Costs of student accommodation – what to budget for?

Living off-campus is very different to living in halls. While you may be used to having all of your bills included in your rent, off-campus accommodation usually means sorting your own utilities. So, what costs are involved with renting student accommodation? We crunch the numbers…

How much is student housing?

Student housing in Canterbury will set you back between £250-£550 per month in a house share. If you’d prefer to live alone, rental properties start from around £500 for a studio or one-bedroom flat.

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This is obviously a huge chunk of money, and will eat up the majority of your budget. However, many of the student rooms on offer at Student Places also include utilities – something that’s not to be sniffed at when you’re living on student loans. Which brings us to…

Which utility bills do students have to pay?

It may come as an unwelcome surprise but the types of bills students receive aren’t too different from those of any other tenant. In fact, the only typical household bill that you’re free from as a student is Council Tax (but you’ll need to apply for an exemption first).

 Obviously, every rental property is different. As we’ve already said, some landlords even offer to foot the bill for some things like Water, so it’s wise to double-check which utilities you have to pay ahead of moving in.

You should typically make room in your budget for:

Electricity and gas

 How much you’ll pay for these utilities will depend on lots of things, including the size of the property, and who your energy supplier is. However, next to rent, gas and electricity will be your biggest expense.

Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal through websites like uSwitch. It may be a rental property, but your landlord can’t stop you from switching suppliers. Look out for dual fuel tariffs which will allow you to pay for gas and electricity from the same supplier. Not only more convenient, a dual fuel tariff can actually save you money too. Bear in mind, your electricity and gas bills will be higher over winter when your central heating is on – so, make sure there’s extra room in your budget

 Top tip: On move-in day, take a picture of the gas and electricity meter so you’re not liable for any previous bills. It’s also a good idea to pay for your electricity and gas via direct debit, which could reduce the amount you pay and help you to build up your credit score.

Water 

Unlike other utilities, you can’t shop around for this one unfortunately – however, the cost isn’t too steep, especially if you’re in a house share. According to Southern Water, you should expect to pay between £200pa for a 1-bedroom flat and £400 for a 4-bedroom house, which can be split over 12 months at no extra cost if you pay via direct debit.

Broadband 

Essential for any student, unless you want to be permanently tethered to your phone, broadband will provide all-day, every-day internet to your home. Broadband providers and costs (including the expense of having a landline) will differ from region to region. This postcode checker will give you a good indication about what’s available in your area. 

If you’re based in Canterbury, Fiber Broadband is available (yay!), with monthly costs starting from around £20. If you live in a shared house, be wary of the length of your contract – try not to opt for anything longer than a year – and choose unlimited download options to spare those arguments over which housemate has been eating through the monthly allowance.  

 Related: How to find Uni flatmates?

 For more advice about the cost of student lettings, get in touch with Student Places.

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