Here at LSi, we’ve compiled a housing guide to aid you in your search for student housing once fresh out of the comforts of halls. Whether it’s in Hyde Park, Headingley or Woodhouse, you’re going to have to pick a house somehow.
Who do you want to live with?
Living with a group is a formative part of a student’s university experience. With the stress of intensive studying who needs the added pressure of tiptoeing around and being considerate all the time with a group of people? The people in the group are your friends – people who you are choosing to live with and not random strangers like in first year halls. You should know them and already have a group dynamic that works for everyone, making your time in your house enjoyable and comfortable. Plus, in a group, you have the added bonus of bills and rent being cheaper than living alone, as well as it being safer. Remember you are still in a city and living alone is not always the safest option, but everyone is different, make sure the choice you make is what you are most comfortable with. Be honest with people if you don’t want to live with them rather than suffer in silence for a year.
If you decide to live alone
If you do decide to live alone something you may want to consider, which you can also take into account if you are a group, is returning to University accommodation. This makes the process of buying a house a lot cheaper as the deposit is only £200 and there is no signing fees or guarantors. But house bills and rent can be, and in most cases, are cheaper per week than what you pay for University accommodation. Also, if you buy a house, you have the freedom of choice to decide on who you do or don’t live with next year; in University accommodation you have no say in the matter. Another issue with University accommodation is its rigidity: noise levels; decorating your room; constant inspections. With a house, it becomes more of a homey space which, with the landlord’s permission, you can use and design to your tastes- a liberty you cannot take in University rooms.
Which letting agency to go through?
Once you have decided on who you want to live with the next choice is which letting agency you go through: Unipol or a private company. To summarise Unipol in a single word is security: they have higher standards checks; their landlords are carefully and specifically chosen; they offer contract checking and the deposit is paid after you have signed the contract. But, do not think that Unipol is your only option for security as many private landlords are Unipol accredited. When it’s your first time picking a house you can be swept up within the process and want to sign and buy after your first viewing. Shopping around is time consuming, tiring and frustrating but it means you understand the market, what you can get for your money and which letting agency and landlord suits your needs as a buyer.
How do you want to pay your bills?
Many landlords have an all-inclusive price alongside the renting price. All-inclusive bills is a lot more stress free than paying monthly and it doesn’t always have to be through the landlord, websites such as Split the Bills offer such inclusive deals. However, with such a deal you are paying for bills even when the house is unoccupied and it may not always be the cheaper option. With paying bills separately you have the flexibility of making it as cheap or as expensive as you want, yet if you are on a lower budget winter months could be very expensive. Take into account what kind of spender you are, do you even budget? Can you afford to cover bills no matter the cost? Or do you want to not even think about bills and just pay a set amount? Everything is personal preference and, if it’s a group decision, remember majority rules.