It may be the case that you will not stick with the same accommodation for the entire period of your study. This often happens as you make new friends, wish to move in with someone else or maybe just need a change of scenery. In most cases this transition can be quite a hassle, especially if you decide to move from university or private halls to shared private accommodation. This article outlines the main issues encountered when dealing with such a decision:
The Right Time to Start Searching – Living with Friends
With student accommodation starting to be advertised from mid-December for the following academic year, this may make you wonder whether securing accommodation so early is a must. The answer is simply: NO. If you wish to live in the same house together with your friends then starting a search in December is as good as starting a search in January or February.
What one needs to remember is that winter time is perhaps the most favourable time to find and rent a house. If you are more interested in renting a flat in private halls, then they are usually available for viewing starting February and continue to be available until halls are at full capacity. Therefore, if it happens that you are one of the (un)lucky students who has to sit exams mid-January, you would not have to worry about accommodation until you finish the exam period. You can spend some time afterwards searching for accommodation together with your friends.
The Right Time to Start Searching – Living on your Own
If you identify yourself with this category of students, then there are two ways to find private accommodation. Should you be interested in finding a studio room or a one-bed flat in private halls then you need to arrange for viewings starting February, especially if you are interested in most popular private halls as their availability is quite short, i.e. they operate on a “first come, first served” basis.
If you wish to find yourself a room in a shared house, then you have more time to search and make a decision as it often happens that rooms in shared houses become available with the departure of one member of the people currently living there. A good place to start your search in either case would be Accommodation for Students because, as its name suggests, it allows you to find private accommodation for students and also find housemates.
The Legal Aspects of Moving into Private Accommodation
The most daunting part is the fact that this choice involves some decisions which you make on your own and that are not in any way covered by the university, as this would have normally been the case if you had previously lived in a university hall. This category includes: paying a deposit (which you need to make sure you will receive at the end of your tenancy), paying for bills, making sure that you are exempt from paying council tax, perhaps paying for house repairs if the contract stipulates so, paying for tenancy in either one instalment or in three instalments because of a lack of a UK guarantor. Legal protection is an important issue that needs to be taken into consideration and therefore there are several measures to ensure that you (and your future housemates) are covered.
You can either be really excited about this process or scared of it. Either way, you need to be informed of each aspect and consider all your options so that after moving in you do not find yourself regretting the decision you have made.