First Year BA Hons Film Production student, Lucy Rollinson-Payne, shares her top tips and advice on finding accommodation for your first year.

There are few things as daunting as finding student accommodation- where do you even begin?! As a first year, it’s obvious that I don’t hold all the answer, but having gone through the search myself (not that long ago!) I’m now here to provide you with some top tips which I wish I had known, and that will help make your battle with accommodation that little bit easier.


The Search

Get the ball rolling as soon as you can. It’s best to start hunting early, just so you can get it sorted and get the weight off of your shoulders. Starting early also means you won’t be any rush to make decisions; it’s always good to know that you’ve got time to look around and get your bearings in the city’s rental market. It is nice to know that you’ve got it under your belt sooner rather than later though, so don’t put it off. It can be stressful but remember, it’s also an exciting new adventure! Websites such as Right Move, Zoopla, and On The Market are great for finding a variety of properties that suit students- and Screen and Film School also have recommended letting agencies: Eightfold Property & Harringtons Lettings.

When you’re looking around a property, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you want. After all, you may end up living there, so if you have any queries – just ask! One of my top tips would be to talk to the tenants of the house as they- most likely students themselves- will tell it to you straight.


Your New Housemates

Facebook groups are a great way to find your housemates. Screen and Film School has a dedicated Facebook group for students starting their studies in September, as well as a group that’s partnered with one of their recommended letting agencies, Eightfold.

Once you’ve chosen the people you’ll be living with, my biggest tip would be to make a group chat. This will give you a chance to get to know them better, plan ahead for house admin (rooms choices and bills etc) and also potentially arrange a date for everyone to meet each other, ideally in the city you’ll be studying in. Meeting each other before moving in can really help calm your nerves- I did this and it was definitely the best idea I had as it made it really easy on moving day and took away any awkwardness. It definitely put me at ease too and made it not so scary in the lead up to moving to a new city.


House Admin

Now remember, almost all students are in the dark about how to deal with bills and house admin – you are not alone! It’s sort of a learn-as-you-go deal but you definitely learn quickly, and most things that you don’t know are a quick google away. If bills aren’t included in your rental, make sure you sort them out as soon as you move in. It helps to be looking out for the best deals before you move, so you have a general idea of what’s what! Remember, it can get expensive quickly without you even realising it, so saving a few extra pounds by finding some quality deals will be a life saver.

It’s a good idea to establish expectations with your housemates in your first couple weeks about who will be dealing with what in the house. Setting up a chore rota, or agreeing on certain days that you all get involved with the cleaning, can really help to keep the house feeling clean and organised, and stop any frustrations from arising when it comes to mess.


Making The House a Home

You want your room to be a comfortable and homely place, so decorate it! My top tip would be to make your room homely, but make it different from your room at home. If you’re prone to feeling homesick, you don’t want to be reminded of your old room every day.

If you’re wanting to stick things on your wall, check your tenancy agreement, and make sure to use masking tape.  This is definitely something I wish I knew before getting Blue Tac all over my walls – masking tape doesn’t leave a trace! Honestly, if you take anything from this blog post… masking tape!

In the most ideal circumstances, your housemates become your second family. Spend time with them and create a nice environment for all of you to live in. The atmosphere of a place is just as important as the physical house itself, especially for your mental health. Don’t isolate yourself, as that is very easy to do particularly in times of change and stress. Check in with each other and open up a conversation about how everyone is doing and adjusting.

Remember, you’re only a university student once, so make memories and enjoy it! Find that work/play balance and you’ll have the best time. Finding a place to live in a brand new city can seem daunting and stressful, but it really doesn’t need to be. Along with these tips, the Screen and Film School have a great accommodation guide with all of the best numbers and names you’ll need, and remember that the admissions team is always on hand for any questions you have.


Happy house hunting!