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    Hi everybody

    I'm going to be starting an M.Litt in September and am having problems finding accommodation.
    I applied for halls, but have yet to hear anything back and have been 'strongly advised' to look into private accommodation. I've looked at renting houses/flats with people or finding someone who has a spare room and is looking for a flatmate but there is literally nothing out there. No one seems to have a spare room, and there are so many other people in the same position a me that when houses or rooms do become available they are snapped up instantly. It makes it harder for me because I don't live in St Andrews, nor in the surrounding area.

    Should I give up on halls and accept my fate, that I haven't been successful? Or should I still hope to hear back?

    They have advised us with some other options, one of which is to live in Dundee. This could include finding a spare room in a house to rent, or to look into private halls. I really don't like the idea of having to get a bus into St Andrews. I wanted the whole experience of living and studying in the 'bubble'.

    Has anyone had any experience, or know of anyone who has had experience, of living in Dundee and commuting in? Do you think it is a good option? I would probably go for the private halls because it would allow me to meet more people in a city that I'm not even studying in.

    Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated, I just don't know what to do right now.

    Thanks,
    Becky.
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    Hi Becky,

    I wish I had comforting words or advice for you, but I don't at the moment-- I'm in exactly the same situation. It's very difficult (or seemingly impossible) to find a place to live right now. The way I read that email the accommodation department sent to postgraduates is that we shouldn't expect to still get a room through university channels, though a couple of us might (depending on how many people 'drop out' before September).

    I'd like to know what it's like to commute from Dundee as well, and is it easy to meet people if your time is split between two cities?
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    Keep checking the sinner, and there are several housing groups set up on Facebook, where people are frequently advertising available rooms


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    I was in the same situation as well. Plus I am coming from the US so it was really hard to find housing. But a positive note I did find an apartment after a few months. It takes a while, but keep at it and I found a great place actually on market street right across from the uni. Keep looking and email the letting agents and ask to get on the mailing list. 15 minutes after one getting sent out I found my future place and emailed asking to start the process and now renting it. So be positive! It sucks as a new postgraduate to have to be stressed like this, but keep at it.
    EDIT:
    All postgrads need to start finding private accommodation because it seems there will be no housing for us at this point. Let the housing hunger games begin.

    http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/accommodation/pg/pginfo/
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    First of all, don't worry! You will find somewhere :-) Accommodation in St Andrews is stupidly expensive (if you have money, supposedly it's not that difficult to find somewhere), in comparison to the majority of other universities and its relative isolation makes it more difficult.

    Dundee is on the 99 bus route. It takes about half an hour, and if you get a Unirider pass, commuting isn't too expensive (£95 for four weeks, so just over £3 a day if you use it every day: http://www.stagecoachbus.com/Fife-an...-Unirider.aspx). During the day it's pretty frequent (every ten minutes); early morning, it's every twenty minutes; after 6pm, it's every half an hour. The last bus back to Dundee is at 11pm (although there's also a way to get back on the buses at 11.50pm!), which makes it difficult to go out. A taxi is stupidly expensive (maybe £30-£40, which is okay if there are five of you after a night out, not if you're on your own). You could live somewhere else on that 99 route (Leuchars or Guardbridge maybe), closer to St Andrews. Dundee is okay as a city, and they're doing loads of redevelopment, so in a few years it should be pretty good! If you are looking at Dundee places, think about where it's located. The West End/Perth Road area is nice, but then you have to think about a way to get to the bus station in the centre.


    Any questions, let me know!
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    Thank for all your help! I've actually just been sent an offer for St Gregory's accommodation, so I'm extremely happy at the moment

    (Original post by LifeOfDreams)
    First of all, don't worry! You will find somewhere :-) Accommodation in St Andrews is stupidly expensive (if you have money, supposedly it's not that difficult to find somewhere), in comparison to the majority of other universities and its relative isolation makes it more difficult.

    Dundee is on the 99 bus route. It takes about half an hour, and if you get a Unirider pass, commuting isn't too expensive (£95 for four weeks, so just over £3 a day if you use it every day: http://www.stagecoachbus.com/Fife-an...-Unirider.aspx). During the day it's pretty frequent (every ten minutes); early morning, it's every twenty minutes; after 6pm, it's every half an hour. The last bus back to Dundee is at 11pm (although there's also a way to get back on the buses at 11.50pm!), which makes it difficult to go out. A taxi is stupidly expensive (maybe £30-£40, which is okay if there are five of you after a night out, not if you're on your own). You could live somewhere else on that 99 route (Leuchars or Guardbridge maybe), closer to St Andrews. Dundee is okay as a city, and they're doing loads of redevelopment, so in a few years it should be pretty good! If you are looking at Dundee places, think about where it's located. The West End/Perth Road area is nice, but then you have to think about a way to get to the bus station in the centre.


    Any questions, let me know!
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    Congratulations! St Gregory's pretty much looks out over the sea and is thirty seconds from Castle Sands (the best beach in town). It's also really close to town, so you can easily stagger home late at night from the pub. Sorry, I mean easily get home after working late at night in the library.


