before you rent for 2021/22

Why not wait until later in the spring...

Normally at this time of year we would start encouraging students to think about accommodation for the next academic year. With the announcement of the national lockdown in early January, limits on travel for essential reasons only and many students learning from their vacation accommodation, we're not following our normal housing calendar this year. 

But can I get started now?

If you haven't started looking for your accommodation for next year then that's fine. There's really no need to rush. We have a very good supply and variety of accommodation in Norwich and we don't expect this to change. There will be still be housing options available when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. 

We're also asking you not to attend in-person viewings at the moment. This is unless you need accommodation within the next month. Travel to a viewing for accommodation for the next academic year would not be classed as essential travel. You can read our update on viewings here

In the meantime, grab a coffee and spend some time looking at our house hunting information below. 

Living with best friends can be a joy and the start of a lifelong friendship but sometimes living with your best friends doesn’t always work out. Our advice team often see students who have fallen out with their housemates, sometimes before the contract has even started and once you have signed the contract there's often no getting out.

When deciding who to live with make sure you get to know any potential housemates. We might not want to admit it but we all have bad habits so now is the time to talk openly about these. Some habits can be ok at first but when you start living together they can get magnified. To help take our quick a little test to help identify your needs:

  1. Are you an “owl” or a “lark”? In other words, do you prefer to stay up late or do you like to get up early?
  2. Do you prefer to party a lot or cosy nights in with Disney+?
  3. Which courses are you all studying? If you are a nursing student and on a night placement, do you want to live with the person who is up at 6:30am with the hair dryer blasting?
  4. Will you shop or cook individually or do it as a whole house (can be cheaper)?
  5. Are you ok with other people eating your food?

Most housing contracts for a group of people have ‘Joint and Several Liability’. This means everyone on the contract is responsible for each other. It doesn’t matter who broke the window or who left without paying rent, everyone is responsible. So you need to make sure you know and trust your housemates.

A great way to find people is through the Home Run message board and the uea(su) housing group on Facebook where students can post and chat about forming a group.

We also host find a housemate events to help you meet other students and our first virtual event is taking place on Wednesday 17th March. Click the banner at the top of the page for further information and to book your free ticket! We also post event details on this calendar and via uea(su)’s social media, so keep a look out!

Some students prefer to live with people they don’t know. That’s ok too, although we suggest you have some “getting to know you” meetings before you agree to live together.

Some landlords will advertise rooms on an ‘individual basis’. This means that you have your own room but you’ll probably have to share the kitchen, living room and bathroom with others in the house. This also means that you’ll have an individual contract. The advantage of this is that you are only responsible for your rent and cannot be asked to pay if others don’t. On the other hand, the landlord does not have to consult with you when they rent out other rooms in the property.

Find out about the different types of housing contracts here.

It’s probably helpful to know a little bit about the size of properties on offer in Norwich. Most properties within the student market have between three and six bedrooms. There are some bigger properties, up to eight bedrooms. Smaller properties such as those with one or two bedrooms are in relatively low supply, particularly in areas closest to UEA.

Plus there is a variety of student accommodation options, from Victorian terraces to modern Purpose-Built Student Accommodation blocks, similar to those found on the campus at UEA. If you are living with others, then get together and discuss your requirements - make a list to refer back to:

  • Do you want to live in; a house, flat or purpose-built student accommodation?
  • How will you travel to campus and placements?
  • Do you need a parking space
  • Do you need secure bike storage?
  • Which of the following are important to you - single/double beds, communal living space, en-suite facilities/number of showers and toilets, garden?

If you haven’t lived in Norwich before you might be wondering where most students choose to live? What areas are close to campus or the city centre? We can help with that too. Check out our video series ‘A guide to Norwich’. Our videos focus on the six most popular student areas in Norwich. Watch here for information on average rents, travel to campus and local amenities.

City Centre

The picturesque city centre of Norwich is right on UEA's doorstep, and its streets are packed with historic cultural sites as well as a great range of independent eateries and retailers.

West Earlham

Golden Triangle

University Ward

Riverside

Threescore

Most student housing contracts start in August or September although some will start as early as July. Most contracts are for a fixed term of 11 or 12 months.

You will be liable to pay rent as soon as your contract starts, not when you first occupy the property.

Remember don’t forget about the end date as well, as it is not normally possible to end a contract early and they are likely to cover some of the summer break.

If you are currently living on the campus then your rent will include utilities (gas, electricity and water), internet and other services such as cleaning.

In the private sector some rents include all utilities, others include one or two and some won’t include any. If utilities aren’t included remember to allow an amount on top of the rent to cover these extras. As a guide we suggest allowing an additional £50-£60 per person per month*.

*Note, this may not be sufficient for superfast fibre broadband, a phone line and TV package! Also bear in mind that your bills for utilities are likely to be higher during colder months when you have the heating on!

You might find it easier to budget with an all-inclusive rent as you'll pay a set amount each month or you might be happy to pay rent to your landlord or agent and pay suppliers directly for utilities.

Some landlords specify a whole property rent and ask you and your housemates to determine how the rent will be split. Other landlords have a set rent per room and you’ll be asked to pay the corresponding rent for your chosen room.

There isn’t a right or wrong way but whichever you choose, make sure the budget works for all the household.

Find out more about average rents by watching our 'A Guide to Norwich’ video series above. 

We'd encourage you to re-visit house hunting when the national lockdown restrictions are lifted. Despite what you may hear from others, it really isn’t necessary to arrange your accommodation now, particularly when it isn't possible to view a property in-person.

Take this time to make sure you are prepared for your search. You can read the next steps of your house hunting journey here, although this definitely doesn't mean you need to start your search now.

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