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    Can anyone give me an idea of the accommodation costs to live away from halls in the second and third years please?

    Also, what would say the local cost of living is like?

    And is it really more expensive to live at Royal Holloway uni (London allowance received) compared to University of Surrey just down the road?

    RHUL and Surrey are both expensive places to study in general, so while I don't know Surrey well, I'd suspect the London allowance does make a difference.

    Rent in the RHUL area ranges from around £300/mo (usually a tiny box single in the back alleys of Englefield Green) to over £1200/mo (at The Pad right next to the uni, home of many a Ferrari-driving overseas student...). In general a room in a 3 or 4-person house is in the area of £400-450/mo. Some landlords include some of the utilities (ours includes an Internet connection allowance, for example), but most of the time the students have to cover all the utilities collectively. If at least one of the students is financially minded and knows how to get cheap energy etc, this can actually work out reasonably well as everyone in the house is paying.

    A lot of your success in getting cheap accommodation is basically in being proactive, doing your research, visiting at least a few properties before deciding, and getting in before the last-minute rush where landlords peddle terrible properties at inflated rents. Areas closer to the uni tend to be more expensive (e.g. the Egham residential area near the back gate), and in Englefield Green (aka student central) quality and price vary quite a bit. If you're willing to live further out, you can get some nice relatively cheap places (we have large double rooms just the wrong side of the M25 for £365, in a place suited to cycling in). 2-bed properties are expensive, 3-beds are rare, 4-beds are (in my opinion, at least!) the best compromise, 5 and 6-beds tend to get filled with random individuals the landlord's picked up separately, but are cheaper.

    There's another option which is more popular with PhD students - taking a room with a live-in landlord. Up front it's more expensive, and you have less rights than when renting, but generally all utilities are included in the price. This option only really appears in residental areas within Egham - a friend of mine a few years ago had a £400 single room a minute's walk from the station and 20 minutes walk from the uni.

    In terms of location, Englefield Green is aimed at students, so it's a relative party area, close to the uni but not much else. All the amenities in the area are e.g. convenience stores, so I find the cost of living is higher as a result. In Egham proper, you're within proximity of the uni, the high street (with actual stores!) and the station. It's also quieter (primarily commuter territory), which may be a good or bad thing in your opinion, but does have less crime as a result. Further out, you're within walking distance of Staines, which is a proper shopping town.

    If you go through an estate agent (there are a few specifically aimed at RHUL students), you'll generally have to pay one-off admin fees in the region of £100-200. The uni runs a house search site (http://www.housesearch.rhul.ac.uk/Accommodation) which lets you deal with landlords directly and avoid these fees. Obviously you need to be a bit more involved as you're not being ferried around by an estate agent, but we found it was easier to do due diligence onthe house and build a good relationship with the landlord this way.

    Hope this helps
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Updated: March 11, 2016

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