Finding a place to stay when you’re at college can be time-consuming, particularly if you decide you don’t want to live on campus. Unless you’re lucky enough to friends or family in your college town who can put you up for free, your choices are likely to be either renting a flat or house with other students, or lodging with a landlord who has a spare room. There are a number of pros and cons to lodging rather than renting.
Pros of lodging:
It is generally cheaper – Lodging is generally cheaper than renting because landlords accept that lodgers aren’t going to have the same privacy as renters and yet many are eager to accept lodgers to help pay the mortgage. According to the Wrigglesworth Consultancy, lodging is cheaper than renting a flat for two in 82% of British cities. You may not need to find a deposit either. For students on a tight budget, lodging is therefore likely to be the most sensible choice.
You don’t have to find a group of people to live with – If you are new to the area, or don’t have a ready-made group of friends with whom to share a house or flat, you will need to find people willing to share the rent with you. Lodging negates that necessity, because you can simply take a room with a landlord who is prepared to rent out a room in his or her house. You will usually be able to move in at short notice and you probably won’t need to give a lot of notice when you decide to leave either.
You could meet people outside of college – If you live on campus or with a group of other students, it can be hard to meet people outside of college. However, networking is a great way to find work after college, so liaising with people who are already in the job market could be a very good move. At the very least, you will develop your communication skills by dealing with people who aren’t necessarily academics and you can broaden your horizons as a result.
You don’t have to look after a whole flat or house – Renting a flat or house means a lot of responsibility. You need to be prepared to keep it clean and to inform your landlord of any breakages in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, many students aren’t very responsible and if you happen to be in a house with people like that, you could find yourself becoming stressed because of it. When lodging, however, you are only really responsible for your own room and clearing up after yourself.
Cons of lodging:
Lack of privacy – When renting, you can pretty much shut the door at night and do exactly what you want to do, because there will be no-one to judge you. If you want to have a party, you can. When lodging, however, you are far more limited. You will be expected to be quiet and, when not in your own room, you won’t have a great deal of freedom to do what you want. You may even have a curfew, meaning that you can’t come and go as you please.
Potential difficulties with the landlord – You may not have a great deal of choice over the people with whom you lodge. If they are older, they may not appreciate a young student who likes loud music and parties late into the night. However, it is their home, so you will need to compromise at least a little bit. It is also worth noting that lodgers generally don’t have the same legal redress as renters, so you should always find out what your rights are before deciding to lodge, or you could find yourself out on the street without much notice.
You might find it hard to have friends round – If you’re lodging, you probably won’t be able to invite friends around as much as you would like and, unless your landlord is willing to turn a blind eye, the chances are that you won’t be able to have a partner stay over. Hopefully, you will be able to visit your friends in their homes, but if you can’t, then you may find entertaining friends difficult. This is something that you may wish to confirm with your landlord before deciding to lodge.
You could find yourself isolated – Depending on your personality, you could find yourself isolated from college and everything that is going on there. You will need to make a concerted effort to join in with things at college if you don’t see classmates on a regular basis, or you could end up not really making the most of college. Lodging is likely to be most appropriate for people who are confident and make friends easily; if you find it hard to make friends, staying on campus or renting with others is likely to be preferable.
Ultimately, whether you decide to rent or lodge is a personal preference. Both options have their pros and cons. Look at all factors and then decide what is best for your situation.