An Overview of Different Types of Student Accommodation in UK

For international students who will be arriving in the UK soon, finding suitable accommodation is of utmost importance. It is crucial to carefully consider factors such as safety and affordability of the living environment. 

There are primarily three types of accommodation options available for international students in the UK: host families, student dormitories, and renting a private house. Generally speaking, rental prices in the UK are calculated on a weekly basis, with or without additional charges (such as utility bills). The general formula for calculating monthly rent is as follows: multiplying the weekly price by 52 (representing the number of weeks in a year) and then dividing it by 12 (representing the number of months). 

This blog aims to provide an introduction to different types of accommodation available in the UK, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Homestay

Homestays can be applied for or sourced independently. The International Office of the university will provide pertinent information. If you secure a homestay through a website or via a friend’s referral, you may find a more cost-effective alternative. Additionally, international students may need to fulfil specific requirements when applying for homestays, particularly those who directly enrol in high school and minors, who must have a guarantor.

Advantages

The primary advantage of residing with a host family lies in the opportunity it provides for students to actively engage in the daily life of an ordinary British household. This immersive experience allows them to understand how weekends are spent, various festival celebrations, customary practices, preferred leisure activities, television preferences, and perspectives on diverse matters. Living within a British family’s abode serves as an effective means to immerse oneself in local culture authentically. Furthermore, constant exposure to English language usage within this environment facilitates imperceptible yet rapid enhancements in students’ oral proficiency, accentuation skills, vocabulary acquisition and more.

uk student accommodation homestay

Disadvantages

The host family typically provides two meals, namely breakfast and dinner, while you are responsible for sourcing your own lunch. However, it is essential to note that the host family predetermines the menu options and independent cooking may not be permitted for international students. Additionally, it is crucial to acknowledge that each host family differs in their approach. A hospitable family might arrange leisure activities such as attending musicals or shopping on weekends. Conversely, an inhospitable host family may subject you to substandard living conditions and mistreatment.

Cost

The provision of food for students makes homestays, on average, the most costly among the three types of accommodation.

Student Accommodation

The campus provides two types of accommodation: catered and self-catered. Catered accommodation includes breakfast and dinner, while self-catered accommodation is typically categorized into three options: Studio (featuring a private bathroom and kitchen), En-Suite (with a private bathroom and shared kitchen), and Standard (offering shared bathroom and kitchen facilities).

In addition, student accommodation can be categorized into two types: university-managed student halls and off-campus student accommodation managed by apartment operators.

On-campus student halls

In fact, most universities in the UK provide student-managed accommodation, which is often more cost-effective and conveniently located near campus, making it highly sought after. However, these rooms are limited in availability and typically require advanced booking.

Off-campus student accommodation

In addition to the university’s own rooms, there are also many apartment providers that offer off-campus student accommodation. These apartments allow students to live independently without being limited to the university. This option has become increasingly popular today as it provides students with more choices in terms of location, price, and room type.

uk student accommodation

Advantages

  • You can interact with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • It is a vibrant and highly sought-after location.
  • It offers convenience and comprehensive amenities.
  • Most rooms are in close proximity to the school and library.
  • The furniture and facilities are fully equipped, eliminating the need for separate preparations.

Disdvantages

  • Catered: The food is consistently problematic. Although there is no need for cooking, the cuisine offered in the canteen lacks variety and excitement.
  • Self-Catered: You are responsible for preparing your own meals. The kitchen facilities are shared among fellow students.
  • Studio: Lingering food odours permeate the room, which can lead to feelings of loneliness if one resides in a studio for an extended period of time.
  • En-Suite: The kitchen is communal, raising concerns about potential use or consumption of personal belongings and food by roommates.
  • Standard: In addition to the aforementioned issues encountered in en-suite accommodations, public toilets and bathrooms pose significant challenges, particularly for individuals who prioritize cleanliness or female residents. 

Cost

The student dormitory operates on a “deposit + rent” model, with the deposit being refundable in most cases. However, any damages incurred during the residency period will require compensation, and the amount may vary depending on factors such as contract duration, dormitory type, and location. Generally speaking, living in a school dormitory is more affordable than staying with a host family but relatively costlier compared to renting an independent house. It is highly recommended for freshmen recently arriving in the UK due to its comparatively safer environment.

House Renting

Many students in the United Kingdom who have chosen to rent their own accommodations for one or two years often face significant risks, such as potential fraud or dealing with unscrupulous landlords. Engaging an agent may result in high agency fees and the need to thoroughly investigate the surrounding area, which can be quite cumbersome. 

While numerous rental websites are available in the United Kingdom, it is advisable to rely on reputable agents for safety reasons. Students have various options when renting their own accommodations, including single rooms, double rooms, studios, entire flats or houses. However, it is essential to note that specific housing options may not be available for student rentals; therefore, contacting both the landlord and agent beforehand is necessary.

uk student accommodation house renting

Advantages

You have a wide range of options in terms of location, price, and personnel choices. You are free to purchase any desired decorations for your home. Some landlords even permit pets; however, it is essential to refer to your rental contract! Each item will be meticulously listed; the absence of details or an incomplete rental contract significantly increases the likelihood of encountering pitfalls.

Disadvantages

The primary challenge associated with private renting pertains to cohabitation arrangements. Establishing a friendship and sharing a living space with an individual entails an entirely distinct experience, often necessitating a prolonged period of adjustment. Furthermore, it is essential to note that most social housing does not encompass utility expenses, thereby requiring tenants to cover various costs related to utilities independently. Additionally, one must address the matter of council tax. While full-time students are exempt from this tax, they are required to personally apply for tax exemption through the government’s official website.

Cost

The cost of renting a house is multifaceted, encompassing the deposit, rent, bills, agency fee, furniture (some homes may not be furnished), and Council Tax. Estimating the average monthly rent proves challenging as housing expenses vary across cities and regions. However, sharing the house with more individuals leads to a reduction in the average cost.

If you’re thinking about studying in the UK, it’s crucial to find the right student accommodation. That’s where uhomes comes in. It’s a reliable platform that helps students like you find the perfect place to live in LondonManchesterGlasgowCardiff, Birmingham and many other cities. So far, they’ve helped more than 55,000 students successfully find their dream homes. If you need to rent something soon, just fill out the form and our expert consultants will get in touch with you.

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FAQ about Student Accommodation UK

The average cost of student accommodation in the UK can vary considerably, depending on location, type of accommodation, and amenities offered. Generally speaking, university-managed student residences are more affordable, with monthly costs ranging between £400 and £600. Accommodation provided by apartment providers, which offers enhanced amenities and greater independence, may range from £400 to £1,200 per month. However, in major cities like London, costs can significantly escalate.

Finding suitable student accommodation in the UK can be a streamlined process with thorough research and preparation. Begin by consulting your educational institution’s housing office, as they often provide university-approved resources and listings for accommodations. Additionally, websites like Rightmove Students and Zoopla offer an extensive range of rental property listings. It is also beneficial to join local Facebook groups or forums dedicated to providing advice on student-focused housing options. Furthermore, considering uhomes, a platform devoted exclusively to student flats, would be advantageous.

The optimal time to commence the search for student accommodation in the UK is subsequent to receiving your university offer, typically approximately six to seven months prior to the commencement of term, which generally falls around March or April. This timeframe affords you ample opportunity to conduct thorough research and carefully evaluate your options.

If you are interested in UK student life. Please check following blogs!

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