When and Where to Start Looking for Student Accommodation
We think you’ll agree: Knowing when to start looking and where to look for student accommodation can be hard, especially with so many things to consider — accreditation, landlords, agencies, flatmates, deposits, to name but a few.
Not to mention the fact that you are competing with thousands of other eligible students in your area for that perfect spot. 🏠
It doesn’t have to be that hard. By knowing where and when the best properties will be available, you can prioritise the most important part of any new accommodation — planning how you are going to decorate it!
And here we have something that should help: a guide to help you know exactly when to start looking and where the best places to go house-hunting really are.
When to start looking for student accommodation
You might be wondering:
Should I be looking for my student accommodation right now? That answer can actually depend quite heavily on where you are in the UK. The short answer is: YES — even if you are not actually looking to move for a number of months, it can be extremely helpful to get an idea of what’s out there, what sort of prices you can expect and the best area for you.
Here are a few main times of the year that do stand out though:
Private Halls can sometimes offer rooms as early as January. So if this is something you are interested in, it can pay off to start looking this early in the year.
Cities other than London generally will start advertising student accommodation much earlier in the year, so it could pay off to start scouting what is available and getting a much clearer idea of what your perfect room/flat/house looks like. It may feel like a long time until the actual move date, but it can actually make the whole process a whole lot smoother…
Or, perhaps you are actually looking to make a move after your first semester is up. This would be a good time to look for any potential spare rooms or flat shares for February, if you fancy a change of scenery.
It is important to note that accommodation in London is often not advertised more than a couple of months before the move in date. But this doesn’t mean you should leave it last minute. As with most things, the more information you are armed with, the more likely you will find the right place at the right price.
Housing Fairs. These are actually quite common throughout the year so we recommend researching when and where your university’s fair is held. Spring/Summer is often the busiest for housing fairs, but just be aware your local one may be earlier in the year. Even if you don’t find exactly what you want at the fair itself, they are a great way of getting questions answered and getting some insightful information on the local area.
This really is a busy time for student accommodation, especially in the larger cities and towns. This is the time when the greatest number of privately rented places are being advertised.
Sounds like the perfect time to start looking, right?
Well, it’s a bit of a double edged sword actually — although there are often many more properties on the market, there are also many more people looking to fill those properties. Consequently, the closer it is to the beginning of the academic year, the faster properties will be snapped up.
That being said, if you do wait until this time, just make sure you have a clear idea of the area you want to live in, what sort of properties you see yourself in and also the maximum rent you would be willing to pay. Having a good idea of all of these factors will mean you are able to decide on a property quickly — and hopefully quicker than your rival house-hunters 😉.
The academic year starts!
Hopefully you have found your perfect home for the year already. But don’t worry if not, there will still be spare rooms available — although you will certainly be more limited for choice — so we would definitely not recommend leaving it as late as this to start looking.
It really isn’t ideal to still be house hunting while the semester has already started — extra stress nobody needs.
So, as promised, here are some of our top recommendations on where to look for your next student accommodation. If you have tips on where to look for a place to live specific to your local area — we would love to hear about them in the comments below!
University Managed Accommodation
Your university may offer student accommodation in halls or other university owned properties in the nearby area — especially in your first year. Best to visit your university website directly to find out more about these.
They can be convenient and close to your campus, but spaces can be limited, and you don’t have the flexibility you could have by finding your own place. Often these are limited to 1st year students. But it is worth taking a look though as they can give you some idea of the rent you can expect to pay.
Trusted Letting Agent
Letting agents are of course a logical place to turn when looking for accommodation. Before you do go ahead with a letting agency you may want to check if they belong to an accreditation scheme of some kind.
If they have been accredited, it can mean they have better training and knowledge of the local market. Some popular schemes are The National Approved Letting Scheme and ARLA Propertymark. So why not take a minute to check these out before going with a local letting agent.
Also, be sure you know exactly what they are talking about when discussing the contracts, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Of course they are looking to let properties, but they should be more than happy to help you feel comfortable and informed when it comes to a potential property. Don’t be pressured into signing a contract that you are not sure about.
Campusboard Flatshare Community
We may be a little bit biased, but here at campusboard.co.uk we do genuinely feel we have loads on offer for any student looking for accommodation. Whether you are looking for your own flat or a spare room in a shared house, we have made it easy for you to find the perfect place.
The site is tailored to you and we verify every student profile, work with trusted landlords and agencies, as well as offering a platform that is constantly improving to make the process of booking accommodation as easy and efficient as possible for you — and best of all there is no cost for you to use the site 🙂.
Our aim is to make finding your next accommodation as simple and hassle-free as possible, so why not sign up for free today and have a look at our flatshare community.
Word of Mouth
You may know someone who is looking to move out of their current place, or perhaps an acquaintance who has very good things to say about a particular letting agency or landlord. It is always worth asking around when looking for a place, to see if anyone you know can offer some insight or maybe even knows of a room that is going to be available soon.
Whatever route you take we definitely recommend you take a quick read over our guide on how to avoid student housing rental scams.