Any student – past or present – knows that one of the most important parts of the university journey is picking your accommodation. However, when doing this, there always comes a high price, and it is the cost of whatever accommodation you pick that takes up the majority of your maintenance loan. So many students end up wondering, how many weeks have you really got to pay for student accommodation? For example, at the moment, living in a lockdown for university students means they are not able to even live in a place they are playing for.

We are here to give you the lowdown on how many weeks you really have to pay for your student accommodation, and what to do if you are still living at home and not paying for your student home.

When choosing student accommodation, they tend to come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and depending on these differentiating options, this changes the price you have to pay for them. In terms of what you have to pay for accommodation and how long for, this depends on the contact length of the locations.

On average, the contract lengths for student accommodation ranges from anywhere from 40 weeks up to 50 weeks. With this comes a weekly fee you have to pay. The weekly payment you have to make for your chosen student accommodation will depend on what is offer, with the location even coming into play for what you have to pay. For example, if you are a student studying in London, don’t expect anything less than £100 considering you will be studying in the capital.

For a basic room, you can easily find accommodations starting at £60 a week. However, student accommodation has been known to exceed weekly prices as high as £200 a week! When looking at the price of accommodation, make sure you consider location, whether you are on or off-campus, if you have an en-suite or have to share a bathroom, how many people you have to share with, and much more.

There are three types of student accommodation available to you that will determine how many weeks you really have to pay for your chosen accommodation.

Student halls

student accommodation
Source: University of Kent

If you are a first year, then it is most likely you will be staying in student halls owned by the university. For these contracts, (as mentioned above) they tend to be 40-45 weeks long. But what are the weeks you actually have to pay for? Well, to point out the obvious, you have to pay for the weeks you intend on staying there which will be during term time. However, at holidays such as Easter, you may wish to stay there if you want to – remember you are paying for it!

It is the holidays like Christmas where you are more than likely to go home and unfortunately you will still have to pay for these contracted weeks, despite not being there for a month or so. The only time you will not have to pay for the accommodation is over summer because, by the time the contract weeks are up, the university year has come to an end.

Just like everything, there are pros and cons to university student halls. Let’s start with the pros. Well, the best thing about halls of residence is all the bills are included within your payment – so no need to worry about using too much water or electricity (phew!). Perhaps another pro to this is that you don’t need to worry about remembering to pay monthly, payments are automatically taken out by your university every term, now onto the cons. For student halls, this includes the facts that you have to pay for your accommodation on occasions you might not even be there – including Christmas and Easter. Then we have the fact that some of the rooms don’t exactly match up to the price they are advertised for, so it makes you question why are you spending so much on an accommodation that may be considered ‘basic’.

Private student halls

student accommodation
Source: Student Castle

These are very similar to halls of residence, except they are owned by private companies. The difference is the contract lengths tend to be a little bit longer, which clearly means you will be paying more but for some of them, they will be either a tad bit cheaper compared to university halls, or the same price and offer much better rooms – worth the money. The pros to private halls is you get a bit more leniency with the accommodation, compared to university-owned ones. Also, with the benefit of longer contracts, it gives you more chance to stay over summer in the accommodation, giving you that independence away from home again.

Some cons that arise from private student halls are similar to those of university halls, and this is in terms that you will have to pay for the accommodation when you are not staying there for holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Another con is one that has only arisen in current situations – when the national lockdown was imposed. For university halls of residence, the majority of universities waived the third term rent as students were not able to study at university for the rest of the year. However, some private student halls did not do this as their accommodation was not directly owned by the university, so this is a danger you face in current conditions where you may have to pay for the accommodation, despite the chance that you might not even be allowed there…

Student houses

student accommodation
Source Unihomes

Now student houses. This is something completely different from halls of residence as it is perhaps the most ‘grown-up’ approach towards getting student accommodation. A lot of students tend to go for a house from their second year as they are cheaper and also different from their accommodation the year they had previously. A major difference is you pay your rent monthly, compared to termly. However, this time the monthly payment for rent is simply just to live in the house, you will have other bills that are included in halls of residence, such as Wi-Fi. In terms of contract lengths and how much you really have to pay for them, this lies wholly upon the landlord you sign the contract with.

The pros of paying for a student house is they tend to be a lot more affordable – compared to halls of residence. In a way, it is even more independence and puts you a step further into the ‘adult world’, as you are dealing with official landlords and it will lead you to improve your budgeting skills. As with everything though, there are cons, for example, there is the possibility you may end up with a bad landlord.

At the moment, if you are unable to live at your student house due to the national lockdown, there may be some landlords that may relieve you of your contract for a month or two. However, if you have a bad landlord, then the chances are you are going to have to pay for a house that you cannot even live in at the moment.

So, for if you were wondering how many weeks you really have to pay for your student accommodation then here is all the answers you need.