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The basics
THE UK: Student Accommodation

UK student accommodation questions answered

We spoke with Jayne Conboye, Accommodation Office Manager of University of Sheffield, who has extensive experience in managing University accommodation in the UK. She has given us a good insight into the most important questions to ask before renting

accommodation in the UK

We spoke to University of Sheffield's accommodation officer, Jayne Conboye, who answered some of the most common questions that students ask before opting for student housing in the UK.


In general terms, what do the different grades mean on accommodation preference forms?

'There are a number of different types of accommodation available across three locations. Depending on the location, there is a range of different choices on room types, enabling students to choose what is best for their needs. We have self-catering and catered accommodation, allowing students to either cook for themselves or have the option of eating at 14 different catering outlets across campus using a weekly food allowance.


Students can also choose from en-suite rooms or those with a shared bathroom, studio apartments and deluxe rooms. We have houses and apartments specifically designed for couples and families.


When applying for accommodation, students can choose their preferred location and type of room. We always try to meet these preferences, although sometimes this is not always possible due to popularity.


In the case of University of Sheffield, all University accommodation is located in one of these locations, which are The Endcliffe Village, The Ranmoor Village and the City.


Location is very important for students, what are the options and what advice do you have for students that have to live far away from the university campus?


All University accommodation is within walking distance of the main teaching buildings and campus facilities. The Endcliffe Village is about a 20 minute walk and The Ranmoor Village is about 25 minutes walk from the main teaching areas.


Both villages are well supported by public transport with regular bus services available for access to campus, the city centre and surrounding areas. City accommodation is within close walking distance of the University and the city centre.'


How much is a room in university halls?

Rental prices vary depending on room type, catering or self-catering and the length of contract. All rents include utility bills, heating and lighting, internet (mostly WiFi), residential welfare support and room contents insurance along with the added benefits of living in excellent quality accommodation that is safe with security and customer services available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.


What is it generally provided with? What other expenses are included (bills, internet)?

'In all our properties we provide bed, desk, desk chair, wardrobe, car pet and storage in the single study bedrooms. Self-catering kitchens come will full cooker, fridge/freezer, toaster, kettle, microwave, storage, table/breakfast bar and seating plus iron, ironing board, vacuum and cleaning equipment.  In Catered accommodation we provide a communal kitchen that is suitable for the preparation of light snacks and has fridge/freezer, toaster, kettle, microwave, storage, iron, ironing board, vacuum and cleaning equipment.


All bills, including internet, are included in the rental price. All students will need to bring is bedding, linen, towels, cooking equipment and utensils and personal items.'


How do I pay for the room?

'The accommodation offer and contract process is completed online. Students are asked to read and agree the terms and conditions of the Residences Contract. In order to secure the room a payment plan must be set up with details of debit/credit card or bank to which the University can charge rent.  Rent is paid in three instalments and the payment dates are in October, January and April. This will be explained to students at the time of acceptance. 


At the same time, an addition £150.00 deposit is paid at time of acceptance, which will be held during the length of the Residences Contract and be used to pay for any damage that may occur in the property during the contract period.'


Who do I go to if I have a maintenance/security problem in my room?

'Customer Services is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and they can be contacted in person, online or by telephone to report any maintenance problems. All our accommodation has 24 hours security and extensive CCTV coverage, with regular patrols of the accommodation and the surrounding area.'


Do I need to acquire possessions insurance?

'Personal contents insurance is provide as part of the rental payment. Students can consider increasing the cover depending on their needs.'


Are phones provided in the rooms? Does it cost anything additional?

'We do not provide phones in the rooms, and phones and phone lines cannot be installed into the property or room. Internet, mostly wireless, is widely available across all our accommodation.'


Can I cook in my room?

'We do not allow cooking in rooms, only in the kitchen areas provided within the accommodation.'


Can I have guests to stay?

'We allow guests to stay for short periods of time on an occasional basis.'


What is your policy on parties at university accommodation?

'We have lots of meeting rooms, social spaces and other communal facilities, including cafés and games rooms, available for students to book for social events, however, we do not allow parties within University accommodation.'


Can you please explain what is the situation regarding council tax for students?

'All students that are full time registered students at the University are exempt from paying Council Tax.'


Is it possible to change accommodation if I am not satisfied with it after moving in?

'We ask all our students to allow a little time to get used to living away from home and adjust to living in new surroundings and with new people before they consider changing their room. We offer a transfer scheme after four weeks of arrival and students may be able to move rooms, depending upon availability of rooms.


Once a student has signed the Residences Contract they are contracted for the full tenancy period. Leaving the contract early is allowed where students withdraw from the University or take leave of absence from their academic studies.'


Is there anybody who can clean the accommodation regularly?

'We provide some cleaning of communal areas, however students are expected to clean their own rooms, including en-suite, and keep the kitchen and cooking equipment clean. Full details of what cleaning service is provided will be available prior to moving in.' 


How do you allocate accommodation requests? Can I choose who to live with?

'We accept accommodation applications from March onwards for September arrivals. Accommodation will be offered once the student has received confirmation of a place of study at the University, provided some simple conditions from our Accommodation Guarantee have been met. Allocation of accommodation begins from July onwards.


Students can notify us of any special requirements they may have in addition to the preferences selected for location and room type, such as wanting to live in a same sex or mixed apartment. We will always try our best to consider requests during allocation.'



Read more:

'Student accommodation in the UK'


Study in the UK


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