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Living away from home

The advantages and disadvantages of living in Halls vs Houses

16 May 2022

When considering your accomodation, the two most common options for students are student houses or flats in private or university-run accomodation. In this blog I will highlight some of the key advantages and disadvantages of both of these options, hoping to aid you in making the most informed choice when deciding where to live at university.

There are many upsides to renting a student house, formost of which being that its more spacious nature and that you can make it feel far more homely than most flats. Blocks of flats tend to have quite strict rules on things such as posters and additional lights, limiting the amount of customisation available to the occupants, whereas a house allows far greater freedom. This in itself can lead to more disputes between housemates, when multiple rooms could get messy rather than simply the culprit’s bedroom, however with the majority of housemates having chosen to live together, any potential animosity is usually filtered out beforehand. Houses also tend to come with TVs, a scarcely provided item in most university halls, however you do need to go through the slight complexities of working out whether you need to pay for a TV license to you use it. Sofas too are a welcome sight having lived in halls without living rooms previously. Finally, you are granted greater freedom in terms of the amount of noise you can make. Though it is not recommended that you regularly produce excessive noise, should you play instruments, record podcasts or host the occassional birthday party, houses provide greater soundproofing and fewer immediate neighbours whom you might disturb. This also works the other way round, with thicker walls protecting you from any potentially noisy neighbours.

There are some disadvantages of student houses however, most of which are administrative in nature. Payments of rent tend to be completed in large installments (usually 3 times across the year) in university flats, whereas in houses you tend to pay monthly, also having the additional complication of bills. Though the costs are often similar or even cheaper than living in flats, organising utility suppliers and managing varying bills can be difficult, though it is a valuable skill that will help prepare you for housing later in life. Choosing your university accomodation at Cardiff may seem a little daunting at first, however the university’s system is very simple compared to renting a house through an agency. Having said this, they aim to make things as easy as possible for students and often act as a third party to facilitate agreements between landlords and students. It is highly advised that you read other students’ reviews on agencies and individual properties before entering into any agreements, with the same being said for making sure a parent or guardian examines contract paperwork prior too. Halls tend to offer greater opportunity to meet new people and make friends, simply due to your proximity with a greater number of students. Though you can always make friends with your neighbours when living in a house, sometimes they won’t be students, either way it’s best to stay on their good side. Overall, both houses and halls have their strengths and weaknesses, but put simply: houses offer more freedom and space, whilst halls offer less hassle and reliable utilities, cleaning and support from the university.