Guide to City-Based Student Accommodation

Whether you’re an existing student or you’re looking forward to starting university next year, there’s always a lot to think about – modules to choose, loans to arrange, books to buy and people to meet! But you shouldn’t overlook your choice of city centre flats, or leave it until the last minute – places start filling up incredibly quickly, and if you don’t want to be left with a lack of options it’s always a good idea to plan ahead.

Where you live in the city of your choice can have a big impact on your social life, your finances and even your studies. It’s vital to spend time thinking about what you will be able to afford, how close you will be to your lectures and how you’ll be getting around – less of an issue if you have a car, but many students don’t or can’t afford to run one. This makes choosing city centre apartments a good idea: in most cities, you’ll be within walking distance of the university, as well as the major bus routes, taxi companies and shops – not to mention the nightlife.

In Leeds, for example, students in the city centre have access to some of the best bars and clubs in the city, and the two main unis are just a ten to 15-minute walk away. Not only is this a good start for your social life, but it’s a boon if you’re thinking about getting a summer or evening job in one of the many nightspots. There’s a thriving student community that can offer support and point you in the right direction regarding the best landlords and areas to live in.

When the time comes to view your student property, take your time and don’t let yourself be pressured into signing up for a place you’re not sure about – it’s a big commitment!

Make sure you view at least three or four different places and preferably more before you decide, and don’t be afraid to ask the landlord everything you want to know about the place.

While “location, location, location” is certainly important, you should also enquire about the features of the property: are there security measures to protect your valuables such as door grates and window locks? Are washing machines, tumble dryers and so on included in the tenancy or will you have to rent one from a third party? You should also check the contract: for instance, are there any break clauses that allow you to end the tenancy earlier? A month’s rent is the usual amount requested for a deposit, but if it’s going to be more you might need to know ahead of time.

Also consider how many people you’ll be sharing with: some people have a blast living in a house with six people or more, while for others busy houses can be a distraction. Unless you’re moving in with people you know already, it’s likely you’ll be house-sharing with strangers to begin with – but give it time and they can become mates for life!

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