Female student sitting on bed and using laptop in Bateson hall room

Finding your perfect home

We'll help you decide between halls, private renting and staying at home

Going to uni might be the first time you move away home and your first taste of independence. Choosing where to live at uni can be one of the most exciting parts of the build up.

But it can also be hard to decide where to live. Should you live in student halls, private accommodation or stay at home?

This guide can help you take the next step towards starting your university life. Find out what your options are and the pros and cons of choosing student halls, private renting or living at home.


Student halls

Most unis provide halls for first-year students that are either on-campus or close to the university. They're usually separate flats with 6-8 student rooms in each flat, so you'll get to meet other students and make friends from the moment you move in.

Student halls are the best option for being at the centre of uni life. As they're based close to uni, you'll have no problem making it to your morning lectures on time.

If you're preparing for your first year at uni, you'll probably find student halls the easiest accommodation option on offer.

What's included

Flats in student halls usually come with bills and wifi included, making calculating your rent straight forward. And they're fully furnished with a desk, bed and storage so you can move straight in. You can bring your own TV, video games or posters with you.

Halls are managed by the university, who often have a security team and residential support any time you need it.

Modern kitchen in Bateson hall student residence

Shared spaces

You'll share a kitchen with other students if you chose self-catered student halls, or have access to a canteen if you prefer catered halls. Most student hall rooms have en-suite bathrooms, but some have shared bathrooms, so look out for this when researching where to live.

If you're coming to Portsmouth, explore our halls of residences and the housing support available to you.


Private renting

If you want to live with friends in a shared house or you want to live alone, you can choose to rent private accommodation that isn't managed by the university. Private renting gives you more choice of where you live and who you live with, but you'll also have more responsibility.

What's included

Private accommodation means you'll need to manage your rent and bills directly with your landlord, not the university. Not all landlords include bills and wifi in the rent either – so make sure to keep an eye out for this when you're looking for a place to live.

Location

You should also think about how far you want to travel to uni, and what public transport is available. Student halls are often situated close to campus, but private accommodation is usually further away.

Living with friends

Many students rent privately for their second and third years of uni, so they can live in a shared house with friends they made in first year. But this is also an option for your first year, particularly if you've already got friends at your uni.

A clock, plant, and framed picture on a bedside table

Living in a shared house

If you don't have friends to live with but don't want to live in student halls, you can find rooms in private shared houses available at the start of the year. Some of the rooms will be in student houses – so you'll get to know other students from all different years of study.

Lodging

You can also find private rooms in houses of people who live in the city. This is called lodging and you'll be a lodger. You'll live with the landlord and sometimes their family. You're likely to be the only student in the house, although some landlords have more than one spare room they rent out.

Renting a spare room in someone's house can be a great way to get to know the city's residents and their friends, which can help you expand your social circle outside of uni.

If you need more advice on renting private accommodation at uni, we have a property viewing checklist and a guide on what to do before you move in.


Living at home

If you decide not to move away for uni, you could continue to live at home. You won't be living with other students, but you'll still get to take part in uni life.

Living at home while at uni can be a great way to save money on food shopping, rent and bills – especially if you don't have to pay rent at home. But you might have less freedom than living away from home and fewer opportunities to develop your independence.

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