According to data from National Statistics and The Times Higher Education Supplement, students now make up around 4% of the total UK population, making them a significant market. The UK population is also aging, as a result of a decline in fertility rates and the mortality rate (people are living longer and healthier). According to money education charity Credit Action, the vast majority of students are going to end up in debt, whilst according to 2013 Natwest Student Money Matters, graduates will now leave university with debts of almost £18,000…….
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Student housing: finding somewhere to live
Make the most of your time at university or college by knowing what your housing options are – and what your rights and obligations are, whether you’re in halls of residence or private accommodation.
Where you live at university or college is likely to have a major impact on your time there: the friends you make, the places you get to know, and your costs.It can also be the first time you deal with private landlords, or have to tackle issues such as deposits, bill-sharing and housing management and safety. Knowing where to look can help you find the place that’s right for you – and knowing your rights can stop you being ripped off.
Getting to know the area
Although some students live at home, for many it’s a chance to get to know somewhere different.If you don’t know much about the area you’re moving to, try to check it out before you arrive, either at an open day or by asking your student housing officer for information about districts and travelling time to your campus.Take a look at the BBC website, and your university or college’s prospectus.
Visit the Where I live section of the BBC website (opens new window)
Halls and university accommodation
Lots of first year students opt for halls; it’s a good way to meet other students and it’s convenient for day-to-day needs. A number of universities and colleges now manage their accommodation in line with government-approved codes of practice.
Particularly in the second year, many students move into private accommodation, often with groups of friends.If you’re thinking of sharing, bear in mind that most student houses have between three and six bedrooms – with more people, it might be worth splitting the group to find somewhere suitable. Other options include a bedsit or flat of your own, or living as a lodger in your landlord’s house.There’s a huge variety of private accommodation on offer – the places mentioned below give you some idea of where to start looking.
Most universities and colleges have student housing offices to help you find somewhere to live, and discuss your options. Many offices put together lists of landlords and available properties.It’s important to check whether you’re being given details of accredited landlords – that is, landlords who manage their property in line with agreed standards.
If they are accredited, find out who by, and who handles complaints if they are not accredited, contact your local authority for further information on accreditation scheme.
Letting agencies can help locate a suitable property for you to rent. Remember that letting agencies can’t charge you for just conducting a search. However, they can charge a fee if you decide to accept any accommodation they find for you.If you decide to register with a letting agent, make sure they are accredited with the National Approved Letting Scheme or that they belong to a trades body such as the Association of Retail Letting Agents or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
Click this link for letting and estate agents who deal with Student accommodation in your area
Private accommodation: knowing your rights
Once you move into private accommodation, you’ll be asked to sign a tenancy agreement, and will probably have to provide a deposit.
If you are moving into new accommodation, whether a hall of residence or a private house, make sure the property is safe and free from hazards.This includes ensuring that gas or electrical appliances are safe to use, that furniture meets fire safety standards, and that the property is free from major hazards.