Written by Mohammed Bendaanane
MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship
When I decided to come to BU for my postgraduate studies, I wanted to go through a unique journey and learn both in and out of the classrooms. Going for a private accommodation was a bold choice but also a learning process through which I learnt a lot as an international student who is heading abroad to a place that he has never been to.
Renting privately is when you seek to live off campus and university halls either with other students or with locals. At first, I thought it was a bad idea but when I started thinking of it thoroughly, I found out that it can be an amazing and completely different experience from what I can have if I go to university halls.
How to find a private accommodation?
To find a place to live in, you have to do a lot of research & viewings and it might be quiet time consuming but it is worth it. BU offers many private accommodation options such as LettingsBU. There are also many Facebook groups connecting students with each other’s to rent privately. Furthermore, BU has a regularly updated list of landlords who have previously rented rooms for students. There is also the option of going through a letting agent that I discarded because I had no idea of how much an agent would charge me and I thought I can do it all by myself
I decided to look at other ways. So, I went on this app called SpareRoom where you can search for available rooms or studios by area, price range, availability and so on. There I found the room that I am currently renting. What I liked about the app & website is that most adverts have pictures of the rooms with all the details, so you have a clear idea and you can contact the landlord directly to arrange a viewing. My advice is when doing your research, try to explore all the options available until you find the best fit to your needs and wants.
Pros of renting privately
First, you learn how to take action, be responsible, independent and self-reliant. Starting from looking at properties, contacting landlords, arranging viewings, etc. You are literally making things happen by yourself. Second, you gain lot of independence and you experience two different cultural settings: university life and local life in Bournemouth by sharing a house with other students even better locals. Last but not least, you will not pay huge amounts of settlement and you will not commit to stay in your accommodation for long period. If you do not like the room or you want change you can always move out to another property. Private accommodation offers large flexibility.
Cons of renting privately
Firstly, finding landlords who do not require references can be a huge challenge. In fact, in some cases if you are unable to provide a UK the reference you will not be able to rent a room. But it does not mean it is not possible there are other ways like UKGuarantor. I personally managed to rent a room without providing any references. Secondly, in most cases a deposit is required to be paid before entering to the room, you have also to make sure whether the bills are included in the rent as in some cases it is not the case
Top 3 tips of for renting privately:
- Start looking as early as possible and use all means: be methodical;
- Choose carefully who you will be living with: I personally opted to live with a local landlady and not students;
- Trust your gut and feelings: if it feels weird do not go for it.