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How long can you stay in University accommodation?

Arranging university or student accommodation in Liverpool can be stressful, not least because it is important to get it right. There are lots of options, and you need to choose the one that suits you best. You will need to consider your budget, the location, and the type of accommodation you want. You can choose to have a room in university accommodation or move out to private student accommodation outside the university with a group of friends. Many students try different options during their study course, spending time in a university hall for one or more years and other private student accommodation later on. You can choose to stay in university accommodation for the whole time you are at university, but you may want to try other types of accommodation for practical or financial reasons.

How long do you stay in student accommodation?

If you choose to stay in university accommodation, you will sign an initial contract for a year. If you like this accommodation, you can arrange to stay in the accommodation for the duration of your study course, subject to availability. Many universities prioritise first-year students or international students, so you may find that you have to look elsewhere after the first year of your course. If you decide to stay in university accommodation, the contract usually covers the length of the term times; therefore, you will be able to stay in the accommodation for 40 weeks. You don't usually have to pay for the summer holidays, but you will have to pay for the accommodation over the Christmas and Easter breaks.

You need to check the arrangements over the holidays, as universities may ask you to empty your room. If this is the case, you will need to make arrangements to take your belongings home or put them into storage. If you are studying a long way from home, you need to work out the best way to do this; for example, you may have too many belongings to make a train journey home, so you will need to arrange alternative transport or storage. Universities will sometimes offer storage options.

You can also check with the university to see what contracts are available. Some universities offer term-time only, some offer 12 months, and some offer something in-between. It may be possible to pay for accommodation outside term time and/or pay for your room over the summer holidays at a reduced rate.

If your university accommodation doesn't suit your needs, you might want to consider private student accommodation. The contracts maybe for a longer period, which may suit you better if you are not keen on emptying your room and having to leave over the holiday periods. Check the area where you will be studying to see whether any private halls are available. Consider the costs of what may be expensive trips home compared with staying in your hall when looking at the rent charged for private student accommodation. An advantage of being in a private hall is that if you have a part-time job in the area to help cover accommodation costs, you can continue with the job over the holiday periods without having to leave the area.

In your final year, you might want to consider whether you will continue to live in the location in which you studied to look for work. A private hall with a longer contract time might provide accommodation for you while you look for employment. If you plan to move away from the area in which you studied, you should check that your contract does not tie you in for longer than you anticipate being in the area.

Your needs in your first and final years may be quite different. As you move into accommodation, you may want to be in a university hall for social reasons. After the first year, you may find university accommodation a little noisy and busy and prefer to move out into a private hall. Check the contracts and terms before you make a final decision as to where you plan to live.

Can I cancel my student accommodation early?

You may decide that you want to change your accommodation and need to cancel your current accommodation early. You will need to look carefully at your tenancy agreement to see what your obligations are. You will generally sign a contract for a full academic year, and this tenancy is a binding legal contract that you will be expected to keep. Once the contract ends, you can move out without giving notice, and there will be no further payments due.

If you decide that you want to cancel your student accommodation early, you should look at your contract. Contracts may contain a break clause and state how much notice you have to give.

You should speak to your landlord if you want to cancel the arrangement early. If your landlord agrees, this is called a surrender, and your landlord will agree to a notice period with you. Suppose you cancel the accommodation early without the agreement of your landlord. In that case, you will be obliged to continue paying rent until the end of the contracted tenancy agreement regardless of whether you are still living in the accommodation.

Some accommodation may have a periodic agreement that runs from one month to the next; however, this is less likely with student accommodation. If you have this type of agreement, you should give notice to the end of the periodic agreement. Notice should be given in writing and should reach your landlord at least 28 days - or the number of days in your contract, if different - before you plan to move out. Keep a record of your written notice. If you use a postal delivery service, send it by recorded delivery or a signed for service so that you have proof that the landlord has received the written request to cancel the contract.

When you are arranging your accommodation, you should look carefully at your obligations and consider what you will be contractually tied into if you want to cancel the accommodation. There are many reasons why you might decide you would like to cancel, so you should ensure you will be able to manage the arrangements in all eventualities. The last thing you want is having to pay rent on two properties if you need to move to different accommodation and are unable to cancel the original contract simultaneously.

Do you have to pay for student accommodation during the holidays?

There may be different contracts in place for different types of student accommodation. University accommodation generally covers 40 weeks, and you will have to pay for the Christmas and Easter holidays but not the summer holidays. This is regardless of whether the accommodation is occupied. You may be asked to vacate the room, even though you are paying for it.

Private student accommodation tends to have longer tenancy arrangements, which will often be for 44-45 weeks. Again, you will have to pay for the Christmas and Easter holidays. Universities may offer accommodation over the summer months that you can pay for as an extra to your contracted tenancy arrangements. International students may choose to stay longer in the student accommodation rather than making expensive and complex travel arrangements to their home country during their study period.

You should check the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement to see what the arrangements are for the holidays. Some universities may require you to vacate the room even though you are still obliged to pay for it. If you are allowed to stay in the room, bear in mind that the cost of staying in the room could work out to be cheaper and easier than what may be long, complicated and expensive journeys back and forth to your home address. Universities that ask you to empty the rooms may offer storage facilities, which means the travel arrangements home can be a little more straightforward.

You may want to stay in your student accommodation during the holiday times if you have a part-time job in the area where you study that helps you pay for your accommodation fees. For some students, study arrangements and social events mean they prefer to stay in student accommodation. Consider this when you are comparing the tenancies for different types of student accommodation, making sure that you are arranging something that suits your needs. If the contract does not allow you to have the room for the full period that you would like, check whether there are any arrangements available whereby you can have the room outside the usual contract dates. Some universities will be able to let you stay before and after the contract starts and ends at specially agreed rates.

If you are moving to Liverpool and are looking into the different types of university accommodation available, you can contact TJT Students. TJT Students has a wide range of accommodation available for students at different price options. Liverpool is a vibrant city and is home to Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool University, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, and Liverpool Hope University. All the properties available from TJT Students have excellent facilities and are in locations close to the heart of the city and the universities. There is plenty going on and all the rooms are well equipped, well maintained, and well furnished. The rooms have a bed, wardrobe, desk, chair, plenty of power points, and free wi-fi; what's more, the rent includes bills, so there are no hidden surprises. The properties have CCTV, laundry facilities and cooking facilities, so you will feel safe and secure and everything will be close to hand. Get in touch to find out which properties will best suit your needs.

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