Updated: Oct 25, 2021
If you are studying in Liverpool, then your options for Liverpool student accommodation are broad, allowing for a range of different needs. Some are managed directly by the university, some by private landlords. There are student halls, there are rented rooms, and there are shared houses and flats. With all these available choices, deciding on what is right for you can be difficult.
Most students in their first year will be able to find a place in campus halls of residence (some may merely be located near campus). In some cases, this may even be required. They are convenient for your studies, provide for all your basic needs (some even have canteens), and do not have the risks associated with renting from private landlords. In some cases, students in later years are also eligible to stay in campus halls, particularly second years or those who have spent a year abroad.
Private student accommodation or halls of residence also exist, similar to the student halls on campus in that they are purpose built and provide all necessary facilities and services, but private companies manage them. They are generally close to campus, so they are still convenient, but they can be significantly more expensive.
In many cases, you will have to leave university-run halls of residence during the later years of your course, at which point you will probably want to rent a room or house in the local area. Again, these can be managed directly by the university or belong to private companies and landlords. Some private accommodation will still be accredited by the university and therefore comes with increased trustworthiness.
University-managed houses and rooms tend to be more standardised in their appearance and facilities than completely private properties, but they still look like regular flats or houses. Some are specifically for undergraduate or postgraduate students. Application is generally through a university accommodation office, but there will often be a waiting list.
It is most likely that at some point, you will end up renting privately from a landlord, whether a house or just a room within that house. This generally involves sharing a property with other students, often in an area with a high concentration of student properties. This means the neighbourhood usually still has a distinct university feel, though there can be some diversity in everything from building style to other residents. Private accommodation can have the widest possible variations in quality, so finding property accredited by your university can still be an important way to guarantee a minimum standard.
There is one less common option, which is the family stay or home stay. This is when a local family offers a vacant room for a relatively short period, probably no more than a year. It can be particularly useful for international students who are just visiting and will stay for a limited time.
What do you look for in student accommodation?
With so many types of student accommodation available, you need to consider what features are particularly important to you. Make a list of what you need and consider which properties are most likely to provide it.
Price is obviously a key factor for any student. It is very rare for someone to be venturing off to university with unlimited reams of cash, and rent can take up nearly three-quarters of a student loan. There is always a delicate balance to be struck between affordability and quality, with finding one sometimes meaning sacrificing the other. An advantage of university-run accommodation is that you can guarantee a certain living standard without excess expense. Living at home is the cheapest option, but you may feel you are missing a big part of the university experience.
Location and transportation
One of the most obvious advantages of living in student halls is generally on or right next to campus. This saves time and cost when it comes to travelling to lectures. For many universities with a campus in the city, including the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and LIPA, you are often close to city centre amenities as well. If you live further out, you may escape the noise and bustle of student life, but you will need to check things like bus routes and your nearest train station, with relevant prices.
For many students, the social side of university is as important as the academic element. Students tend to congregate in the same areas even when they live in private housing in the city, close to the clubs and bars as well as campus. If you prefer a quiet life, you might want to find somewhere away from other students.
Another key aspect of going to university, but one that can be a little scary. Student halls mean more is provided for you, but it is not quite the same as being really on your own. Private student accommodation may give you more freedom, but it comes with more responsibility, including managing your own admin. This is even more true if you live at home.
What are the pros and cons of living in student accommodation?
With a better idea of the kinds of student accommodation you might look for, you may also want to take a look at the specific pros and cons of each type. These factors sit alongside the other considerations you may make when choosing your accommodation:
Living on campus puts you right in the heart of the action. You are next to the lecture theatres and the library, to the Student Union and all the societies. You have everything you need for university life on your doorstep, and you experience it alongside all the other students who you share with and may want to befriend. It is also a safe and reliable way to begin to experience some of the benefits of independence without the more uncertain aspects of private renting.
Partly because there are so many advantages to campus living, places can be limited. Universities do not have enough room for everyone to stay in halls, so certain groups will be prioritised. This may include freshers, people who have been studying abroad and those whose financial or health situations make it difficult to secure private accommodation. Being that close to so many students can also be a noisy, tiring and unrelenting experience.
These are purpose-built for students, so you will have all the facilities you need, including things like Wi-Fi, laundrettes and maybe even a gym. Most of the advantages of university-managed halls apply, such as opportunities to connect with other students, good security, and close proximity to campus.
The big area where private halls may fall down is a tendency to be more expensive. That goes for the basic package, but it also includes superfluous features that you may not need or use, such as onsite cinemas. You also share the same disadvantages as campus halls when it comes to an often crowded, noisy environment.
Then there is private renting, which may be a single room or a shared house. It gives you more independence and flexibility in where and how you live, and it can be enjoyable if you have a friend or group of friends with whom you enjoy spending lots of time. Sometimes it also means the chance to share with people who are not students, diversifying your friend's circle and offering more new experiences.
Unfortunately, more independence also means more pressure on you when it comes to bills and other admin things, whilst having less of a support network if something goes wrong. Budgeting can be tricky at the best of times, but trying to do it whilst dealing with a landlord can be extra hard. Shared housing is also somewhat dependent on your housemates. Do they cover their share, both in terms of rent and in household chores like cleaning communal areas? It can also be difficult to maintain privacy in these kinds of properties. You could also be facing higher costs, from the rent itself to transportation, if you end up living further away from campus.
How many weeks do you pay for student accommodation?
Talking about budgeting and admin, you need to think about how long you are going to be in your student accommodation in terms of weeks that need paying. This will depend on where you are and the type of accommodation, but you also need to consider your specific needs and the advantages and disadvantages of different lengths.
Most student accommodation comes with a 40-to-50-week contract. If you are in student halls, this will definitely cover term time, but you need to consider whether it includes the Christmas and Easter holidays. If not, you may save some money, but you may also need to think about moving all of your stuff out of your room for a few weeks, just to move it back in again. The time you definitely should not be paying for is in the summer when you are probably going home for several months. Try not to pay for a room when you are not there.
Private halls do tend to offer longer contracts, which means you can feel a bit more relaxed about whether your home is secure under you. You may even be able to keep your contract running through the summer, meaning no relocating your stuff. There may still be issues about whether or not you are paying for the other holidays when you may or may not be staying in your student accommodation. Private halls may also be a little less understanding if your circumstances change or if there is a wider change to university schedules.
A private house will not be tailored to the schedule of university terms like specialised student halls, whether on campus or private. Instead, you pay on a monthly basis, with the exact terms being distinct depending on the contract agreed between you and your landlord. This means potentially a lot more flexibility. Do bear in mind that this bill is less likely to be comprehensive, and you may end up having to spend extra on other necessary amenities such as Wi-Fi that are typically included in official student accommodation.
One way to make the best out of your accommodation options is to find a place at one of the many TJT student accommodation located in the centre of Liverpool. Our student flats in Liverpool offer some of the best value for money right at the centre of the city, and they do so without sacrificing quality. There may be flexibility to extend tenancy agreements, depending on your needs.
TJT Students has five main sites in Liverpool, and each is specially tailored to meet student requirements. Our properties are different sizes and have various features to appeal to the widest range of students, but all come with bed, wardrobe, bedside cabinet, chest of drawers, pinboard, television, phone and Wi-Fi as well as CCTV and onsite laundry. When it comes to price, location, independence and opportunities to socialise, we have it all.