Going to university is a big change, not only because you’ll have to familiarise yourself with a new learning environment and people, but also because it’s usually the first time you go out and live on your own. Nevertheless, your worries and fears of living alone may be lessened if you find comfortable accommodation near the campus.
Here are tips on finding student housing for first year students:
Where do you find housing?
Most universities and schools offer and provide student housing. This type of housing commonly consists of a single study bedroom with access to kitchen facilities, but other universities also own and manage houses which they rent out to students on a shared accommodation basis.
If you are considering campus housing, keep in mind that first year students, students with disabilities, and international students are given first priority when selecting the occupants for these accommodations.
You may also look for privately rented properties near your university if they run out of slots or if you don’t like living in the campus.
Start your search with www.nihestudentpad.co.uk. Compared to other property portals, this website is dedicated to private and university properties in the UK and Northern Ireland. It’s also a big bonus that they regularly update their database on available housing near campuses in the country.
You’ll notice in your search that most privately rented properties for students fall under the definition of HMO properties.
Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMOs are houses which are occupied by at least 3 people from different families. The law requires operators of these accommodations to meet certain requirements such as sufficient toilet and kitchen facilities, fire alarms, or other detectors before they can start to operate. When HMOs meet these requirements they become registered.
NIHE advice students to seek only registered HMO properties whenever possible, so you can be sure of comfortable and safe living conditions.
How much is monthly rent?
Monthly rental rates depend on the type of student accommodation and facilities available. Moreover, rates of university housing and privately rented properties are different from each other.
When you are living in campus facility, your monthly rent will already cover costs for electricity and heating. Rent for private accommodations, on the other hand, doesn’t cover these costs.
Can students receive financial assistance from the government?
Under current laws, most full time students won’t be able to receive any housing benefit. You may only receive assistance from the government once you have proven that you belong to the following groups:
- Part-time students
- Lone parents
- Students with disability
- Students with dependent children whose partner is also a full time student
- Students who have attained the age of Pension Credit
Beware that the housing benefit you receive may not cover all of your rent. Your income, savings, and your family circumstances will be considered altogether when computing for the amount you receive.
Remember, when budget is tight, it’s always best to be prudent. Don’t expect finding a house that will have everything you want. A place that meets safety standards and your basic needs should be good enough. It’s easier to adjust if the lodging isn’t completely to your liking than finding yourself continually out of cash, so be practical. Happy house hunting!