Hello, welcome to the United Kingdom. If you are reading this, I believe you have made the right decision by choosing this university to do your studies. The first thing you need to take care is to sort out your accommodation even before you start from your home country. This will help you a lot in avoiding the hassle.
About this Story
This article is a first complete multi-part article that gets updated often and updates are notified in comments as well. So, if you are copying this article, please do add a link back so that once the article becomes outdated, I’ll make sure the article is updated with the latest of information possible and I will also be actively monitoring comments for questions and request to information.
This is the fourth part of the multi-part article:
- Welcome to Leicester - A dawn of an Awesome Journey.
- Thinking of pursuing Masters in the United Kingdom? Think Leicester.
- Things to bring before you start your journey.
- University Life when you are at Leicester.
- Accommodation & Stay in Leicester.
- Things to do at University of Leicester.
- Great places not to miss in University of Leicester.
- Benefits of studying at University of Leicester.
- Career Development when you are a student.
- Working in Social Enterprise - My Experience in University of Leicester.
- Serendipity - ParticiPoll, my first working experience during my study.
- Useful places to visit in Leicester and nearby cities.
- Interesting conversations with experts.
- Frequently asked questions before joining University of Leicester
This article deals with the different types of accommodations that are available in the United Kingdom and guide you on taking the best one that suits you. Make sure you make the right decision, not just by following this guide, but also ask questions, make friends and you are good to go. It would always be better to come along with someone from your home country, so that you both (at least two people) can support each other, in times of distress.
Types of Accommodation
The major three types of accommodation you would see is:
- University Accommodation
- Private Studio Accommodation
- Private Shared Accommodation
There are a lot of pros and cons regarding each type of accommodation. It should be in your best judgement, choose the right property. Make sure you not only follow this guide, but also discuss with your peers and friends over here and in your home country.
The university accommodation is undoubtedly the safest, cleanest of all. With all those features, you get a big shot bill at the end as well. Generally, a university accommodation costs three to four times more than a private accommodation. The university accommodation is typically closer to the university than the private accommodation. The only difference you would find is another extra five minutes of walking.
- Completely Safe
- Personal Space & Privacy
- Very Clean and Hygiene
- Closest to the University
- Dedicated House Keeping Services
- Very Costly
- Shared Kitchen
- Strict rules at times
Private Studio Accommodation
If you fancy staying alone just with yourself, I would suggest you go for this. The only downfall with this is the loneliness you get since there’s no one staying with you. This would be a perfect middleman between the University and Private Accommodation. Now look at the pros and cons.
- Safer than Shared Accommodation
- Personal Space & Privacy
- Cheaper than University Accommodation
- Cleaner than Shared Accommodation
- Slightly costlier than Shared Accommodation
- Properties might not be closer to the University
- Hassle to get things repaired at the property
Private Shared Accommodation
If you are happy with staying with a few people of your choice and you don’t want to live alone, plus better place for cheaper rents, you can go ahead with this option. This is the cheapest route and you may need to investigate thoroughly before moving in.
- Cheapest price compared
- You aren’t alone
- Not many restrictions
- Cannot expect clean properties all time
- Not much privacy when sharing rooms
- Shared kitchen and restrooms & bathrooms
- Hassle to get things repaired at the property
- Properties might not be closest to the University
As a student, you are entitled to a full discount of council tax. The Discounts for full-time students clause says Households where everyone’s a full-time student don’t have to pay Council Tax. If you do get a bill, you can apply for an exemption.
To count as a full-time student, your course must:
- last at least 1 year
- involve at least 21 hours study per week
If you study for a qualification up to A level and you’re under 20, your course must:
- last at least 3 months
- involve at least 12 hours study per week
You’ll get a Council Tax bill if there’s someone in your household who’s not a full-time student, but your household might still qualify for a discount.
Things to check at your New Accommodation
There are certain things you need to be aware or you need to check when you are moving into a new property. Also, you should be aware of all your responsibilities related to the property as well. There are few steps that you can use:
Step one - setting out your requirements
Before you start your search, have a think about the things you need to consider in looking for a property. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- What is your budget? Don’t forget to think of bills like utilities and council tax, and not just rent.
- How many bedrooms will you need?
- Would you like a property with a garden?
- Do you need any parking?
- Do you need to be near any transport links, schools or amenities?
- Do you have pets and therefore will need to look for a property where the landlord accepts pets?
- Setting out exactly what you are after will help your narrow down a search so you only look at properties that suit your requirements.
Setting out exactly what you are after will help your narrow down a search so you only look at properties that suit your requirements.
