Pros & Cons of Shared Student Accommodation Vs Self-Contained Student Studio
For those attending university, or planning to do so in the near future, securing the right student accommodation is one of the single most important steps of the entire experience. However, when attempting to do this, there are a number of key decisions that need to be made, and one of these is the decision of whether to live in a self-contained studio, or in shared accommodation.
In this blog post, we consider the pros and cons of both a self-contained student studio, and shared student housing, in order to help you to make the right decision for your circumstances.
Shared Student Accommodation
First, it is important to establish precisely what is meant by shared student accommodation. Essentially, this refers to all kinds of student accommodation – including flats, houses and halls of residence – which contain two or more rooms, and where communal facilities are shared with other students.
Many students, for example, opt for a living arrangement where they share a whole property, like a 3 or 4 bedroom house, with friends. In doing do, they have a room of their own, but they share communal spaces – such as a kitchen, bathroom and lounge – with their house-mates.
Perhaps the single biggest advantage of this is related to the costs involved. Indeed, because bills are divided between multiple people and many household items can be shared, it is almost always a significantly cheaper option than living alone in a studio apartment or similar setup. Furthermore, the costs can be continually reduced by sharing with a greater number of people.
Additionally, shared student accommodation can have significant social advantages. You will be living with other people, sharing facilities, and many student house-mates who live in this way end up becoming life-long friends. It can also be an effective way to build a larger friendship circle, as you will inevitably come into contact with your house-mates’ other friends while sharing communal areas.
On the flip side, one of the biggest disadvantages of sharing student housing is the lack of privacy it provides. You may find it harder to get peace and quiet when you need it, and you may also find it difficult to share some of the common areas with other people every single day.
Meanwhile, you will also be sharing responsibility for looking after the property and adhering to the terms of your tenancy agreement. This means placing faith on other people to behave appropriately, pay bills on time, and steer clear of anti-social behaviour, or causing damage to communal areas.
It is worth mentioning that shared accommodation in the private sector is almost always allocated on a ‘bills exclusive’ basis. This means that the students pay rent, but their other bills are not included and must be managed separately. Students paying in this way are often able to receive a better deal, but it does mean they must juggle all of their bills, rather than paying a single payment.
Self-Contained Student Studio
The main alternative is to live in self-contained accommodation, such as a self-contained student studio, a one-bedroom flat, or a place in university halls of residence. The defining feature of self-contained accommodation is that there are no shared communal spaces, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
One of the biggest advantages is the independence it affords you. You will not need to share communal areas with other students, meaning you are free to make all of the decisions and are not reliant on other house-mates to live up to their end of the tenancy agreement in terms of keeping areas clean and tidy.
Regardless of whether they are in the private sector or operated by university accommodation operators, rooms to let accommodation types are more likely to offer ‘bills inclusive’ rent options. This can be advantageous for students, because it means you simply need to pay your rent and the other household bills will be covered, removing the risk of additional bills being forgotten or neglected.
With that being said, it is worth mentioning that the balance here is that ‘bills inclusive’ rent tends to be more expensive, with less room to negotiate with a landlord or accommodation operator.
Furthermore, living in a self-contained student studio offers you greater privacy than shared student accommodation. This means you will be able to obtain peace and quiet whenever you need it, and will not have to worry about noisy house-mates and their friends being in the space you want to be in. You can also take full responsibility for cleaning your accommodation, without fear of house-mates messing it up.
Perhaps the most obvious disadvantage of living in a self-contained student studio is the cost involved. Aside from the fact that ‘bills inclusive’ rent tends to be higher, it will generally be a more expensive living arrangement than sharing student accommodation. After all, if you are not sharing communal areas, you will not be sharing common household products and will need to buy them yourself.
It is also important to think about whether your chosen accommodation may have some social drawbacks too. If you share a student house with friends, you are guaranteeing regular social interactions in the communal areas, but with certain self-contained studios, it is possible you will spend more time alone.
With that being said, it is perfectly possible to retain a social element within self-contained accommodation options. For instance, both university and private halls offer a mix of room types, including standard single rooms, double rooms and en suites, while some self-contained accommodation types exist within larger buildings, which do still offer some communal or social areas.
The Final Word
Ultimately, the decision of whether to live in self-contained student accommodation or shared accommodation will depend on your own personal preferences and circumstances. Some of the factors you will need to weigh up include your maximum budget per week, the availability of the different accommodation types near your university, and whether or not you want to share communal areas.
If you are happy to share communal areas with other students, you still need to think about the number of people you are willing to share with, as there is a major difference between sharing with two other people, and sharing with five or six other people. Self-contained accommodation has the benefit of providing a greater level of privacy, but it might mean higher costs of living.
The Student Pavilion platform includes a smart search function, which allows you to easily narrow down accommodation listings, based on your needs and preferences. Therefore, regardless of whether you would prefer a self-contained studio or a shared house, you will find options to suit you.