    (Original post by MissoLuxe)
    Thank for all your help! I've actually just been sent an offer for St Gregory's accommodation, so I'm extremely happy at the moment
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    Haha, thanks! It sounds like the perfect place for me then!

    (Original post by LifeOfDreams)
    Congratulations! St Gregory's pretty much looks out over the sea and is thirty seconds from Castle Sands (the best beach in town). It's also really close to town, so you can easily stagger home late at night from the pub. Sorry, I mean easily get home after working late at night in the library.
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    Because of being so close to the library of course

    My PhD office is actually in the same area as your halls. It's a nice place to wander when you're hoping for inspiration!

    Make sure you accept the offer quickly! Hopefully the rooms will be nice


    (Original post by MissoLuxe)
    Haha, thanks! It sounds like the perfect place for me then!
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    (Original post by MissoLuxe)
    Haha, thanks! It sounds like the perfect place for me then!
    Hi Becky.

    I am considering applying for entry in 2015. Can I ask, why is it so difficult to get accommodation for Postgrad? Is this just a temporary thing?

    Also, is it difficult to get in, I'm wanting to do an MLitt in International Relations.

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Eboracum)
    Hi Becky.

    I am considering applying for entry in 2015. Can I ask, why is it so difficult to get accommodation for Postgrad? Is this just a temporary thing?

    Also, is it difficult to get in, I'm wanting to do an MLitt in International Relations.

    Thanks!
    Don't hold me to this as it's just an observation, but I think they've made Gannochy House, which was PG, into an undergrad residence (or at least a combined residence, as it's now listed under both categories - http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/accommod...ug/residences/). Also they've closed Eden Court, which isn't a massive difference, but still would have an impact. Also the undergrad residences are way oversubscribed, so fewer 2-4th years are getting in, so more of them are living in the town. Any way you slice it, there's an accommodation shortage within St Andrews, it's not just the PGs.
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    (Original post by ElizabethRG)
    Don't hold me to this as it's just an observation, but I think they've made Gannochy House, which was PG, into an undergrad residence (or at least a combined residence, as it's now listed under both categories - http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/accommod...ug/residences/). Also they've closed Eden Court, which isn't a massive difference, but still would have an impact. Also the undergrad residences are way oversubscribed, so fewer 2-4th years are getting in, so more of them are living in the town. Any way you slice it, there's an accommodation shortage within St Andrews, it's not just the PGs.
    Yes but specifically postgraduate housing is completely limited compared to even undergraduate housing. They have been sending emails for a month to all postgraduates about how there would be basically zero postgraduate housing. As an international postgrad coming in, I found this whole process very unnerving. I got very lucky and was able to find an apartment earlier on, but it has been a total mess as far as postgraduate housing. At least undergraduates had the opportunity for first year housing at least. Almost all other postgraduate programs in other comparable universities in the UK guarantee first year postgraduate housing.
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    (Original post by Bob311)
    Yes but specifically postgraduate housing is completely limited compared to even undergraduate housing. They have been sending emails for a month to all postgraduates about how there would be basically zero postgraduate housing. As an international postgrad coming in, I found this whole process very unnerving. I got very lucky and was able to find an apartment earlier on, but it has been a total mess as far as postgraduate housing. At least undergraduates had the opportunity for first year housing at least. Almost all other postgraduate programs in other comparable universities in the UK guarantee first year postgraduate housing.
    As I said, St Andrews has a massive accommodation problem; all of it's a mess (though I'm sorry PGs seem to be having such an awful time). Very few people don't have issues with it. The con of going to a very popular university in a very small town.
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    But surely tings will ease next year when the new Fyfe Park comes on stream.Son was lucky in getting DRA last year and is sticking with it.
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    (Original post by olddad)
    But surely tings will ease next year when the new Fyfe Park comes on stream.Son was lucky in getting DRA last year and is sticking with it.
    As far as I understand, no new HMO licences have been granted in the centre of St Andrews for at least three years. I would be very surprised if rents have not increased during that period (and I imagine house prices have gone up too!). Essentially, landlords have a captive audience. The availability of accommodation that is affordable in St Andrews is awful. It compares terribly to every other Scottish town. There are some rooms available throughout town, but they are just so expensive.
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    (Original post by LifeOfDreams)
    As far as I understand, no new HMO licences have been granted in the centre of St Andrews for at least three years. I would be very surprised if rents have not increased during that period (and I imagine house prices have gone up too!). Essentially, landlords have a captive audience. The availability of accommodation that is affordable in St Andrews is awful. It compares terribly to every other Scottish town. There are some rooms available throughout town, but they are just so expensive.
    If I remember what I read correctly, locals aren't liking the number of uni students living in the centre of town, hence the lack of HMO licenses being granted (ridiculous, obviously. It's a university town, what do they expect?). But the student population is only getting bigger - they're going to have to figure something out within the next few years.

