When to start looking
- As a first-year student when should I start looking for accommodation?
- As a returning student when should I start looking for accommodation?
- Why have a start date for house hunting?
A: If you are applying for University or College accommodation, then you need to return your application forms by the relevant deadline. An application for accommodation will normally be sent to you when you have confirmed that you intend to study at that institution. If you are in doubt about the procedure, look on your Accommodation Office Website or telephone them and ask.
If you want to live in private sector accommodation, or if you have not been able to get a University or College provided room then start looking as early in the summer as possible. Students who are reliant on A-level results will have to wait until mid-August before they can look, but others don’t. So if you’re in a position to look for a house before mid-August, do it. There will also be local factors which affect when existing students start looking for the following letting year.
A: If you want to remain in, or move back to, University or College accommodation then you need to contact your Accommodation Office just before you leave for Christmas and see what their system for returners is. If you want a short let, contact them at any time of the year and they maybe able to help, depending on when you want to live there.
You are likely to come under early pressure from the private sector to start looking for accommodation for the next letting year as early as November or December. This pressure will largely involve alarmist messages that all the good properties are snapped up at this time of year for the following year. Beware – this is marketing puff to suck you in to paying over the odds. Also, the earlier you look for a house, the longer the period you will be expected to pay rent for. Although there is some element of local custom and practice, the bona fide house-hunting season doesn’t get going until February or March, and we recommend that you hold off signing up until at least this time.
About a quarter of returning students finalise their arrangements with the owner (including signing the contract) in March to come in to effect on 1 July for a full 52-week let (although sometimes there are summer rent concessions made). The rest of those who commit themselves to a full year’s let (about the same number again) sign an agreement in April, May and June (but mostly May) before the third term.
A: Having a start date:
- stops confusion between students wanting to rent properties now and for next year;
- gives all owners (both large and small) an equal starting date for marketing their properties;
- allows advice and information delivery to be given to all students at all institutions;
- ensures that there is a decent amount of comparable property for students to choose between;
- increases choice and transparency in the letting market;
- will always fit in with the inter semester system and enable students to look for housing after they have taken their inter semester examinations.
The student unions at both Bradford University and Bradford College, will, alongside Unipol, be advising students not to rent before the official start date.