Moving from student halls to a private rented property when you come to the end of your first year at uni can be as big a jump as leaving your family home to go into halls.
This means it pays to be prepared to make this transition.
From budgeting for extra bills to selecting suitable accommodation, keep reading for valuable pointers to help you make the switch.
Prepare for the extra bills
One thing you need to keep at the forefront of your mind is the extra bills you'll need to pay. Although some private student lets do include these additional costs within the rental fee, many don't. This means you may have to leave room in your budget to pay for gas, electricity, water and internet. So, when you're searching for a property, make sure you check exactly what's included in the rent and factor any bills in on top of your rent when you're deciding what you can afford.
You'll probably also need to provide a deposit before you move in of five weeks' rent (six weeks if your rent is over £50,000 a year,) and you may be asked to pay a holding deposit of up to one week's rent whilst your application is being processed. However, if your application is successful, you should get this back, or your landlord may deduct this amount from your first month's rent.
If you're sharing your rental home with others, it's crucial to establish who's responsible for paying which bills at the outset - and that everyone knows how and when to pay these bills.
How to budget
Let's face it; many students have to survive on a shoestring financially. The key to staying afloat is to manage your budget effectively. This means adding up your income from:
- Student loans, grants, scholarships, sponsorships or bursaries
- Paid work
- Savings you’ve allocated to your time at uni
- Money provided by your family
And taking off essential outgoings, such as:
- Rent for your house or flat
- Household bills, such as internet, gas and electricity
- Tuition fees
- Contents insurance
- Phone bill
- Travel costs
You may have had bills such as gas and electricity included in your rent in student halls. When you move out of university accommodation, your tenancy agreement should detail whether you or your landlord are responsible for paying for the gas or electricity.
Choose your accommodation carefully
When the clock's ticking and you need to choose accommodation for the next academic year, it's easy to panic and rush your decision. This can be a big mistake, though. Moving into a house or flat that's not the right fit for you can seriously harm your studies, so it's important to make a considered choice.
Here are some pointers to bear in mind:
If you're sharing accommodation, choose flatmates who you get on with and who share your priorities. For example, if tidiness is important to you, avoid people who don't mind messiness. Look for flatmates who share your work ethic too.
Moving to a new home can be incredibly exciting, but moving your stuff from A to B can be a pain even if you're only moving a relatively short distance or don't have too many things. It's always worth considering your removals options - especially if you need to use public transport or rely on a friend or family to help. AnyVan covers the whole of the UK and can offer instant quotes from a sofa to an entire house move. With no hidden fees and handy functions like the ability to track your driver, using professional removals can help take the stress out of moving.
- Look for a place that's within easy reach of campus. You don't want to spend half your days walking around town getting to and from lectures.
- Choose a house or flat that has a good broadband connection. Slow or unreliable internet can massively disrupt your learning.
- Make sure the property's legal. Most shared student properties require a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence, so check this out before signing a tenancy agreement. Also, make sure your landlord or letting agent provides a gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate and deposit protection certificate before you agree to move in. Check that the property complies with fire safety regulations too.
- Keep a lookout for a list of approved, student-friendly landlords and letting agents your university provides. This is usually a good way to find suitable accommodation.
- Start searching for accommodation early on to give yourself as much time as possible to find the right place.
Moving from halls to private rented accommodation - in brief:
- Make sure you budget for the additional bills, including electricity, gas and internet
- Don’t rush the process of finding the right accommodation and flatmates
- Book a removal van in advance - students often all move within a couple of days and removal services get booked up quickly
- Check the inventory and take meter readings the day you move in.