Finding accommodation for postgraduates can sometimes be doubly hard than for undergraduates. All year round accommodation can sometimes be limited, the institution may not have policy to guarantee accommodation to all UK/EU full time postgraduates (as international students are normally given priority). If a new postgraduate does not get accommodation then they are left in difficulty leading up to the start of their course to find their own accommodation outside the institution. Such a situation can be so bad that it is not unheard of for a postgraduate to withdraw from their course to seek a more appropriate location. The situation is particularly severe for students arriving from another EU country when they have not had the opportunity to find accommodation before they arrive and hope for the best when they do while living in temporary accommodation. Although this guide does not solve all the problems, it at least gives some guidance on where to start looking.
Where can one look?
The first place to look is the website of the accommodation office or to get in touch with them. They may well have a useful list of contact details of available properties for rent, bed sit rooms, lodgings and contacts of local student housing agencies. If you are able to visit the institution before you start, you may find they provide notice boards and other means to contact people with accommodation places available.
Links to some typical student housing agencies are the following:
Other places to look are the local paper where classified advertisements will be available. Your student representative body is also worth consulting. They may well provide notice boards, or even online bulletin boards of students with accommodation or those seeking people to live with. An online page linking to all student representative body websites is at http://www.uk250.co.uk/StudentsUnion/.
Finding a Housemate
Many students seeking accommodation may be searching for others to live with also, since that may be more preferred than lodging with a landlord or landlady. Accommodation offices may also provide means through which to contact others or possibly even have open days where new postgraduates can come to meet others seeking people to live with and then go ahead to seek a property. The viability of this solely depends on whether appropriate people will be met on the day and whether accommodation is then that easily available.
For those not able to get to the institution and find accommodation before they arrive, there is a helpful website, http://www.housematesintroduced.co.uk. This website provides an introduction service, while at the same time preserving confidentiality until you are happy to share contact details with the person you have met. Using such a service can significantly improve the costs and time taken to seek new people to live with. Once housemates have been sought they can then seek accommodation as appropriate using the above tips.
Postgraduates with a spouse/partner or a family may have further difficulties in finding the accommodation they require. This can have a number of difficulties especially where institutions often advise prospective postgraduates not to bring their family with them due to the lack of accommodation available. Many are unwilling to do this and so have difficulties in finding the accommodation they require within the same town/city. Other letting agencies often have to be consulted, as opposed to student letting agencies who will often deal with house share or bed sit accommodation. Again, accommodation offices can advise of such agencies, as sadly there do not appear to be any websites online at present dedicated to student family accommodation.