Student housing & student accommodation

Two young people are sitting at a table with their laptops talking and smiling in student housing

University life equals shared student accommodation. But what’s the best option for you: life in the halls or in student housing? We’ve put together a brief guide to uni accommodation to help you decide.

Student halls

What are student halls?

Student halls, aka halls of residence, are the first type of student accommodation most of us encounter at uni. They tend to be a shared living space and kitchen with private bedrooms. Sometimes there are shared bathrooms and showers, sometimes the rooms have en-suites.


Halls of residence are one of the most popular types of student accommodation, they’re usually a great place to socialise and make lots of new friends. They’re located in places where there will be lots of other students around, so you’ll feel like you’re part of uni life. The best ones have their own bars and common rooms too. The bills are included in the fees, so it’s easier to budget during the term, and you get cleaners who come in regularly.


Halls can be noisy if you need to actually do some studying, and if you’re used to looking after yourself you may find the rules and regulations a bit nanny-ish or patronising. There might be canteens nearby but otherwise you’ll need to do your own cooking. Plus, not everyone gets on with each other all the time.

Shared houses

What are shared houses?

In case you’re completely new to the idea, shared houses are basically houses that are rented out to groups of students. It’s mostly like renting a regular house but can be a little bit cheaper and sometimes has locks on the bedroom doors.


You can choose to live with people you know and like (even if you do fall out later after discovering their disgusting eating/drinking/hygiene habits). You get to do pretty much as you please, with no stroppy wardens or parents to burst in and tell you off. You’ll get a bit more of a wider choice of location than with halls of residence, which might be more interesting if you’re in a big city.


You have to do all your own cooking and cleaning and pay all your bills on time. And traditionally, student houses used to be owned by dodgy landlords who didn’t look after them; hence student properties were often run-down and filthy. However, changes in the law mean things are improving – certainly when it comes to safety. Nevertheless, pick your dwelling carefully; look out for mice and damp, and avoid gloomy houses with no central heating. You might also end up in a house that’s further away from the actual uni buildings, so remember to factor in public transport costs if needed.

Things to check:

It’s really important you check the contract between you and the landlord, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, before you sign it. Check:

  • What notice period is required if you want to leave.
  • If you’re responsible for just your part of the rent, or all housemates are collectively responsible for the lot – this is the case if you have a joint tenancy. This is important as if one person decides to leave you don’t want to find yourself making up the financial shortfall.
  • What does the contract say about summer holidays – will you still have to pay rent if you’re not there?
  • On what grounds the landlord can hold back some – or even all – of your deposit. If you were not responsible for the damage, will you still have to pay for it?

Student village

What is a student village?

A student village is a kind of student-only residential area. The price can vary depending on how posh they are.


Somewhere between halls of residence and student houses lies a student village. While you get the cheaper rent (bills included) of halls, you also get a little more independence and privacy. You can opt to live in quiet areas of the student village if you prefer, or stay in the party zone.


This accommodation is self-catering, so whilst you can eat when you want, you have to go to the supermarket and cook yourself! Student villages can also be quite a trek from campus, and watch out for those with no cash points for miles – though these days most are serviced with plenty of amenities.

Living at home

And finally, with uni getting more and more expensive, living at home with a parent or guardian is becoming more and more popular.


Living at home comes with some great advantages, if you’re lucky you might get meals cooked and paid for. You’re also likely to pay way less rent (or none!), and if you get on with your folks then you won’t need to worry about clashing with your housemates or getting homesick at uni.


Moving into student accommodation can be the first step towards moving out of your family home and building some independence. If you’re keen to spread your wings as soon as possible, this could be a good opportunity to get out from under your family’s noses. Obviously if you find your family difficult to live with it’s unlikely that you’ll be very happy living there as a student. Plus, you’ll need to be more considerate with stuff like going out and socialising, meeting people, relationships and so on. Bringing people back to your parents’ place can be a little trickier than bringing them back to your student halls or house. Check out our guide to how to survive living with parents for some tips!

Next Steps

By The Mix Staff

Updated on 27-Oct-2023