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The Home

Unless you are continuing to live at home with your parents while you study, the cost of running a home, whether rented or owned, is likely to be the most significant part of your budget. 

We've put together some information to help you stay on top of your household bills without facing financial pressures. 

You should also visit our lifestyle and budgeting and planning pages to help you manage your money and spending.

University Accommodation

Staying in University managed accommodation takes the worry out of household bills as the price includes internet access, electricity, heating, security and insurance. It also provides a safe and secure place to live close to campus, and is a great way to meet new friends. 

Remember that while renting privately may seem cheaper, the monthly rent won’t include anything extra. 

Take a look at our accommodation comparison to decide what's right for you.

Renting Privately

If you are considering renting privately, it is important you make your decision having all the facts about the cost. It’s not just about the monthly rent. You also need to think about any deposits, the cost of energy bills, internet and/or TV packages, and insurance. 

Use the budgeting and planning page to help you work out whether this is something you can afford to commit to, and don’t forget to consider the following factors.

Location

It is important to think about where you should live, both in terms of safety and the distance from campus. Don’t forget to consider any travel costs that might apply and include these in your budget. 

Flatmates

Be careful when choosing who you are going to live with. Think about their habits and the impact these will have on you in a shared living environment. 

If you are sharing with flatmates, this also means sharing bills. Can you trust this person to pay their fair share? 

Landlords and Letting Agents

Landlords often use letting agents to manage their properties. There are many letting agents that you can go to when looking for a place to live, but most will advertise on property websites like Rightmove or Zoopla

Landlords must be registered with the local authority. This ensures that they meet certain criteria and helps protects tenants from rogue landlords. You can check with the local authority to ensure your landlord is registered and should not rent from someone who is not.

Furnished or Unfurnished

Most students will choose to rent furnished properties, which saves on having to buy furniture. However, these are likely to be quite sparsely furnished so you may find yourself adding bits and pieces to make your home more comfortable. See below for ideas and tips that will allow you to do this without spending a lot of money. 

Responsibilities

As a tenant, you are expected to look after the property you rent, pay rent on time and tell your landlord about any repairs that are needed. You are also responsible for paying for anything you damage so make sure to factor this in to your decision. 

Deposits

Tenants are expected to pay a deposit at the start of their tenancy, as well the first month's rent up front. The deposit is usually the same as one month of rent but can be more. You should ensure you budget for this appropriately.

Credit check

Most letting agents will perform a credit check to ensure that you can be trusted to meet your monthly rent payments. This will look at your credit history, including any missed or late payments you might have on your record. See our borrowing money page for more information on how credit checks work. 

Council/housing association

This type of housing is very similar to renting privately, except that the landlord is either the council or a housing association. This type of housing is usually reserved for those who meet certain criteria when they apply, such as having a low income and being in urgent need of a home. 

Full-time students generally wouldn’t qualify to apply for this type of housing. However, many of our students are already living in this type of accommodation when they start university, or may have been on a waiting list and offered a home during their studies. 

These homes will be unfurnished, meaning tenants are responsible for the maintenance of items in the home, such as washing machines etc. It is therefore important to budget for any repair or replacements costs. 

Mortgages

If you have a mortgage when you start your course it is extremely important that you budget appropriately for making your payments. If you do not make your payments you may lose your home and your credit may be affected. If you start to struggle, you should get advice quickly. 

If you are thinking about buying a home during your studies, you should work through our budgeting page to see if this will be affordable. You should also seek independent mortgage advice before making any commitments.

Energy bills

Paying for electricity, gas or oil can be a big part of your monthly budget. While it is important that your home is warm, there are a lot of ways to reduce your energy bills. Check out our energy saving tips for more information.

The Energy Saving Trust provides comprehensive information on saving energy in the home.

Money Saving Expert offers advice on saving money on household bills.

Insurance

There are two types of insurance for your home – buildings and contents.

Only people who own their home will need to pay buildings insurance and many mortgage providers will insist that you have this. It covers the property structure and permanent fixtures and fittings.

Contents insurance covers what is in your home. If you rent privately, even a furnished property, contents insurance is an important way to be prepared for an unexpected situation. 

There are a lot of different types of cover so it is important you do your research. Money Supermarket is a comparison website that allows you to compare insurance policies to find the best deal for you.

Furniture

If you choose to rent an unfurnished home or need a little bit of extra furniture to make your home more comfortable, you don’t always have to buy new things. There are many local organisations that refresh and recycle unwanted items, even washing machines and fridges.

We've put together a list of organisations that may have what you need.

Freegle and the Furniture Reuse Network are useful websites for sourcing free furniture.

SAUWS Sustainability hub

The SAUWS Sustainability Hub provides students, staff and the wider Paisley community with good quality, second hand items that would otherwise be sent to landfill unnecessarily.

Housing Benefit

This will soon be replaced with Universal Credit.

Housing Benefit is designed for people on a low income to help them pay their rent. As a general rule, full-time students cannot usually claim Housing Benefit while they study. This is because students are expected to finance their studies and living expenses through loans and grants. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule and eligibility can also change in the summer break between years of study.

You can find more information on Housing Benefit on the benefits and tax credits page.

Council Tax

Full-time students are normally exempt from paying council tax, but you will need to prove to your council that you are a full-time student meeting the necessary criteria.

Find out more about council tax exemption on the benefits and tax credits page

Last updated: 23/08/2017

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