Moving to London for University: Halls or House Share?

Moving to London for university can be a scary process. 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, totaling 154,720 submissions — there’s a lot you must consider when making the move.

For this article, we’ve used a survey that questioned 6,000 students around their accommodation to conclude to what the cheaper alternative is — halls or house shares in London. 57% of students in this survey resided in halls of residence, meaning that they are over represented.

Living in student halls

There will be no second thought when it comes to university accommodation for first years, with most opting straight for halls of residence. Moving into accommodation is all part of the student lifestyle and there are many benefits of this, including the easiness of making friends within the university and that most of them are on campus or close by.

55% of undergraduate and 61% of postgraduate students were happy with their chosen accommodation.  However, a sharp increase in dissatisfaction showed that 19% of undergraduates were dissatisfied with their accommodation which was 7% increase on results from 2012.

On the other hand, 15% of post-grad students were not happy — showing a 2% increase since 2012.

When we looked further into the survey, we found that 27% of students found cost to be one of the biggest problems. 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.

University accommodation in London varied in price, with two options available. Using University College London (UCL) 2018/19 accommodation fees as a guideline, a singled catered room would range from £173.88-£180.67. 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.

Living in a house share

Today, more students are considering their overall finances and opting for house shares for their first year. However, with the finer financial details coming into play — saving as many pennies as you can has become vital for prosperous students.

For house shares, the survey found that 55% of undergrads and 60% of postgrads were pleased with their accommodation. 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.

When looking to see why they were dissatisfied with their housing, the landlord seemed to be a common problem — which became the foundation of where other problems arose including damp, mould and size. 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 out of ten students were paying less than £125 a week. 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.

Each student type varied the price, too. As average rents can increase due to London’s high rents— we found that students from the UK paid an average of £134.08. Students from the European Union found themselves paying £140.43 and non-EU students were paying £150.35.

Making the decision

If you’re planning on moving to London to study, you must conduct even further research and this article should be looked at as a brief insight rather than a decision-steering piece. You also need to consider how you’re going to afford everything — if you’re getting out a student loan, will this cover it?

You don’t want to miss out any important necessities — work with the mindset of what your financial situation will be. As there are different options when it comes to university accommodation — which type 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?

Consider your transportation links too — will you be using London bus timetables or the tube? University campuses are usually close to the university accommodation — so make sure if you do go for a flat share, you’re close by. Of course, all of this does come down to personal preference but making sure that you’re happy with what you have it vital.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ucas.com/file/147881/download?token=EDbV_k7w
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_and_higher_education_colleges_in_London
  3. https://www.ucas.com/corporate/data-and-analysis/ucas-undergraduate-releases/2018-cycle-applicant-figures-january-deadline
  4. https://www.spareroom.co.uk/flatshare/flatshare_detail.pl?flatshare_id=9735022&search_id=622712044&city_id=&flatshare_type=offered&search_results=%2Fflatshare%2F%3Fsearch_id%3D622712044%26&
  5. https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/studentaccommodationsurvey15.pdf
  6. https://www.mystudenthalls.com/?s=London
  7. https://www.savethestudent.org/accommodation/national-student-accommodation-survey-2017.html#about

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