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Living Off Campus: What you need to know

What defines off campus living?

Living off campus simply means that the accommodation you are living in is not owned by the university. This could be in a student house or flat, your own home, or in private student accommodation such as Future Generation’s. 

Definitions on different types of Student Accommodation:

  • Student house/ flat: Houses that are owned by landlords, where you will usually rent a room from a landlord within a HMO (house of multiple occupancy), you are required to pay the bills on the property and will share the house with other people, this can be with either  friends or strangers but effectively means you are in a houseshare.
  • A Private rental: a house or flat rented by you, you will be required to pay bills at this property. 
  • Halls of residence: Halls of residence or “uni halls” are divided up like large flats, with private bedrooms and shared kitchens & living areas on each floor. There are often multiple options for rooms in halls of residence for example en-suite rooms and studio apartments. These buildings are exclusively for university students and can be university or privately owned. 
  • Private student accommodation: These are purpose-built accommodations exclusively for students, often managed by private companies. They typically include all-inclusive bills, on-site amenities such as gyms, study rooms, and social spaces, and often feature organised social events. These accommodations provide a community environment similar to university halls but are usually not owned by the university.

Is it better to live on or off campus?

That really depends on you and what you want from your accommodation. It’s a good idea to get a full picture of all your options before making a decision. Off campus can be the best option for you depending on your priorities. We are going to go through some pros and cons to help you decide what might be the best fit for you.

Benefits of living on campus:

The main benefits of living on campus are:

  1. Mostly first year students: Many Students choose this option in their first year of university. Which means you will be surrounded by students at similar stages in their university life, if you are entering university as a first year.
  2. Social Opportunities: Living on campus provides opportunities to meet new people and make friends, fostering a sense of community. However, this is also true for private student accommodations.
  3. Shorter Commute: As you are on campus the commute can be shorter meaning you are closer to facilities such as the university library, lecture halls and sports facilities. This is not always the case, so it’s best to look at the location of the accommodation before applying.
  4. Access to Resources: Some on campus options have facilities such as meal plans, study lounges, events, and academic support services
  5. Safety Measures: Universities typically have robust security measures, including CCTV, security personnel, and controlled access to buildings.

Benefits of living off campus:

Living on campus may not be for you and it’s important to assess your options when it comes to university accommodation. Most people will choose living on campus for simplicity, believing that it’s the easiest and most convenient option, especially when you don’t know anyone. However, living in off campus accommodation absolutely has its perks and is worthwhile considering:

  1. More amenities: There can be more amenities available at off campus accommodations. For example, Future Generation offers an onsite gym or fitness studio, games rooms and Samsung TV in every student room, at all of its locations.
  2. More options: Often there are more options available for off campus accommodation for example studio flats, student houses, deluxe rooms and en-suite rooms.
  3. En-suite rooms: we are going to mention this one twice because having access to your own bathroom can be extremely comfortable
  4. Independence: Off campus accommodation often gives you more independence and privacy than campus accommodation.
  5. Quiet environment: Potentially quieter and less hectic environment, which can be conducive to studying and relaxation.
  6. Diverse social network: Living off-campus can help you build a more diverse social network, including relationships with non-students and local residents.
nottingham university

Is it cheaper to live on or off campus?

It depends. Some off campus accommodations will be cheaper than what your university offers and vice versa. Shared houses and flats for example are often cheaper than any halls of residence. However on top of rent you would have to pay bills, which are covered in the cost of halls of residence. 

There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which will be cheaper; for example:


  • City Cost of Living: The cost of living in the city where you are studying can significantly impact whether on-campus or off-campus accommodation is cheaper.
  • Commute Costs: Consider the average cost of commuting to and from university. Living further away might mean higher transportation expenses.

Rent and Bills

  • Rent Costs: Compare the rent prices of off-campus accommodation with those of on-campus options. Some private student accommodations will be slightly more expensive than living on campus in a house share, however these can often be offset once you factor in all of the amenities that are included.
  • Bills and Utilities: On-campus accommodation often includes bills (electricity, water, internet) in the rent, while private student housing will require you to pay these separately. You can generally try and keep these low by splitting between people. However with electricity and gas prices going up, it can be challenging to find a house share where everyone is on the same page about electricity and gas consumptions, resulting in higher than wanted bills.

On the other hand, private student accommodation like Future Generation, will include bills in your weekly/monthly rent so you don’t need to worry about the cost changing and you can take full advantage of regulating your room temperature to one that suits you best.


  • Onsite amenities: For someone who likes to go to the gym, it might be beneficial to look at private accommodations with an onsite gym. Not only does this mean that you will have one less monthly cost to budget for as it’s included in your rent, but you can also workout when most convenient for you and also in complete safety. Looking for a late night workout? No problem – just head down to your onsite gym.
  • Facilities on offer: Evaluate the facilities offered by both on-campus and off-campus options, such as laundry services, study rooms, and common areas. These will influence your experience at university, especially when your workload starts increasing.

