Produced by Guest blogger
Getting an accommodation that will suit my family was challenging. I’m so glad, I came first to the UK before they arrived. The cost of a hotel or Airbnb would have been huge, considering the number of weeks I had to stay there before I got our residence.
I got to Bournemouth in late January 2022 and my family (husband and 10-year-old son) came in April.
I did get a 2-bedroom furnished apartment in the beautiful Westbourne area, which has a variety of businesses and shops around (Iceland, Tesco Express, M&S foods, Westbourne Grills, Westbourne Bookshop, Post Office, several places to eat, several charity shops, Boots, GP surgery, eye and dental clinics, interior designs, and fashion shops) and 3 minutes walk to the bus stop.
Here are some of my usual tips for getting accommodation suitable for families:
- The university has limited accommodation for families. Halls of residence are single occupancy only. You will need to seek private accommodation via agencies or landlords.
- Recommended websites when searching for accommodation: rightmove.co.uk, zoopla.co.uk, openrent.co.uk, spareroom.co.uk, onthemarket.com.
- Most agencies and landlords do require you (or joint income with your spouse) to have a job that can cover your monthly rent. Else, they could request for a UK home-owner guarantor, 6 months rent upfront. I paid 6 months upfront as I had not gotten a job then.
- You will also need to pay agency fees, if applicable and security deposits. Please request your deposit be paid into a government-approved deposit protection scheme and collect your certificate. This prevents issues when your tenancy ends.
- Do sign a tenancy agreement which you should have read properly. There are clauses around number of adults allowed to stay in the house, pets, tenancy renewal or termination. If property is furnished, ensure you get a list of items and review the condition and quantity of items with the agent or landlord. You might want to take pictures. I did!
- A studio or one-bedroom apartment will be suitable for couples. If you have children, depending on their ages and gender, 2-bedroom apartments and above are what you will be allowed to take. Children older than ten of different genders are usually not allowed to share a bedroom. Teenagers are recommended to have their rooms different from younger siblings. Please give appropriate details of your family to the agent or landlord
- If you will be getting a car, you will need to consider parking space in your search or you might have to add that to your expenses.
- There are different bills to be paid when running the household. Energy bills (gas and electricity) are paid monthly. Have a minimum budget of £100 per month for the warm seasons and almost twice that for cold seasons for a family of 3 due to the need to heat the house. TV license is paid monthly, quarterly or annually via direct debit on your account or a credit/debit card. Internet bills depend on the provider, costs are about £26 per month for a good one with an unlimited data plan. As a student, you are exempted from Council tax, but your spouse will need to pay, if you got a joint tenancy. Other bills could include water, car insurance and vehicle tax (if you have a car), etc. I chose the direct debit option for all my bills. I just make sure I have the account funded and most are deducted around the same time. I do card and online transactions as a matter of preference.
- If you can, do get an accommodation that is close to bus routes for easy accessibility to school for yourself and your children and navigation around Bournemouth. Single, return, a whole day, weekly or monthly tickets are available. Always consult Google maps for navigation. It is always a lifesaver, especially the live view. I did get lost a few times when I first arrived.
- SUBU Advice, AskBU, and LettingsBU are available for advice and guidance should you have need for it.
- SUBU Advice was of great assistance when I needed to get my deposit refunded by the initial place I lodged when I got to Bournemouth. I did not sign a tenancy agreement and also did not know I was not required to pay a deposit for such lodging.
Bournemouth is a great place to study and live and I wish you luck on your journey and new adventures with your family.
Adebimpe Adekanmbi currently studying MSc Digital Health
Thanks for your insightful information. I want to ask if a family of four, the couple and two boys ( 1 and 4 ) can be permitted to rent one bedroom apartment