    Apparently they're building another hall/set of flats soon: http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/...hall-approved/

    It's ridiculous though - most uni towns are difficult, but not this bad! I know of some peoples' parents buying houses for they and their friends because rentals are so impossible. Madness.
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    (Original post by ElizabethRG)
    If I remember what I read correctly, locals aren't liking the number of uni students living in the centre of town, hence the lack of HMO licenses being granted (ridiculous, obviously. It's a university town, what do they expect?). But the student population is only getting bigger - they're going to have to figure something out within the next few years.

    Apparently they're building another hall/set of flats soon: http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/...hall-approved/

    It's ridiculous though - most uni towns are difficult, but not this bad! I know of some peoples' parents buying houses for they and their friends because rentals are so impossible. Madness.
    I've just read that article. The new flats were opposed by some! The problem is that that new halls will take time to build and an extra 250 rooms will only allow the university to guarantee accommodation again to first years. It won't solve the problem for others.

    The main problem, I think, is the high rent, not so much the lack of rooms. In Glasgow £250 would get you a nice room in a shared flat ten minutes walk from university. Here it's at least double that!

    If the people wanting to limit student accommodation are the people benefiting from either increasing rents as landlords or increasing value of their property as house owners, then it seems to me that there is a clear conflict of interest.
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    (Original post by LifeOfDreams)
    I've just read that article. The new flats were opposed by some! The problem is that that new halls will take time to build and an extra 250 rooms will only allow the university to guarantee accommodation again to first years. It won't solve the problem for others.

    The main problem, I think, is the high rent, not so much the lack of rooms. In Glasgow £250 would get you a nice room in a shared flat ten minutes walk from university. Here it's at least double that!

    If the people wanting to limit student accommodation are the people benefiting from either increasing rents as landlords or increasing value of their property as house owners, then it seems to me that there is a clear conflict of interest.
    I'm more shocked by the fact that the prices for shared flats p/w here are comparable to those in places like London and Edinburgh. I think the university is avoiding talking about it too much as they know it could affect people's choice to come to St Andrews.

    But yes, either way you slice it, it's a major problem (that unfortunately won't be solved in our time there). Probably the best thing to do would be start limiting their intake, but of course they won't do that.
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    The university administration have decided that the postgrad population must always be a particular proportion of the overall student population (roughly 15%). So every time College Gate tells the Schools they have to increase the first year intake (every year!) they also have to increase the postgrad intake. This has a knock-on effect not just on housing but on teaching and space provision for postgrads. The university desperately does not want to talk about it, and they also don't want to talk about the phased reduction of affordable student accommodation - Albany Park and Fife Park houses are to be replaced with DRA style apartments, but they haven't announced a firm date for this yet - because they don't want to admit that the stereotype of St Andrews being a rich-kids university are actually pretty accurate when it comes to cost of living. I've been here for a long time and I've been very happy here and I love it here, but I have been shocked at the dramatic increase in the cost of living just over the past 5 or so years. I think it affects postgrads more than undergrads because the loan structures in place for undergrads aren't there for postgrads, and so such huge rents are less of a problem if you have a £7000-£9000 per year maintenance grant to spend.
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    (Original post by Tasha1986)
    The university administration have decided that the postgrad population must always be a particular proportion of the overall student population (roughly 15%). So every time College Gate tells the Schools they have to increase the first year intake (every year!) they also have to increase the postgrad intake. This has a knock-on effect not just on housing but on teaching and space provision for postgrads. The university desperately does not want to talk about it, and they also don't want to talk about the phased reduction of affordable student accommodation - Albany Park and Fife Park houses are to be replaced with DRA style apartments, but they haven't announced a firm date for this yet - because they don't want to admit that the stereotype of St Andrews being a rich-kids university are actually pretty accurate when it comes to cost of living. I've been here for a long time and I've been very happy here and I love it here, but I have been shocked at the dramatic increase in the cost of living just over the past 5 or so years. I think it affects postgrads more than undergrads because the loan structures in place for undergrads aren't there for postgrads, and so such huge rents are less of a problem if you have a £7000-£9000 per year maintenance grant to spend.
    That's really interesting, Tasha. You're right about it being a different problem for postgraduates with the lack of loans for living expenses for us. I think that there are two problems: one is that rents are increasing because supply is constricted and demand increasing. I know that that's just market forces at work, but it's a problem for the average student (and average local in St Andrews too). A friend of mine is trying to rent a flat here. He's found one which is just inside his price range (anywhere else in the UK he could live in a beautiful building for the price he's paying), but the landlord won't rent it out until he's seen it. It seems that the cards are stacked in the landlord's favour.

    Secondly, the increasing numbers of students. I can understand that the university wants to increase its size, but that has to be done in conjunction with improving facilities (the library for example is completely unsuitable for a growing university, and they've spent however many millions on a refit yet the heating still doesn't work properly - I'd hate to think how much money is wasted there!). Maybe the university could subsidise bus travel to outlying villages. That would have to be cheaper than building new flats...

    Does the student union actually do anything? There must be other small towns in the past which have had growing universities. This situation isn't unprecedented!
 
 
 
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