sort out as a result of student tenants falling out with each other over the state of the kitchen or the bathroom.
  • Most reading this would be amazed at the depths of squalor to which some students can descend once away from the watchful eyes of parents.
  • A quarter of students smoke – could you live with one?
  • Or a nocturnal TV addict? It is a legal requirement to have a TV licence.
  • Or a surrogate penguin that warms to the heating system left on all day every day? Remember fuel bills are not usually included in the rent.

When applying for university halls, it is common to be asked about your lifestyle, and universities may try to group similar people together. 

You should approach living in halls with an open mind and be prepared for a lively environment where you may have to compromise your personal preferences. After the first year most students chose to move into accommodation with a group of friends of their own choosing, often with friends they have made in halls.