What students should think about before they make a decision on where to live while they're studying.

Our very own Grainne Jordan has some experience of working in student accommodation. We asked Grainne for advice on

1. Where will you be more likely to go to classes?

This one is pretty straightforward. The closer you are to campus, and wherever your classes are happening the more likely you are to actually attend those classes. It might seem like the slightly better room that is further from campus is the better choice, but keep in mind you’ll probably be spending a lot of time on campus, either at classes, or in the library studying, or for events, so why not make it as easy as possible for yourself?

2. Consider how you will pay your bills

Many accommodation options specifically designed for students will have your bills included as part of your rent, or will have a set fee that you pay for them (eg. heating, electricity, internet, rubbish collection). This can make it easier for you to keep track of what you will be spending each month, because the amounts don’t change. However, it is possible that the flat fee may end up being more than you might pay otherwise in a shared house.

3. Get an inventory

An inventory is basically a check list for both the landlord and tenants to list any items (bed lamp, etc.) and any faults with the house when you first move in. Both of you then sign it, so make sure you check all of the details thoroughly.

This can be important because the cost of damaged, or missing items could be taken out of your deposit.

4. Referencing fee

Letting agencies charge a referencing fee which is typically between £20 and £100. It’s very acceptable to try and negotiate this fee, or you may prefer to use an online service like accommodationforstudents.com to search through landlord adverts for no cost at all.

5. Length of contract

Many rental contracts are 12 months. On campus accommodation, and many rental arrangements specifically for students are often 9 months. In either case, be sure you’ve thought about which one you are going to do, and which situation you are agreeing to in the contract before you sign anything! Which bring us to our next point!

6. Read the entire contract!!!

This might seem like an obvious one, but many people often just assume everything will be as normal, and don’t read the contract. Who knows what you could be signing away!

  • Take a look at your obligations in detail (what you can and can’t do during your time in the accommodation). You might be required to clean the windows yourself twice a year for example.
  • Make sure the contract allows for general wear and tear. This will mean that any items that have become worn due just to you living there won’t be your responsibility to replace.

If you’re considering your accommodation choices, but don’t have the finances to make them happen, perhaps Future Finance is an option for you. You can read more about our loans on our home page.