There is so much information to absorb and take in when at Uni and sometimes actually where you live can be a bit of a rushed after thought. The Lancaster student accommodation market can be ruthless, so we have tried to summarise what makes for an enjoyable accommodation experience. The key, like anything, is just taking a little time to research and really think about what is important to you and your group. So, what makes for “good student accommodation”…..in no particular order:-
- Value – there is a huge range of pricing in Lancaster with many more student rooms being built and the new rooms all seem to be priced well above £110 per week. What constitutes value isn’t just in the price you pay per week, in order to have a great experience in Lancaster you need to decide what is actually valuable to you? If you are solely price driven, then make sure you do all the sums and include all associated costs for your comparison.
- Location – hugely important depending on your priorities and requirements. Do you want to roll out of bed and be in Uni in the shortest time possible or do you want to be able to walk home easily from town after a night out? Do you want to be close to a major bus route or certain pub or do you want to have the comfort of living in an area with many other students? Either way, make your life easy and really look into where you want to live and why. (click here for further location advice)
- Comfort – would you like a large room, or would you like a large bed or both (ideally)? Simple question but the amount of times we have hugely differing views on this, some students require a large space to feel at home, other are happy with a smaller room with a double bed to make it cosy. Do you want a kitchen with dining space or are you happy to eat in the lounge? Make sure all bedrooms have a desk so you can study in comfort!
- Necessities – what has to be included from your perspective? Do you need to have Fibre Optic? Is free contents insurance a deal breaker? Will you actually use that free gym membership that is included? The real necessities are a comfy bed, space to work and nice space to relax with your housemates and a property that is hassle free along with a landlord that stays out of the way unless needed!
- Landlord – we think this is hugely important and often forgotten about,but, who is the landlord? What are they like? Are they contactable? What is your initial feeling about them if you have met them? Ultimately, the landlord will have a huge impact on your accommodation experience and if possible ask as many questions as you can to try and get a feel for the type of people they are. If you are renting through an agent, there is the possibility that agents blame landlords and vice-versa so be mindful when renting through an agent. Use Facebook, Google and other methods to try and do research on the company/landlord you are dealing with. If you can, ask the current tenants about their experiences. If you feel pressured to sign…..don’t!
- Types of Accommodation – linked to the earlier location section, the type of accommodation varies within the city centre, with flats, purpose built student flats, studio apartments and houses. Our experience is that students typically want houses as they offer more flexibility whilst still being close to town and transport links. There is ample parking, freedom and the ability to be a little separate from the intense living of purpose built campus or off campus accommodation. Everyone is different so it always helps to know what suits you best and how you imagine/plan to live and use your accommodation.
- Who you live with – A hugely important decision and probably the most difficult. The good student accommodation and houses in Lancaster are usually all taken by December, so that means you potentially have a maximum of 8 weeks to get through freshers week, settle into your new environment and then decide who you will live with months down the line….crazy but this is how it is in Lancaster. Ensure that your personalities mix, you have common interests and that you cleanliness thresholds are compatible!!
- Contract length – this links back into the value section, always look at the contract length and work out the total amount you will be paying over the rental period. There are many different contract lengths in Lancaster, some short with half rent, some for 50 weeks and it makes comparison more complicated so always look at the contact length and not just the weekly payment amount.
We hope this helps focus your mind a little on what is important to you and then hopefully you can find the right student house/accommodation in Lancaster and most of all enjoy your time at Uni. The key is to research and ask as many questions as possible!
Smartlets are a family business offering student houses in Lancaster for nearly 40 years, we are approachable, friendly and always contactable. If you need anymore information or advice please get in touch.
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