Step two - searching for properties to rent
There are hundreds of online services that provide a simple and brilliant facility for searching for properties to rent in Leicester. You can:
- Search for properties within a set radius of things you need to be near such as schools, transport links and amenities;
- Search by property type, budget and number of bedrooms;
- Search by postcode, town or road name.
Your search results can then be prioritised to only include properties with the features you want such as conservatories, en-suites, period property as well as selecting only furnished or unfurnished available. You can also enter your own keywords to find the properties that match exactly what you need.
Make sure to register with lettings agents in the area and outline your list of requirements with them so that they can contact you as soon as a property that may suit you becomes available.
Step three - Viewings
In the Leicester property market, we have noticed the properties that become available to rent can move pretty quickly. So, once you have found a property that meets your requirements, we advise that you arrange to view it as soon as possible. Here are some pointers to help:
- When making your way to the viewing and arriving, look around the outside of the property - get a feel for that road and area at that time of day;
- Has the exterior of the property been well maintained?
- Inside the property, again look closely at the maintenance of it;
- Check how is the property heated and how well insulated does it look as this will affect your heating bills;
- If you are looking at a furnished property, it is useful to see a checklist of what furniture will be in the property when you move in;
- Take a look at the locks for doors and windows for security of the property;
- For flats or for properties where there is sharing of communal areas or gardens, it is important to ask how often the communal areas are cleaned and the grounds maintained;
- Go to see the property at different times of day to see what the surrounding area is like - does it get very busy at certain times of day? Will this be a problem?
If you decide you would like to proceed with a property, there are a few things that are useful to have ready in advance:
- Funds for a deposit (usually it would be a month’s rent), reference checks and first month’s rent.
- Copies of references from your employer and previous landlords. You will also need to have your bank details, identification and your full address for the last three years ready as the lettings agent will need this for reference checks.
- A guarantor.
Step 4 - What to discuss with the Lettings Agent before agreeing to rent the property
Some of these may seem quite obvious, but it can be easy to forget the little things when dealing with properties!
- The deposit - check with the agent how much the deposit is, when it will need to be paid by and if one month’s rent in advance is required.
- Bills - what is included in the rent? Maintenance charges? Ground keeping charges? Cleaning of communal areas?
- When is the rent reviewed and how will you be notified of any changes?
- Do you need a guarantor and if so, who do they accept as a guarantor?
- Will the tenancy be fixed term if so, how long will this be? What happens when the fixed term has ended?
- Do you need contents insurance and when should this start from?
Step five - the tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement is very detailed and lists your responsibilities as a tenant. As a bare minimum, it should contain:
- Full names of the landlord(s) and tenant(s);
- Full address of the property;
- Deposit amount and how it is protected;
- How much the rent is and how it should be paid;
- Information on how and when the rent will be reviewed;
- Address of the landlord(s) or agent who will be looking after the property;
- Start and end date of the tenancy.
Other items that may be within the tenancy agreement:
- The bills the tenant is responsible for;
- How and when the deposit may be fully or partly withheld;
- If the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done;
- Who is responsible for repairs;
- Whether pets are permitted and the rules around this;
- Whether smoking is permitted;
- Whether the property can be let to anyone else (sublet) or if lodgers are allowed.
Before signing the tenancy agreement, you should:
- Make sure you have visited the property enough times that you are sure you want to proceed;
- Make sure your deposit is protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme;
- Ensure you have established your budget so that you are satisfied you can afford the rent, any bills and still have enough funds for food and other living costs;
- Check you understand all instructions for electrical items, heating etc.;
- Make sure you see an up to date, valid gas safety certificate;
- Ensure inventory is all agreed - that you have all items within the property as set out. It is also worthwhile checking the state of these items and photographing anything already showing signs of damage or wear. It can be helpful for both yourself and the landlord/agency have copies of these.
Step six - Moving
Moving can be pretty stressful! However, we have some tips to help make it as simple as possible:
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get packed! You could start collecting boxes in advance and packaging material so you have plenty for when you are ready;
- Packing away items you do not use regularly in advance will give you less to do in the last few days;
- Pick a day (or range of days) best suited to you;
- Put a standard letter or email together so that you can notify utility companies, bank, doctors, places of work, DVLA etc. that you are moving;
- Make sure you have sorted utility companies for your new property and ensure you take meter readings on your moving in day;
- Don’t forget to notify utility companies regarding the property you are moving out of and supply them with final meter readings.
- Try to set up a postal re-direct as soon as possible;
- Notify the company you have purchased contents insurance with that you are now moving in and the date you need cover to start.
Forget all the hassle, just call me. I’ll help you sort out your accommodation! ;)