It’s a fact that living off-campus can be more fun and comfortable. But living off-campus also means that you’ll have to find off-campus accommodations that let to students. This can mean you’ll also be responsible for more than one bill.
Student housing on campus usually means you only have to pay the rent. Everything else is included in the rent. But that’s not always the case with off-campus housing. So, what bills will you probably need to cover if you live off-campus?
Off-Campus Student Accommodations
When you live off-campus, the average cost of private sector accommodations is about £148 a week for an ensuite room, or £193 for a studio.
That’s a lot of money for a student. And remember you’ll probably have to pay other bills, too.
What Utility Bills Do Students Pay?
That depends on the property. For those that have all-inclusive rent, then you only have to pay for rent, and everything else is included.
On the other hand, other accommodations will treat you more like a typical renter. In that case, you may be responsible for several bills including:
Electricity & gas: energy will be the second highest expense you’ll have to deal with living off-campus. And what you pay depends on several variables including the size of the property and which energy supplier is used. The good news is that you can choose your energy supplier.
Changing energy suppliers can save you quite a bit of money. In fact, you can go online to a site such as uSwitch and find better deals on gas and electricity. If you decide to change providers, be sure to avoid dual fuel tariffs. These allow you to pay for electricity and gas from the same supplier. This is a great way to save money.
Remember that your energy bills will be higher over the winter when the heating’s on. So, you’ll want to account for this in your budget. And if your accommodation is air conditioned, then you’ll have higher bills in the summer for cooling, too.
The day you move into your new place, be sure to take a picture of the gas and electric meter(s). This way you won’t have to pay for previous bills left by the tenant before you. In addition, choose to pay your energy bills using direct debit. This can reduce the amount paid, while also building your credit score. Plus, you won’t have to remember when the bills need to be paid! It’s done for you automatically.
Water: this is a bill where it’s not possible to change providers. However, the good news is that the water bill usually isn’t very expensive. And if you’re sharing a home, then you won’t have to pay the entire water bill.
Generally, water bills run between £200 for a 1-bedroom flat to £400 for a 4-bedroom home. One nice thing to know is that the water bill can be split over 12 months. This doesn’t cost anything extra and you can pay it with direct debit.
Broadband: as a student, you’ll need to have a broadband connection for your home. This way you’ll have an Internet connection that’s always on. Broadband providers and costs do vary from area to area. To find out what type of service/prices are available in your area, check out the postcode checker on uSwitch.
When living in a shared home, be sure to keep your contract to one year only and choose unlimited download options. This way, everyone in the house will be able to have equal access to the service when they need/want it.
TV License: what about a TV license? Are students exempt from paying this annual fee? The answer is students must pay this fee if they watch live TV broadcasts. This applies to all types of programming, not just sports that are aired live.
In general, a TV license costs about £150.50 a year for colour and live streaming. This can be paid via direct debit or credit card, TV licensing payment card, cheque, or PayPoint. Another good thing to know is that TV license may allow you to use a payment plan. You can pay in full (annually), quarterly, monthly, or choose to pay by the week.
Other Expenses to Consider
Living off-campus may mean you’ll also have to deal with some other bills. Let’s take a look.
Deposits: when you live in accommodations off-campus, you may be required to pay a deposit. This is usually about the same amount as one month’s rent. The deposit is required to cover damage and breakage that may be caused when you live there.
When looking for off-campus accommodation, be sure to choose landlords that use the mandatory deposit protection schemes. Your deposit is kept safe and secure, where the landlord is unable to touch it.
Transportation: if you’re not located within walking distance to the university, then you’ll need to factor transportation costs into your budget. You may be able to use public transport (such as bus/train services). However, if those are not possible, then you’ll either have to get a car/bike, or use other methods of travel such as Uber or Lyft.
Some transport facilities such as the train or bus offer student discounts. You may want to look into that if the bus and train are near your new accommodations. And some universities also offer free shuttles buses to and from campus. This may also be an option.
If you need a bike or car, then you’ll need to see if your budget allows for buying either one. A bike is cheaper, but you’ll want to make sure your student accommodation has a place to securely park bikes. The same goes for cars. Plus, you’ll need to see if parking near your home is free or if it is paid.
Summing It Up
These are the most common costs you’ll need to cover when it comes to your student accommodations. Living off-campus can be great but remember to consider all the costs. And don’t hesitate to see if you can find better energy deals, or even discounts on transportation. These are options that can save you a lot of money when living off-campus.