Top reasons you should choose a flatshare over living on-campus
If you’re set on studying abroad in the UK, then the high living costs and specifically the very high rental costs are probably the factors that you gave most thought to (other than which university to study at of course).
If you want to live outside of campus but still have an opportunity to hang out with fellow students, then there are many available rooms for students in London. For decades now, people from the different parts of the United Kingdom flocked to the capital in pursuit of a college or university degree. This, along with a rapid increase in the number of expatriates moving to London made the demand for flats and rooms to rent sharply increase, which in turn caused landlords to respond by raising the rental prices or by letting their properties as shared accommodation solutions. So, If you want to find a room to rent in a good location and for a good price before the market becomes saturated, it’s best to start your search for your student accommodation a couple of months before the academic semester starts, cause afterwards, not only the rental prices become less negotiable, but the better flats and rooms will be rented extremely quickly. But with a bit of luck and with starting your search with sufficient time before the season’s peak, you should be able to find a spare room to rent in a cool flatshare with like-minded flatmates not far from your university - or at least one which is easily accessible to it via public transportation.
Let’s see some of the main benefits of choosing to live in a flatshare over living in on-campus student halls. (Please notice that this list is mainly aimed to assist local and international students studying in London).
Number 1 - Value for money:
Flatsharing in London is one of the most economical ways of maintaining a comfortable and practical accommodation in a sought after, safe, and central location. In fact, it is also a very popular way to ease into the student life experience.
One of the primary reasons that students opt to share a house is the economy of the set-up. If you choose to rent a room in London in a shared property, then in addition to the lower fixed rent you’ll need to pay, you’ll also be able to substantially cut on the utility bills, leaving you more free money to be used in more productive ways, like in the neighborhood’s pub. A rent deposit will be required for sure, and possibly also a small agency fee, but every flatmate pays his or her own share of the deposit, so it makes the initial required amount smaller.
Number 2 - Expanding your cultural horizons:
Although sharing a flat with other students from your university has its benefits, like sharing the same exam schedule or attending joint college events, it is more likely that the flatmates will be from a mixture of lifestyles, genders, occupations, and nationalities, which creates a flatshare with a multicultural enriching environment, presenting you with an opportunity to socialize with people from all walks of life.
Renting a room in a diverse shared flat in London presents exciting ways for building a network of friends with various interests which is not always available if you choose to live in your university’s student halls, which might be more limited with the diversity of it’s tenants.
For starters, If you decide to live in a student hall, you will share the space with the same people you encounter in class and in campus, whereas if you live outside the college, you get a chance to interact with working individuals and people studying in other universities or working in venues you’re not familiar with. If you decided to study in London, then you’re probably looking to experience the immense diversity of the "student lifestyle" in London, and in that case – the best way to do that is to live with people who are not engaged in the same activities as you. You can easily and safely view profiles of flatmates and find your matching on sites such as Easyroom mate and RoomMatesUK, making it quite easy for you to get to know your future flatmates in advance by checking-out their profiles and chatting with them online before moving in.
Number 3 - Free city guides:
In most times, when you move into a flatshare in London (rather than into a more private room in the student halls), you will meet flat mates that have been living in London for a quite while, whom can guide you through, give you valuable tips from their experiences, and teach you much about how to get around the city.
Number 4 - Easy move in:
In London, private landlords maintain rental flats with living spaces that are fully furnished and in most cases “student oriented” with study desks, storage solutions and electrical appliances, so you don’t need to buy anything and just move in with your luggage.
Private landlords who run flatshares for students as a business, are usually also quite professional and take care that your needs are met (making repairs in the flat, etc.), and if you find a room online, in most cases you won’t even have to work with a real estate agent, but rather transact directly with the landlord, thus avoiding additional fees.
Number 5 - Dynamic locations:
If you decided to find a room in London which is not located in the university’s student hall, then you can really expand your options for choosing where to live in London. For sure, it is pragmatic to live in an area that is near the university, however - instead of pinpointing a single location on the map, just draw a circle with a radius of a couple of blocks away from the campus and look for options within the circle you’ve marked. Your new best matching flatshare may be waiting for you in a location you were not initially planning to explore, and this opportunity might not have been available for you had you stayed in the student halls.
In any case, remember that since London has a very efficient public transportation system, it won’t really be much of a disadvantage if you live a bit farther away from the university, so with a bit of planning and foresight on your part you won’t have to miss an important morning lecture. Plus – students get special discounted prices on their travel cards in Lonodn.
So, as you can see - choosing to live in a flatshare over moving in to on-campus student halls presents valuable advantages, such as lowering the rent, reducing the utilities, making new friends you other-ways wouldn't have met, enjoy from a well furnished apartment and a more wide area of London to find accommodation in.
Now, before you find your flatshare and move in to your new room, take into considiration these quick tips:
How to keep living costs even lower
As we know, renting a room in a flatshare in London is a popular living arrangement. Pretty soon you will have a new friend to add to the roster, and on the financial aspect, you'll have at least one more person to share the rental payment and utilities with. But - there's a way you can lower your living costs even more. Make sure that the flatmates are students, because if the property is rented by students, then it means you don’t need to pay any council tax, which is always a good think for students on a tight budget.
Keeping friction to a minimum:
It is not enough that you know and like your flatmates. If you’re living with others, it is imperative that you all agree on a set of house rules in order to instill order in the flatshare and prevent arguments and quarrels. Since all flatmates are responsible for the rent and bills, then all flatmates should have the same privileges and share the same responsibilities. Though it is impossible to keep everybody happy all the time, with the right kind of attitude, a few compromises, and a balanced and clear set of house share rules, you will all have a more harmonious living experience.
People have different approaches to establishing a semblance of order in a flat share arrangement. There is no single formula for success, so it is up to your group to determine what works best. When you apply yourselves to this task, you must realize the gravity and importance of it. However, you can still have fun during the process. Make the most of the time you have set on establishing house rules in getting to know your flatmates on a deeper level. You will discover much about them, and learn about the aspects of their personality and lifestyle that complements yours.
The most important guideline to remember is that rules ought to be established early on, and anyone who joins the flat-share later must be given comprehensive orientation. Everyone must agree, and all ambiguities ought to be ironed out, as the key for being good flatmtes is to have everyone know and understand their obligations clearly, and once that is accomplished, you will find not only new flatmtes, but you will also make a group of new friends.