Hello people, second post for the series "How I do University?".
In the first post, I gave you some tips on how to choose your degree programme, I suppose now each one of you knows where to enroll but they don't know where to live, isn't that right?
So, not everybody will actually need to rent a place, in fact if you're living close by the university, it would probably make no sense to you. However, taken that you are more than 100km away from home, you will need a place to stay.
Some univeristies provide a dormitory service, in most of the cases you rent a room with shared bathroom and kitchen (if you want to save, you've got to take what's offered). However, I strongly recommend you to check the entry requirements and the check-in and out dates. If it's a University structure, it will probably be closed during holidays.
Check prices as well, it's not said that a dormitory is cheaper than a room.
If the university doesn't provide dormitories or such, you should get informed whether there are apartments with students rentals (they are usually cheaper than workers rentals). Since in 90% the cases you are going to deal with a private citizen, there are some points to keep in mind before signing any kind of contract or give him any money amount.
1) Is there a regular contract?
Please, distrust people which offer you a cheap, contractless apartment or house, it's not worth it. A contractless house might allow you to save 30-40€ per month on the total rent, however the lack of a contract gives you no rights. What does it mean? The landlord can kick you out whenever he wants and you have no rights to object. He can come asking you money for whatever the reason is and you'll have no subjects to object. If you try, you'll end in troubles too. See the contract for what it actually is: a form of personal safety.
2)Are bills and other utilities comprised?
Usually, most of the bills price is higher in single houses rather than apartments, however, apartments have some complex-specific expenses to be paid (stairs cleaning, elevator...). Some contracts have some or all the expenses included, you should figure out which is the best solution for your wallet.
3)Is the contract a room or apartment contract?
I'll try to simplify it as much as I could: a whole apartment's monthly rent is 800€ and you're sharing the house in four, so you pay 200€/m. If the contract is for the whole apartment, the owner needs to get 800€ at the end of the month, doesn't mater whether you are in four or one (so if a couple of your flatmates decide to go abroad for a semester you'll have to be quick to find someone to replace them). If the contract is for room, it doesn't matter how many people are inside that apartment, you are suposed to pay just 200€/m. This second situation is more common whenever there's a society which collaborates with the university in order to provide students houses at a resonable prices.
4)Single or double room?
Most of the students going out for the first time, want the single room, why? Because they'll have more private space, they can study in their own room, they can bring their boyfriend/grilfriend in without being bothered... Multiple reasons.
I've seen that abroad, the double room isn't that common, so the problem is avoided from the beginning. However, set the case that single rooms are less common than double ones (stuff that happens quite a lot in my city) this means two things: the single room is much more expensive than its double counterpart and that if you don't move earlier enough you might find none.
However, this is not the end of the world, I've been living in a double room for 5 years and neither me or my roomies ever had a single problem about it. You just need to have a civil discussion and come to simple agreements for what conserns night lights and alarm.
The "I want to study in my room" problem could be avoided thanks to study rooms and libraries. Be a respectful person, don't ever forget that.