Perhaps you applied to university via clearing or you missed the deadline to apply for uni accommodation and now there are no rooms left. Unfortunately, universities usually allocate places in halls on a first-come, first-served basis, which often means late applicants miss out. If you are not at this stage yet, please read our article on when to apply for uni accommodation.
Not getting university accommodation is stressful but it happens (more than you would think!) So, if you are in this situation, or you’re worried about it, here’s what you should do.
First steps when you don’t get accommodation
Firstly don’t panic – you will find somewhere to live and this won’t define the rest of your uni experience. There are plenty of resources to search through. This list by UCAS is a really helpful starting point for considering the different types of alternative accommodation, however, you still need to find housemates and the uni accommodation. We also have a list of the best student accommodation providers in the UK.
Find Housemates on social media
Understandably, it can be challenging to know where to start if you don’t get university accommodation. Especially when you haven’t even met anyone in your year yet. However, you should be able to join your year’s university Facebook group and you’ll be able to find other students who don’t have accommodation there.
Hopefully, there will be a Facebook housing group for your uni, which you should be able to find easily. Here, you’ll be able to find fellow first-years who are also looking for somewhere to live. People will also be giving advice, recommendations and warnings about which landlords and letting agents are good for students (especially freshers). It is also worth asking questions and leaving comments, as you will be more likely to yield results this way.
Your university is there to help you.
Despite not having given you a place in halls, this doesn’t mean your university is just going to leave you in the dust when it comes to finding somewhere to live.
Your university’s housing office (or student services or equivalent department) should advise you about on and off-campus accommodation. They should also keep you posted about upcoming events to help you find other freshers without accommodation; these could include things like housing fairs or fun speed dating-style to match future housemates together
They should also be able to provide recommendations for local letting agents and landlords that students have verified to meet certain standards.
Start viewing accommodation with housemates
If you don’t get uni accommodation it may be tempting to just take first the property you see. However remember you’ll be living there for a year, so you need to find somewhere that is right for you. Try and line up as many viewings as possible to give you a broad range of options to choose from. Additionally, try to coordinate with your housemates to view the property together and make a collective choice. Alternatively, you could nominate one or two of you to look around and report back to the remaining housemates.
Remember to check where each viewing is, so you definitely have enough time to get from one to the other. If all of them are with the same agent since sometimes they can give you a lift if there aren’t too many of you.
Trust your gut and don’t feel pressured to sign up for something you’re not completely comfortable with. Remember, you will be paying the rent and keeping to this contract for a year, so don’t rush into signing anything. Getting a second or third pair of eyes on it is always a good idea. For instance, some unis or students’ unions offer a contract-checking service, to ensure landlords won’t rip you off. You could ask your parents to take a look too, as they will know what to look for.
Be a savvy shopper!
While an initial bit of research may stop you from getting scammed, this still doesn’t guarantee the best price. Do a bit of price comparison in your local area, and compare different properties and different letting agents too. This combined with the advice above should mean you have a clear idea of average rent prices in your area. We have lists of the best Student Letting Agencies in each city for you to check out.
Not getting accommodation is not the end of the world – we promise!!
It’s understandable to be upset if you don’t get uni accommodation, but this doesn’t mean you’re going to have an awful uni experience. You may meet a best friend or a fantastic group of people you can have an amazing first year with. There are plenty of options, and who knows what could come of you not getting what you wanted?