Living in London: A guide to student accommodation

You’ve finished sixth form or college and now you’re heading to university for the time of your life. Whether you’re planning to study a subject allied to medicine, which was most popular amongst women with 226,420 applicants, or looking for a business and administration degree which most men were drawn to, totalling 154,720 submissions — there’s a lot you must consider when making the move.

Using the largest survey of its kind that questioned 6,000 students regarding their accommodation, we bring you the following analysis of what’s the best alternative — halls or house shares? However, it must be made clear that students that lived in halls are overrepresented (57%).

Looking at halls

Most first-year students believe that halls of residence are the only option on their list. Moving into student accommodation is all part of the student lifestyle and there are many benefits of this, including the ease of making friends within the university and that many halls are on campus or close by.

But, are they glad about their initial decision? The survey suggests that 55% of undergraduates and 61% of postgraduates were. However, a sharp increase in dissatisfaction showed that 19% of undergraduates were dissatisfied with their accommodation which was 7% increase on results from 2012.

The survey suggested that 15% of postgrads weren’t fond of their halls. One of the biggest factors to this was the cost; according to 27% of people. Common complaints surrounding university halls were related to plumbing, water and heating problems at 25% but it must be made clear that these problems should be fixed by the accommodation itself.

There are two types of accommodation you can go for in London.  Using University College London (UCL) 2018/19 accommodation fees as a guideline, a singled catered room would range from £173.88-£180.67 per week. If you wanted to go self-catered, this would be priced around £165.69-£242.62 depending which of course is dependent on building type and location.

Looking at house shares

House shares are becoming a more thought about option for students around the UK. However, with the finer financial details coming into play — saving as many pennies as you can has become vital for prospective students.

The survey found that 55% of undergraduates and 60% of postgraduates were happy.  But were the expectations for students upheld when they moved into their flat? Well, looking at results from 2012-2014, dissatisfaction increased by 4% for undergraduates and 5% for postgraduates.

Two main issues that were a common trend in the survey were problems with landlords and the condition of the property. London’s landlords are notorious for charging extortionate rates for small living spaces, which is probably why ‘people’ came up as a common student complaint, small spaces mean that you might be too close to comfort with people — all of the time.

Four in ten students pay less than £125 each week according to the survey (which also excludes bills). The majority of students from this survey, accounting for 31% said that they paid £126-£150 each week. This was soon followed by 26% that said that they paid £100-£125 each week.

If you’re from a fellow EU nation, you might find yourself paying a higher £140.43 but this is still less than those who are from outside of the EU who pay £150.35.

The end result

Although Oxford to London coach providers, Oxford Tube has provided you with these eye-opening statistics, it’s important to understand the financial position you will be in. You also need to consider how you’re going to afford everything — if you’re getting out a student loan, will this cover it?

It’s important for you to make the best decision that can support your lifestyle. You don’t want to miss out any important necessities — work with the mindset of what your financial situation will be.

Remember to carry out in-depth research into what accommodation will be better suited to you. Alternatively, if you go for a flat share — are you prepared to pay for bills that may not be included in your weekly rent, and put up with the landlords?

University campuses are usually close to the university accommodation — so make sure if you do go for a flat share, you’re close by — check out the London bus times to be extra vigilant. Of course, all of this does come down to personal preference but making sure that you’re happy with what you have is vital.