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Undergraduate Accommodation Advice For 2020/21

Now you've found the course for you, the next step is to secure accommodation – but where do you begin? Here's what you should consider during your search for the perfect student property.

Finding the right place to live and study while you're a student will help you get the most out of your time at university.

Although we are currently experiencing a period of uncertainty, most universities including dBs Music are planning to start the next academic year in September and make a return to teaching on site, providing it's safe to do so.  With that in mind it's important to consider your accommodation options. If you have a place firmed on a course already, you should secure accommodation as soon as possible. 

What are my options?

Halls of residence

Many universities offer halls of residence which they manage or run in a partnership with private companies. Staying in halls can be a great option for new students since you will be living on campus at the centre of the student community. Here's what to expect from this type of accommodation:

Advantages of living in halls

  • Utility bills usually included
  • Located on or very close to campus at the heart of student life
  • Great social setting
  • Some rooms can come with ensuite bathroom facilities
  • Other facilities like launderette are often on site
  • Halls are managed by the university and will often have 24 hour security 

Things to consider

  • Shared kitchens, (sometimes) bathrooms and communal spaces
  • Living in close quarters with lots happening, can be noisy at times
  • TV licences and internet access can come at an extra cost
  • Living in halls can be more expensive than private accommodation
  • Check if your institution offers this type of accommodation, some don't 

Private halls rented student accommodation

This type of rented accommodation is very similar to living in halls of residence . They are often located close to campus so you will still get to experience the best of student life. These buildings are run and managed by private companies but may have an affiliation with a number of education providers in the area. Here's what to expect from this type of accommodation.

Advantages of living in private halls

  • Most rooms come with ensuite bathroom facilities
  • Utility bills usually included as well
  • Often located close to campus or city centre
  • Other facilities like launderette on site
  • 24 hour security in most buildings
  • Some offer perks like vouchers and student discounts at local establishments to attract students in a competitive market

Things to consider

  • Shared kitchens and communal spaces
  • Living in close quarters with lots happening, can be noisy at times
  • TV licences and internet access can come at an extra cost
  • Will be living with people on different courses and sometimes from different universities

Private rented accommodation

This type of accommodation involves sharing a house with around 5 or more people paying rent to a private landlord or letting agent. Here's what to expect from this type of accommodation.

Advantages of living in private rented accommodation

  • With good planning you can stay with a group of friends who you chose to live with
  • Can be cheaper than halls of residence or private halls
  • More flexibility and fewer restrictions on your living arrangements
  • Choice of where to live
  • As long as you're all students no council tax to pay
  • Your university may have affiliate landlords and can recommend good providers

Things to consider

  • You may have to pay utility bills separately
  • TV licence and internet access is likely to come at extra cost
  • A lot of private houses have shared bathroom facilities
  • Some shared house can include students and professionals
  • If not everyone is a student in the house there may be council tax to consider
  • You may need a guarantor to rent privately

Finding a provider near you.

If you are going to university for the first time your student support team will be able to help advise you on accommodation available or put you in touch with affiliate providers in the area. A quick internet search will also lead you to many options. If you are choosing to study with dBs Music at either our Plymouth or Bristol campuses there are a number of properties available and letting agencies who specialise in student accommodation, including shared houses. A google search will pull up resources to help you find the right place. Here are some of the private student halls available in each city:

Plymouth 


  • St Augustine's House
  • The Square
  • Plymouth Cross House
  • Mary parker House
  • Astor House
  • St Thomas Court
  • Central Park Towers
  • Beckley Point
  • Discovery Heights
  • The Old Dairy

Also check out Host for listings of rooms available at different properties. Students studying at dBs Music Plymouth will be also able to apply for accommodation at Marjon University's halls of residence located 5 miles out from Plymouth City centre.

Bristol

  • Holly Court Bristol
  • Collegiate - Student Accommodation Tower
  • Water Lane Apartments
  • UNITE Students
  • Studio 58
  • Brunel House
  • IQ Bristol
  • Abodus Students
  • St Lawrence House

What other things should I think about?

If you are living away from home, contents insurance for your belongings is worth considering. Check the cover your parents or guardians have as some brands like the AA on their Home Insurance Plus* policy (other brands and policies are available) offer cover for students living away from home under a parental policy.  If you are gigging and need extra cover for musical equipment this might require a bespoke policy like Allianz' Musical Instrument and Musicians insurance* but some providers will cover items under a 'standard' policy. We advise talking directly to the insurance company you are considering to make sure your items are covered.

*These are examples not recommendations. We do not have any affiliation with these companies and are not offering any financial advice. If you need financial advice contact a registered financial advisor.

If you are moving into student accommodation you will likely need to have a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you don't pay it, for example a parent or close relative. If you don't pay your landlord what you owe them, they can ask your guarantor to pay instead. If your guarantor doesn't pay, your landlord can take them to court.

When moving into shared accommodation check the arrangement of your contract. In most circumstances yours will apply to your specific room rather than the whole house but make sure you check the arrangement. Some student accommodation doesn't require a guarantor at all. 

Check if your accommodation adheres to The Student Accommodation Code. The code sets the standards of best practice for the development and management of student accommodation. Included are guidelines for health and safety, what can and can't be included in your contract, how accommodation is advertised, what you should expect and more. They also insure that disputes can be dealt with easier and more fairly. 

What about COVID-19 and social distancing?

By the start of the first semester in the 2020/21 academic year it's looking like social distancing guidelines are still be in place across the UK. This might affect tenants moving into their new properties for the start of term since there will be a number of people moving in around the same time, with families helping them.

The UK government provides the following advice for students living in halls or shared accommodation:

"If you suffer from symptoms of Covid 19 you are advised to self isolate in your current accommodation and your university or college should facilitate this."

"When students are living in halls of residence where someone else has symptoms of coronavirus, their institution will discuss the situation with PHE’s local Health Protection Team, which will carry out a risk assessment and identify who is required to take part in whole household isolation based on how closely they have been living together."

Check with your landlord, letting agent or property management company

  • Their policy for cleaning and decontamination after the previous tenant has left
  • Their logistical guidelines for moving in and social distancing 
  • How many people you will be sharing kitchen, living spaces and bathroom facilities with

For further advice check the UK Government website

Should I still be trying to secure accommodation for a September 2020 start? 

If you have firmed your place at any one of our centres we advise that you try to secure accommodation as soon as possible. Unfortunately, beyond the accommodation guides that any firmed applicants will have already received, we cannot provide any other support for finding housing. We recommend that dBs students join the Class of 2020 Facebook group to discuss private housing options with other students. 

Bristol in particular is very competitive and many official accommodation companies are already saying that they’re full. However, in light of the circumstances and after speaking with many of these companies ourselves, students are advised to contact them directly, as many rooms are now freeing up due to deferrals from other universities. 

I'm confused and need some more advice

We are here to help you in any way that we can, so should you still have questions please don't hesitate to reach out to us. If you'd like to get in touch you can email us at admissions@dbsmusic.co.uk, speak with us via our live chat on the dBs Music website which is available 9am - 5pm, Monday-Friday or call us on either 0117 325 9290 (Bristol) or 01752 210801 (Plymouth).


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