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Choosing Student Accommodation as an International Student
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Choosing Student Accommodation as an International Student

Written by Sam | April 28, 2020

If you are based in another country and want to come to the UK to study, there are a few things to consider, firstly you will need to research your university, we have some tips on that here, sort your visa and you can only do this by securing accommodation. However, which accommodation is right for you?

There is a lot of accommodation out there for you to consider, firstly you need to understand the different types of accommodation the different types are:

  • Studio
  • Twodio
  • Flat/ Apartment
  • House or HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupation)

These are also split in to different sectors, these are:

  • University Owned
  • Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) or Student Accommodation
  • Letting Agents
  • Landlords

The houses are usually split in to these categories

University Owned / Student Accommodation (PBSA)

  • Studio
  • Twodios or Two Bed Apartments
  • Apartments – 3,4,5 and up to around 8 on average beds.

Letting agents and landlords

  • Houses (HMOs)
  • Small blocks of apartments and usually 1 beds.

Most of the places will have websites, floorplans, pictures, and much more! If you are from China, most companies have WeChat, including us, and they will have WhatsApp. Make sure you contact and speak to the agent before booking.

Video Call

Before booking a place you should always view it and if possible have a video tour, why? This is because you can then see the accommodation LIVE, as it is, it might be slightly different to the photos and this will help you make a decision, you can also ask the agent any questions and you can also show your family or friends the accommodation to see what they think. You can also check the accommodation for any damage beforehand and have it noted that it wasn’t you!

Look At The Map

You should always look at Google Maps, see where the accommodation is, see what is around and what might be useful for you. Many students will arrive in the UK and not know exactly where the accommodation is, it is likely when you get off the plane that you will head straight to the accommodation. You will need food or to buy some the next day, sort any of you banking out, and lots of other bits. Having a look at maps, you can walk around and see where things are and familiarise yourself with the area

Pro Tip: Find a Society You Are Linked With

There are likely to be other students from your country in the block or at the University, speak to them and ask them what they think of the university and accommodation and if they have any tips. PRO TIP: go on to the students union website and see if they have a society for your country. It’s likely they do or will have something similar!

Don’t Settle For The First One

Always view more than one house, location, and company and then decide, just because you need one for your visa doesn’t mean you should rush into choosing your accommodation. you will be living there for the next year and possibly 3 if you like it, it will also save you the hassle of having to move everything if you find a good place the first time!

Confirmed Booking – Confirmed Visa

You can secure and have a confirmation email within 10 minutes if you know which accommodation you want to live in, the hardest part is doing the research and due diligence. To see what life is really like in the accommodation, go over to their website, Facebook page, and other social media!

Cancellations

If you can’t come to the UK and study for a legitimate reason, you should be able to cancel you’re booking with the accommodation provider. This is because you officially can’t get there to study, however, if you are still coming and change your mind on the provider you want to use, for example, go to a competitor, you will be liable for the rent unless you can sell it to someone else.

Guarantors For Student Accommodation

Most students need to have guarantors when they book student accommodation. A guarantor is someone that will (in essence) pay your rent or cover you if you can’t afford it for whatever reason. As an international student you are checked differently and screened before you come in to the country. Some providers don’t ask for guarantors these are most likely to be:

  • University Owned
  • PBSA / Student Accommodation

However, if you want a house you can usually you will be asked for a guarantor. You can use companies such as Housing Hand. These will act as a guarantor but will have a co-signature that doesn’t need to pass all the tests! Find out more about guarantors here and what you can do if you haven’t got one, read this.

You can approach student letting agents and ask if you can place a bigger deposit or pay in advance 6 months rent if you can afford it. This will show the letting agent and or landlord that you are serious and their potential losses are much less!

Not every letting agent or landlord will accept this creative offer and may still ask that you have a guarantor, and this is absolutely fine!

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