Additional Costs

  • Food and groceries: On-campus meal plans can sometimes be more cost-effective than buying groceries and cooking at home, but this depends on individual eating habits.
  • Furnishing and maintenance: On-campus housing is usually fully furnished and maintained by the university, whereas if you are renting a house it may require you to buy furniture and handle some of the maintenance.
Steel City Sheffield Gym

Do you have to live on campus in your first year?

No. You can choose an off campus option if you would prefer. 

A lot of UK university students tend to live on campus in halls of residence during the first year as it offers a good opportunity to meet new people and make friends, but also because it’s an easy option. A lot of city based universities only offer halls of residence to their first year students or exchange students. 

However, on campus is not your only option. There are private halls of residence available in most university cities or towns. As these accommodations are privately owned you can stay at these halls all the way through your university life, from first year onwards. You can also move to these halls at any point during your time at university. 

If you would like to live on campus but have missed the opportunity due to there being limited spaces available, student accommodation builds, like the ones offered by Future Generation, offer a similar accommodation experience. Whereby you will be surrounded by other students and able to socialise and make friends with a wide range of people, giving you a similar, but a little more sophisticated first year experience. 

Other options include student houses, flats, your own home, really anywhere so long as you are able to attend in-person lectures as required!

Everything you need to know about living off campus

Off campus living doesn’t only mean moving into a house. Private halls of residence such as those offered by Future Generations can be a first step in your off campus journey. As a resident you are able to use all the facilities we offer at your accommodation as well as many more perks. Some real benefits of private halls include:

  1. Hassle free renting where all cost is covered in the rent
  2. Many amenities and facilities such as gyms, TV rooms, game rooms, private kitchens, study rooms ,  Laundry and security services are available on site. Making them extremely easy to access.
  3. Socials are likely to be planned by the private halls of residence so they could be a great way to make friends.
student life at future generation - student party

If you are looking to move away completely from halls of residence, student houses or apartments can be a great option. Here is what you need to know!

Moving to a student house/flat:

Most city-based universities have “student areas” where many students live. It’s a good idea to find out where these areas are by talking to older students, checking forums, or looking online.

What are the Steps to Renting a Student House/Flat?

  1. Establish a Budget: Discuss and agree on a comfortable monthly rent with your friends.
  2. House Hunting: Use rental sites like Rightmove, Zoopla, or SpareRoom. Filter your searches by budget and rooms. Top Tip 1: Look for 1-year tenancies, as they are more likely to accept students. Top Tip 2: If you’re looking to join a house share alone, SpareRoom is a great site to use.
  3. Contact Estate Agents: They may have more houses that fit your criteria and can show them to you.
  4. Apply for the House You Love!
  5. Sign the Tenancy Agreement: This outlines the rules and rent payment schedule. Top Tip: You’ll usually need a guarantor who can provide proof of their ability to pay your rent if needed.
  6. Pay Your Deposit: This is refundable at the end of your tenancy if there are no damages. Top Tip: Take photos of everything when you move in to document pre-existing damages and make sure you are not charged for any damages you did not do.
  7. Council tax: As a student, you are not required to pay council tax, so long as you are on a full-time course. This includes PhD, masters, and undergraduate students. If you are living with non-students in a shared house, your housemates may also be eligible for a 25% discount on their council tax.
  8. Sign on for Bills: You are responsible for bills like electricity, gas, wifi, and water. Your house will come with contracts however you can switch suppliers if you find better rates. Top Tip: Account for high bill costs due to the UK’s Cost-Of-Living crisis.
  9. Handle Problems: Contact your landlord or estate agent for issues like leaky taps or broken boilers.
  10. Get Back Your Deposit: Take photos before moving out. To ensure everything is how you found it. Once you have left the landlord or agent will inspect the property before returning your deposit.

What if….

If you encounter any issues while renting, your university’s support team for student rental issues can help and guide you through the process.

Student houses are a great way to start your rental journey, but they are not for everyone. If this option doesn’t sound right for you, there’s plenty of other options out there for you to choose from!

International Students and Student Accommodation:

You can rent in the UK with a valid visa, but it may be hard to apply for bills without a UK credit rating. Landlords might also require upfront rent payments as international guarantors can make the process more complicated.

Private House Vs Private Student Accommodation

Private Student Accomodation


  • All Inclusive bills
  • On-site amenities (gyms, laundry and TV rooms)
  • Security and maintenance services
  • Organised social events


  • Generally more expensive
  • Less privacy
  • Less freedom to choose housemates
  • Stricter rules/regulations

Who this might suit:

  • First Year Students
  • People who are new to the area
  • Students looking for convenience
  • People who enjoy organised social activities.

Student House/Flat


  • More Independence & privacy
  • Often cheaper rent
  • More Space
  • Freedom to choose housemates


  • Responsible for bills
  • Maintenance issues can be expensive and cause hassle
  • Longer commute to campus

Who this might suit:

  • Independent individuals
  • Students on a budget
  • Groups of friends
  • People who know others are moving into student houses.