Emily is a University of Plymouth graduate who lived in privately rented shared houses with other students while she was studying for her biosciences degree at the University of Plymouth. Go Plymouth asked her to give some tips to new students looking for accommodation…

‘There’s a wide range of accommodation available to students while studying at the University of Plymouth.

It’s common to spend the first year in university managed halls - a list of what’s available is on the university website and a selection will be offered to you if you are accepted at the university.

I chose to spend my first year in a privately owned university approved house less than a minute’s walk from campus. I shared with nine other students of various ages and backgrounds and all studying a variety of different courses.

Student houses in PlymouthWhile the thought of living with strangers was intimidating at first, I can honestly say this was the most valuable experience of my life. Not only did I make friends who stayed with me throughout my three years in Plymouth and remain close friends today, but I also learned valuable lessons in how to communicate and compromise with different personalities.

In their second and third years, most students choose to live in privately owned student houses which usually have between four and 10 bedrooms. 

There’s a list of university approved private accommodation on the university website which grades each property according to specific standards. All these properties are inspected regularly.

There are also a number of letting agencies aimed at the student population around campus.

There are pros and cons with both private landlords and agencies. Private landlords seem to be more flexible and understanding when it comes to payments and are generally more approachable, in many cases offering their personal mobile number to tenants in case of emergencies.

However, the standard of facilities and the speed of response when things go wrong in a house seem to be much better with an agency although these operate office hours and are not usually concerned with tenants’ individual circumstances or issues that can arise.

Whichever you end up choosing, you will undoubtedly be asked to sign a contract. It’s important that you read this carefully as there are often hidden administration charges and ridiculous rules, such as no visitors after 10pm which one agency tried to include in my contract!

Breaking the contract could mean you lose your deposit which can be as much as a full month’s rent so make sure you understand its contents fully and don’t be afraid to speak up if there’s something you are unsure of or disagree with.’

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