When you’re a student, looking for somewhere to live isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. You’re on a tight budget, so you need a place that fits your needs but isn’t too expensive.
University halls may seem like a good option, but they can be much more expensive than renting a room in private rented student accommodation. Plus you get the added benefit of more freedom and independence when renting privately.
Let’s check what both university halls and private rented accommodation offer, and how they differ.
Once you enter a university hall, you’ll join a community of peers. This can be a great way to meet people when moving to a new town alone, but be aware that you have little control over who you live with!
+ Meeting new people – within a week you’ll get to know a lot of people and bound to make some new friends.
+ Cleaners – if you hate cleaning up, halls are great, as there are staff who will help you with this.
+ An RA (Residential Advisor/Assistant) is always around, and when you’re new, a Residential Advisor can be a huge plus. This is an older student who lives close by, and who is always there to lend a helping hand if you have a problem.
+ Security – Halls are normally monitored 24 hrs a day.
– Lack of space – even the best hall accommodation might feel overcrowded, and you will definitely crave space for all your belongings.
– Noise – as much as you like being around your peers, the sheer fact that they’re never completely silent, and there are literally hundreds of them all around you at all times, can drive you insane.
– You don’t choose who you live with – you could end up with someone completely obnoxious as a roomy.
– No real privacy – hall wardens can enter and check your room at almost any time, and that doesn’t really feel like freedom, does it?
– Rules – university halls have strict rules that you have to follow, and if you break them, you may have to pay a fine.
– Theft – whatever you leave in the public spaces is at risk of being used by someone else, or worse, stolen.
– Distance – university halls are sometimes further away from the campus than you would like. Plymouth gets a lot of rain in the winter, so think about how far you would actually like to walk to and from your accommodation when it’s pouring down and blowing a gale.
– Expense – Halls are usually much more expensive than private rented accommodation.
If you decide to step into the private rented sector, or you’re forced to do so because your university can’t accommodate all students, you’ll see that it’s very different from university halls.
+ Cost – Generally a room in private accommodation will be cheaper than a comparable one in halls.
+ Freedom – You only answer to yourself, and the only rules are those all tenants everywhere have to abide by.
+ Privacy – You can live all alone, or with a roommate that you choose. No one will be knocking on your door demanding a room inspection.
+ Space – even the smallest apartment will offer more space than any hall room. You can bring everything you need, leave it wherever you want, and not worry about it being borrowed, broken or stolen.
+ No distractions – No incessant noise, no constant parties down the hall, no annoying people coming and going at all times of the day and night.
– Dealing with bills – you will have to pay close attention to your budget for the first few months if you don’t have a landlord / agency that offers all inclusive rents. That will last until you get accustomed to everything being your responsibility. Of course if you stay with us all your utility bills are included, so this becomes one less thing to worry about.
The verdict is in
When we take everything into consideration, private accommodation definitely takes the cake. With more space, privacy, and freedom you can start your student life on a good note.