The type of property is an important consideration and you should always explore all the options before making a decision. In your first year, you will most likely be in halls of residence but after that, there are more options available - each with their own costs and benefits.
Traditionally, students tend to live in shared houses or flats in an older style property in an established student area. However the emergence of managed accommodation, or "private student halls" are also worth considering as they have many benefits. Weigh up the pros and cons of the following points before deciding:
Sometimes managed accommodation will appear more expensive but will mainly include bills and will also tend to have a good quality of student accommodation available so look at value for money rather than just the cost.
You could also look at just renting a room in a house if you don't have a group you would like to share with. It's a great way of making new friends without the pressure of having to join in with the whole group social scene. For a more comprehensive breakdown of your different student accommodation options see our article "What types of Student Accommodation are there?"
TThe cost of student accommodation varies enormously across the country so you need to make sure you understand what is reasonable for you and your friends to pay. Most landlords and lettings agents will use a PPPW format (per person per week) format so you can work out your weekly budget easily. This is a good way to identify an agent that may be more suited towards students rather than residential non-student property.
However, although the property will be advertised in a PPPW format, this does not mean that you will be paying your rent on a weekly basis. You will need to check but the most common way of paying rent is in termly instalments after you get your Student Loan.
Before signing a tenancy agreement, check how long you are actually signing for. Many are actually 12 months regardless of how many months you are actually at university for (you will usually be finished lectures by May/June and will not start again until September). However a contract for a whole year may be a good thing if you want to stay in your university city over the summer and work. Some landlords reduce the rent over the summer and allow you to store your belongings there until your come back in September if you are renting the same property for two years.
Private halls will usually give you a shorter option of around 41 weeks so you are only paying for when you are actually there.
If your tenancy agreement is shorter but you do decide to stay over the summer, some landlords do summer lets and most private halls do as well. Places are usually limited as many international students come to the UK over the summer so register your interest as soon as you decide to stay on.
Remember to tie in any extended stay with your contents insurance so you are covered throughout the whole year.
When discussing the length of the contract with your landlord or agent, remember to get buy-in from your entire group as some may want to stay longer than others.