When coming to Sheffield, students have two main options for accommodation - living in accommodation that is owned or managed by a University and private sector houses or apartments. For many international students it can feel a bit overwhelming as to which is the right option, so here are my five tips recommended by Steve Timmins, Marketing and Communications Manager, Accommodation and Commercial Services at the University of Sheffield, UK:
Use reputable sources when looking for accommodation - University’s Accommodation Office can help you with any queries about booking University owned accommodation, whilst Smart Move Sheffield, another team within the University, can help you look for private sector housing. All properties listed by Smart Move Sheffield have been inspected by Sheffield City Council and meet an approved standard. If you have specific housing needs and require further advice during your time as a student, the Student Advice Centre is also there to help.
Check what’s included in the rent - Some accommodation might seem cheap but won’t include your bills. Think about how much heating, electricity, and internet might cost and add this to the weekly rent. With University accommodation, all your bills are included in the rent price, so there are no surprise costs, making it an ideal choice for new students.
Find the ideal location - With University accommodation students can be offered several different locations so there’s something to suit everyone. There’s accommodation close to the city centre and other locations just a short 20-minute walk away with more outdoor spaces and parklands. Sheffield has great public transport links and is a popular city for cyclists, so even if an accommodation is further away it’s still easy to get to your lectures.
There is no shortage of accommodation in Sheffield - There’s no need to rush and there is something for everyone! Whilst it's a good idea to arrange your accommodation before you come to the UK, if your course lasts for more than a year, you don’t have to arrange the next year’s accommodation during your first few months here. If you feel under pressure from a letting agent or landlord, speak to Smart Move Sheffield or the Student Advice Centre about your options.
Check before you sign anything - Contracts are complicated, legally binding documents so make sure you understand what you are committing to before you sign. Organisations such as the ones mentioned above will be more than happy to check your contract before you sign.