When & where to start looking for student housing

Advice on when and where to start looking for student accommodation in Leeds

When to start looking for student housing?

From freshers’ week to the final year of your postgraduate studies, finding somewhere comfortable and convenient to live might not instantly come to mind. However, to be in the right frame of mind for your degree, you’ll need to find some digs that allow you to revise, relax and enjoy your time at university.

Fortunately, Leeds has many a place for you to live throughout your degree, but if you’re experiencing a heady mix of fear and confusion about how to live away from home for the first time, what should you do? We at Rentinc have all the answers in this handy guide to finding your first student digs.

Where to Look for Student Accommodation in Leeds?

Leeds has many student-friendly areas where you can get to and from campus without much fuss. The areas in question are:

Leeds City Centre Area  Hyde Park Area  Burley Area  Headingley Area  Leeds Beckett University Area  Leeds University Area

These areas all form part of the student district, known affectionately by many locals as ‘Studentville’. Woodhouse and the city centre are the closest to the two main university campuses, while Far Headingley is the furthest away from them. However, Far Headingley is closest to the Becketts Park campus of Leeds Beckett University.

In terms of amenities, they all vary depending on what you need. If you want to be close to supermarkets and bargain stores, Headingley, Burley and Kirkstall are the best places to be. For nightlife and short walks to the lecture theatres and seminar rooms, Woodhouse, Hyde Park and the centre of Leeds tick those particular boxes.

You need to think about what you want from your time at university. If you just want convenience, live closer to campus but look more closely at each area’s merits before making a decision on where to live. Our Area Guides give you a detailed description of what to expect from your new home away from home.

Before making a decision on where abouts you want to live, why not take a tour of each area beforehand. That way, you’ll get a good feel for the place and know your surroundings better as soon as you move in.

The Cost of Student Accommodation in Leeds

Your budget will play a major part in determining what you can and can’t afford to rent. To figure out how much you can pay per week or per month for a property, it’s worth working out how much you expect to spend per month on all your essentials. They could include:

  • Food and drink
  • Entertainment
  • Travel - bus, rail, petrol
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Textbooks

Then, you need to know how much money you’re likely to have coming in from your student loan and any part-time or freelance work you’re doing to supplement your income. Next, work out how much you’re likely to spend on each and then take the combined total from what’s going to come in each month.

The remaining amount of money will show you how much you can afford to spend on renting a place, giving you a firm idea of what falls within your price range. From that point, you’ll need to know what you can get for your money in Leeds.

Typically, student accommodation in Leeds is pretty cheap, even if it happens to be quite close to the city centre and all of its main attractions. From the bohemian Hyde Park to the lush greenness of Woodhouse, you’ll be able to find a place that fits neatly within your budget, leaving you plenty of room for manoeuvre with all the essentials.

Prices per person, per week tend to start at around the £60 mark for a house share, going up to as much as £100 for one and two-bedroom flats. All properties found on the Rentinc website include such costs as electricity, gas, water and broadband.

The more spacious flats tend to cost more, but if you’ve travelled light from your folks’ home, you’ll find the cosier properties in areas such as Burley are suited to fitting all your clothes in without feeling cramped.

Student Housing Made Easy

Now that we’ve covered areas and costs, the next step is actually finding a flat. Choosing one may seem daunting, especially if this is the first time you’ve gone house- or flat-hunting. However, if you bear the following tips in mind, you’ll find choosing student accommodation a breeze.

First, you should consider what you need from your student digs. Do you want somewhere that’s conveniently located within short walking distance of the shops, bars and campus, or would you prefer to live a little further away from all the noisy spots of Leeds? Think carefully before deciding on which property you’d like to rent.

Next, think about how much space you’d like. Do you want a cozy bedroom as part of a house-share, or do you have a preference for living alone? Think about how much stuff you’re taking up from your parents’ home before moving in when choosing your new accommodation.

When it comes to searching for a property, you need to check whether or not it falls within your price range, whether you’ll be able to live there for more than one year or if you want to live with your mates from whichever university you’re at. Consider all three carefully before moving onto the next stage - viewings.

Viewing Student Properties

This can, for some, be the scariest part of choosing somewhere to live for the first time. Fortunately, there’s no need to be in fear of viewings - they’re great for seeing where you want to live, as well as forming an opinion of what sort of accommodation is right for your time at university!

For a viewing, you need to check every single room in the property. Bedrooms, the lounge, the bathroom, the kitchen and, if applicable, closets and boiler rooms. That way, you get to see whether everything is in perfect order, if the decor is to your liking and, ultimately, whether or not you can see yourself living there.

If you’ve never been to a flat or house viewing before, it might help to bring a friend or even a parent along to get a second opinion. It’s all the better if the person with you has rented a property before and knows how viewings actually work. Doing this will help you to feel assured and provide a more rounded view on whether the property you’re looking at is great.

At a viewing, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can ask the property manager or whoever is showing you around the place about topics such as:

  • Safety - location of fire and smoke alarms
  • Water, gas and electricity - where are the supplies kept and so on
  • Inspections - how often do they take place?
  • Charges - are there any for services such as fixing anything in an emergency?
  • Parking - on the street or in a driveway
  • Buses and other public transport
  • Accommodating visitors such as friends and parents for overnight stays

No question about the property should be off limits. The person showing you round will be able to give you a clear and thorough response to whatever you ask. Then, you’ll know for sure what to expect if you do move in.

International Students Lettings in Leeds

If you’re moving from overseas, living in another country can be an exciting yet unusual experience, but if you’re a student, is choosing a property any different to the process that local students go through? Well, the answer isn’t anything like as complicated as you might expect.

International students looking for accommodation in Leeds (and elsewhere in the UK) will need to do the following before coming here to rent a property:

  • Apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa if from a country outside of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland - you can do so via the GOV.UK website
  • Enough money to support yourself throughout your study, be it in the form of a loan, grant or any cash you’ve earned before moving to the UK
  • If you don’t need to apply for a student visa, you do need a valid passport from an EU state or one from Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein
  • Apply for a student loan through the correct channels - EU students can get one directly from their university  

As for finding a property, it’s essential to have your passport handy, as well as any other paperwork that proves that you are you and are eligible to study and live here for the duration of your course. Then, you can start looking for a place to call home!

Looking for a place of your own isn’t all plain sailing; there is going to be a little bit of paperwork involved! Fortunately, with our help, you can find a property that’s clean, safe, affordable and convenient in next to no time, leaving you free to concentrate on what’s important - getting that degree that will set you on your way towards getting that dream job.