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Student Accommodation Tips

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Packing your life into two suitcases can be a daunting task (unless you’re one of those girls that shows up with a moving van of things that your parents have shipped and footed the bill for) and it can be equally as stressful finding somewhere to unpack your things.

Let’s chat about how to find somewhere to live!

Check out your university options. If there’s decent student accommodation on-campus, you can save yourself a massive headache and it’s a great way to meet people. Though you’ll want to know if there’s special housing for postgraduate students, sometimes if you’re doing a masters or PhD you can get put into halls that are for mature students.

Also, are the undergraduate rooms shared, suites, etc. Look at the total price for student accommodation for the semester and divide that up by month, if you think you can find something better in that budget then you may want to hunt around.

Flatshares and shared apartments/houses

You should know beforehand the rent-cycle of your city by asking around either your university, friends or search online. For example, places like London, you don’t really need to start looking for a place to live more than 2-3 weeks before you need something as things come and go pretty quickly, but in smaller towns, places may be listed well in advance.

Search the internet for student accommodation ​

Check student housing forums in the country of your school to see if people are chatting about good local sites to search for student accommodation. It’s also good to join the Facebook groups for your university, often there will be a Michigan State University Class of 2016 or whatever, so all the incoming students will join up and chat with each other, this could be a great place to post a question about looking for housemates as you can click through to see a bit about them and decide if you would be a good fit!

Check your local tax laws

In the UK for example, if you’re a student, you don’t pay council tax in a rental property, but if you’re living with non-students, they’ll have to pick up the bill… Which is why here you’ll find students buddying up and not necessarily professionals looking to live with students, they would have to pay more. On the other side, will you need to pay state or local taxes on top of rent? You’ll need to include this into your monthly budget!

Be wary

Some places that sound too good to be true. The sites like gumtree.com and craigslist will often be a first point of call for those in search of cheap student accommodation, but there’s tons of scammers looking to take advantage of people that are more than willing to pay a deposit to hold a room that is in a perfect location at a perfect price. Do not fork over any money to a place that you haven’t seen if you don’t have a legal contract!

Find out how much bills will be

Sometimes they aren’t included. It’s fine and well that a place advertises at £500 a month, but if you have a massive heating, shared water, broadband, electric, phone, helicopter pad on the roof, you’ll need to total up what all the extras will be and think about how much it *actually* is going to cost you per month.

Google streetview!

I recommended Google streetview for picking a university in a place you can’t visit, but this is also great when looking for places to live, if you’ve got a few tips of what neighborhoods are an ok fit for your budget, pan around with Google streetview and see if you’d actually want to live there, it might be worth upping your spend for something nicer!

Talk to your student services office

They’ll often have a list of student-friendly buildings, search sites and sometimes even a website for people to post for flatshares and buddy-ups, they can be pretty helpful!

Rental agencies

Rental agencies can be a nice and easy way to go, but you’ll be paying for fees and have to have people with you that are also ready to move in. If you have a group of friends or have found some like-minded people on Facebook, this might be an easy route, but it’ll just mean that you have to meet their requirements; sometimes rental agencies want minimum incomes or credit ratings. You can ask rental agencies if it’s possible to have a parent or guardian co-sign on your behalf if you don’t meet the criteria.

Living with your best friends

It might sound like a great idea, but you might also be at each other’s throats by the end of the first month over who didn’t do the dishes. Consider living in the same neighborhood as friends instead of in the same house so you can still go out easily but also meet new people in your house shares.

Laura Tucker's profile image
Written by Thomas Ahonen

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