5 June 2023
Finding University Accommodation for 2nd Year
Got your house sorted for next year? Start looking for work experience instead.
Forget coursework deadlines… looking for next year’s university digs is quickly becoming one of the most stressful jobs on the student calendar.
Who will I live with? When do I start looking? Where should I locate?
Finding a place to live is like stroking a cactus. It can be tricky.
Rat infestations, mould invasions and leaky roofs are just a few of the horror stories you’ve probably heard. Not to worry. Simply follow these Do’s and Don’ts and you’ll find the perfect place in no time.
Do create a list of what you’re looking for
Searching for student accommodation without any idea of what you’re looking for is like trying to find your destination without knowing what that destination is. It’s virtually impossible.
We recommend creating a list of all the things you want your dream digs to be. Here are some questions you should be able to answer before you go house-shopping.
- How many people will you be sharing a property with?
- Will you require single or double rooms?
- Are you all willing to share bathrooms? Or do you need en-suites?
- What is yours and your housemates’ monthly budget?
- Do you want your bills included, or will you pay these separately?
- Will you deal directly with the landlord, or let through an agency?
- How far are you willing to travel from your home to your lectures?
- Do you want to live in uni or private accommodation? A house, studio or a flat?
Do shop and ask around
You should never settle for the first property that interests you. Ideally, shortlist at least a few that fit your criteria. SpareRoom, RightMove and StuRents are popular sites to start your house search.
Your rent will vary depending on where you go to university. So make sure you research some areas beforehand to see what’s out there. This will help you find the best deals.
Often, the closer to university you live, the higher your rent. If you’re planning on sharing with housemates, it’d be good if one of you drives. That way, you can live further out and grab a lift onto campus.
If none of you drive, you’ll want to live somewhere accessible with good public transport links. No-one wants to be stranded and have to spend their student loan on taxis!
Visit estate agents
Don’t feel shy about visiting the local estate agents. It’s their job to help students find the property that’s right for them. So they know what they’re doing.
Plus – with energy bills going up this winter, an estate agent can answer all your burning questions, like how to be more energy efficient.
Speak to older students
You wouldn’t book a hotel without reading the reviews, would you? It’s the same with housing. If you want to get ahead, speak to older students about their house-hunting experience. They’ll have gone through it all before – and can give you some good pointers too.
Here are some questions you’ll want to ask…
- Are there certain areas that might offer cheaper housing?
- What is the landlord like in their house?
- How far is the local shop?
Students are likely to be more honest with you. They’re not trying to sell you anything after all.
Do book a viewing before settling on a property
We can’t say this enough.
A few online photos from 2009 won’t accurately reflect the condition of the property you could be living in. Make sure you book a viewing with the estate agent. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for.
Viewing properties gives you insight into room size, storage space and the condition of furnishings already in the house. Plus, it’s a great time to ask questions.
For example, how much is the deposit? Is the house insulated? Whose responsibility is it to maintain the garden? Make a checklist of things you want to know so you don’t miss anything.
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- All inclusive bills
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Don’t rush into it
With everyone claiming properties left, right and centre, it can be tempting to do the same. But, don’t rush things if you’re unsure about your future plans.
Will you be completing a year abroad? Are you thinking of completing a year in industry? If so, then it’s worth waiting before you financially lock yourself into a 12-month contract.
Choosing your housemates
The mates you meet in freshers might sound like a laugh at first, but could you tolerate living in the same four walls as them for a whole year?
It’s quite common for students to realise they weren’t destined to live together – once they’ve already moved in. We suggest waiting until you’ve developed strong friendships and really know the people you’re living with, before committing to a house share.
Don’t leave it too late
One of the biggest mistakes students make when looking for accommodation is:
- Rushing around trying to find people to live with
- Frantically looking for a house – only to find out the majority have been taken.
Make sure you’ve picked your housemates by the end of first year, and start your search as soon as possible. Ideally, you’ll want to lock down your accommodation and have a contract in place before everyone breaks up for summer.
Don’t sign contracts without reading them
Who actually reads the small print? In this case, you definitely want to be clear on the terms and conditions of what you’re signing up to. Housing contracts can be full of hidden clauses designed to catch you out.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
Firstly, check that your deposit is covered by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This essentially means that as long as you pay your rent on time and don’t wreck the property, you’ll get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
It’s also worth making sure that your contract type is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. This agreement protects you AND the landlord and outlines your responsibilities as a tenant living at the property.
Here’s what you’ll find in your AST:
- Start and end date of your tenancy
- How much rent you have to pay
- When you’ll need to pay rent
- Address of property
- Name and address of tenant / landlord / letting agent
- Deposit amount
- Bills to pay
If you’re unsure of something in your contract, get it checked over! Most university student unions offer these services for students. So make the most of them.
Now that you know how to approach finding accommodation for your second year at university, it’s time to put what you know into practice.