The basics
Study abroad : Student Accommodation

Finding a room to rent abroad

We tell you everything you need to know about renting a room abroad

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Photo: IMCBerea College

Choosing to live in private rented accommodation comes with both pros and cons. On the upside, it can be cheaper, offer more independence and let you choose with whom you live. However, you will also have the added hassle of paying additional bills and have to deal directly with a landlord.

 

Wherever you’re studying, if you decide living off-campus is for you, there are a few essentials to bear in mind.

 

Finding a home

Many universities offer some sort of help with finding students accommodation off-campus. Some have websites where they advertise available flats in the local areas, some hold accommodation fairs and some just give a few recommended websites to search.

 

There may be a student services office at your university that helps international students get settled in their new homes. This is the best place to start to ask for general advice about choosing a property.

 

If your university doesn’t offer anything to help, websites such as Findaproperty and Rightmove are good places to start, which both provide searches for students in the UK. 

 

If you’re studying in the US, Trulia, Uloop and Zillow can be helpful websites.

 

Off-campus housing is a popular option in many countries, so it’s advisable to start your search early.

 

Visiting properties

You may want to view several properties before deciding which one suits you best. As you will be sharing with friends, it’s best that you all arrange to see each property together to ensure that you are all happy with it.

 

You will want to consider:

  • Location – which neighbourhoods are safe and convenient to campus?
  • What is the public transportation system like?
  • What is a general price range for an apartment and what should you expect to pay for utilities?

 

When you find a property to view, take a checklist with you when you go. As well as the above, make sure to take into account rent, property condition, contract, safety, the landlord and the cleanliness of the property.

 

A camera is particularly useful when you are seeing several properties in one go and will help you remember which ones you liked and didn't like.

 

You might also want to take a notebook and pen to write down answers to any questions you have asked the letting agent, as well as any other notes that will be useful later on.

Moving in

Students living in a shared house are responsible for paying bills. Make sure you sort out between you how you are going to pay. Will you split the bills evenly between you all, or will you each pay a separate bill?

 

If applicable, take readings of all meters before and after you move into the flat. If you decide to stick with the current electricity, gas and water providers, make sure you contact them to let them know that you are the new tenants.

 

Generally speaking, utilities (gas, electric, water, cable/TV licence, internet, phone) are almost always extra.

 

You will often have to pay a deposit, which will be returned to you at the end of the lease providing you don’t break the lease or cause undue damage to the property.

 

Choosing to live in private rented accommodation comes with both pros and cons. On the upside, it can be cheaper, offer more independence and let you choose with whom you live. However, you will also have the added hassle of paying additional bills and have to deal directly with a landlord.

 

Wherever you’re studying, if you decide living off-campus is for you, there are a few essentials to bear in mind.

 

Finding a home

Many universities offer some sort of help with finding students accommodation off-campus. Some have websites where they advertise available flats in the local areas, some hold accommodation fairs and some just give a few recommended websites to search.

 

There may be a student services office at your university that helps international students get settled in their new homes. This is the best place to start to ask for general advice about choosing a property.

 

If your university doesn’t offer anything to help, websites such as Findaproperty and Rightmove are good places to start, which both provide searches for students in the UK. Alternatively, websites like Studentroom show spare rooms available in flats that are occupied by other students.

 

If you’re studying in the US, Trulia, Uloop and Zillow can be helpful websites.

 

Off-campus housing is a popular option in many countries, so it’s advisable to start your search early.

 

Visiting properties

You may want to view several properties before deciding which one suits you best. As you will be sharing with friends, it’s best that you all arrange to see each property together to ensure that you are all happy with it.

 

You will want to consider:

  • Location – which neighbourhoods are safe and convenient to campus?
  • What is the public transportation system like?
  • What is a general price range for an apartment and what should you expect to pay for utilities?

 

When you find a property to view, take a checklist with you when you go. As well as the above, make sure to take into account rent, property condition, contract, safety, the landlord and the cleanliness of the property.

 

A camera is particularly useful when you are seeing several properties in one go and will help you remember which ones you liked and didn't like.

 

You might also want to take a notebook and pen to write down answers to any questions you have asked the letting agent, as well as any other notes that will be useful later on.

Moving in

Students living in a shared house are responsible for paying bills. Make sure you sort out between you how you are going to pay. Will you split the bills evenly between you all, or will you each pay a separate bill?

 

If applicable, take readings of all meters before and after you move into the flat. If you decide to stick with the current electricity, gas and water providers, make sure you contact them to let them know that you are the new tenants.

 

Generally speaking, utilities (gas, electric, water, cable/TV licence, internet, phone) are almost always extra.

 

You will often have to pay a deposit, which will be returned to you at the end of the lease providing you don’t break the lease or cause undue damage to the property.


Useful links:

Student accommodation in the UK
Student accomodation in the USA
Student accommodation in Australia

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About Author

Stephen Palmer graduated from the University of Sunderland with a degree in Film and Media. Since then he has worked as a copywriter, proofreader and web editor. In his spare time he enjoys keeping fit, reading, playing video games and improving his Norwegian.