I`m back on track with blogs after a long break with a lot of studying, unfortunately… Hope you`re all getting ready for your state exams and you already made your choices about universities (Surrey as one of your choices, hopefully). Today I`ll be blogging about a very important topic – accommodation after first year. I remember that when I came to Surrey I had no clue where I`d live in second year and this gave me a lot of stress. Therefore, I want to make your lives, guys, easier and enlighten you on how easy and straightforward this process can be!
So, you remember how I told you more about accommodation and bands in first year a month ago.. Well, second year accommodation is a different story. University gives you time in the first 3-4 months to find your group of friends or just few people you like hanging out with and then when you`re sure that you`ll be happy to live with these people you can start your process around December/January/February – the earlier, the better.
Then you have two options – either independently look for houses with an agency or apply online on university`s website and have it sorted out. I had the chance to live both through university and through an agency, so I can tell you more.
The first option – contacting an agency, can be a bit expensive and sometimes they might try to rip you off, but overall, it is not a bad option. There are plenty of agencies in town which you can have a look at and websites where you can look for spare rooms. Remember to always book a viewing of the house before signing a contract and responding to the landlord if you want it or not ASAP, as it is pretty competitive, so many students will be looking for houses at the same time.
There will be a charge for the services provided by the agency as well as a pretty big deposit, so bear this in mind. Furthermore, contracts from agencies will usually last for 12 months, which is more than the contract through university. After these 12 months you will be able to reserve your house for the next year if you wish and then you will be able to leave your stuff in the house. So, this basically means that you might end up paying rent for the months during summer when you`re not there just because in this way you reserve the house and you use it a storage.
Another very important thing to mention is the requirement to have a guarantor. When you rent a house through an agency the landlord usually needs someone willing to share his contact details and ensure that you will be able to pay and you won`t leave the country. Therefore, they require you to find someone who`s a UK citizen and who will take responsibility for you if you happen to leave the country – this someone is called a guarantor. Don`t worry, though, landlords are happy to let you stay without a guarantor, but in exchange you`ll have to pay upfront rents for 6 months, which can be a pretty big amount of money to provide at once. I`ve also heard that sometimes there are landlords who are very understanding and allow non-UK students living without a guarantor and without paying upfront.
So, that`s all the info about the first option. Finding a house through university is a more flexible and cheaper option, for sure! First, you`re being sent emails around January about living in houses in your second year and the process to do so. Also, you`re able to apply online either with friends or alone and then you`re allocated to a house which needs one more room to be filled up. Then, it`s all up to you to go and book the viewings of different houses sent by accommodations services to you and choose one yourself. I`m reminding you again that it is a very competitive process and sometimes even few hours make a difference.
The perks of finding a house through university is that you don`t need a guarantor, the deposits are not that high and you rent the house for less than 12 months. The only problem then is that you have to move your stuff out from the house between second and third year even if you have it reserved for the next year, BUT don`t worry, there are plenty of storage services at affordable prices, which you can use.
So, guys, this is all I can think of regarding accommodation after first year! Hope this was helpful and will give you peace of mind on your future plans!
Take care and keep following my blogs for more information you need!