If you’ve got your uni place through Clearing or Adjustment, it's now time to find somewhere to live
After securing a uni place through Clearing or Adjustment, one of the main hurdles you’ll meet will be finding somewhere to live.
Because you’re getting your uni place confirmed quite late on, your uni might not have any places in halls left. So, before you get prepped for an amazing fresher’s week, you’re going to need to sort out somewhere to lay your head.
Here are the most important things to consider when you’re house-hunting.
Speak to your university
If you’re lucky, your uni will guarantee you a place in halls. Even if they won’t guarantee it, many will be able to find some or all of their Clearing students a place in halls anyway.
So your first step should be to check with your university about whether they have rooms available.
Asking whether accommodation is available when you speak to the uni about a place initially is the best place to start. You'll then know first-hand what the situation is and what you'll need to do to ensure you secure a place in uni halls, or whether you'll need to find out about private student accommodation or look for a shared-house with a private landlord.
You may find yourself being put on a waiting list, and getting on it sooner rather than later is key.
Halls will usually not require any kind of deposit and if you find that your building or flatmates aren’t for you then check with your university about room-swaps. There will be a list of students who want to swap rooms all year round and it’s worth having a look at it.
If your university can’t house you directly, they may block-book space in private halls or be able to recommend you trusted landlords. Also it’s worth asking about housing events and house-hunting gatherings for other students who’ve arrived through Clearing.
Private halls are run by private companies, and can offer a good alternative if university halls are full. Some large private hall companies include Unite, CRM Students and Student Castle, though there will also be smaller and individual private halls available.
If you do decide to go down this route, you’ll probably want to ask the halls to put you in a flat with other freshers from your uni. Living with new students in your university will give you all a ready group to socialise in. If you’re a party animal, living with a postgrad from another uni might be a bit of a drag...
Shared house (private renting)
A shared house is just a normal house where a group of students rent together from a landlord. Everyone has one bedroom each, and then shares the bathroom, kitchen and lounge.
However, shared houses do vary vastly in quality. The price often has very little relation to how nice the house is, and photos are often years out of date and taken at selective angles. We’ve seen houses that looked nice on Rightmove and then contained horrors like a collapsed ceiling. This means that it’s essential to view the house before you rent it.
Our Find a Flatmate forum is a good place to start looking for a private rental. You can also check sites such as Gumtree, Rightmove and Spareroom. Ask local letting agents – often they will be aware of spare rooms in shared houses that their tenants are looking to fill – and ask your uni’s private sector housing service. If you live in a student town then chances are there will be quite a lot of housing available for you to rent.
Private landlords will request a deposit (usually a month’s rent) and a guarantor (often a family member). If you are renting through an agency there will be fees involved as well, usually around £100-£200.
Unlike in halls, if you don’t like your housemates, there will be no escape for the rest of the academic year – there’s no opportunity to swap flats, and no escape clause in the contract if you drop out (though this is also the case in private halls).
This last point is an important consideration – if you drop out then you’ll have no income from student finance, but still have to pay your rent for the entire year if you’re anywhere other than uni halls.
The advantages of shared houses are that they usually work out cheaper than private halls (but do bear in mind that you’ll be paying rent for 52 weeks a year, and bills often aren’t included) and you’ll typically get a larger room (with a double bed!). On the downside you will have a smaller group of people to get to know, and if they’re second / third years, then they will already have established friendship groups.
If you're still at a bit of a loss, check out some of the community's tips for having a happy tenancy and renting.
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