So, you’ve not got a halls space for one reason or another, don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world!

There is unfortunately a lack of space for freshers at the University at the moment, however, the problem is being rectified with new halls being built in the city centre, at Chamberlain and an extension of the Liberty Point site. But how does this help you? Well don’t worry, below are a few tips for students that have to go into private rented accommodation.

1) Firstly, join your Private Rented JCR Facebook group . These guys are here to help you. When I was a Fresher, I was also in private rented accommodation and going out with the Private Rented guys in Freshers week was a lot of fun and I found a lot of people in my situation which was very useful.

2) If you didn’t make the open day at the end of August to find housemates, again there are still plenty of spaces available; look on the Facebook group, look on SASSH and ask around in subject groups, you will find somewhere.

3) I would say the best area to live would be Portswood. For first years, it’s a great location for everything that you’ll need from supermarkets to shops, pubs, buses and it’s only a 15min walk max to the University’s Highfield Campus.

4) Really check up on letting agents before you sign with them. I went with an agency who charged me ridiculous amounts of money for contract fees and taking the property off the market fees which shouldn’t have been the case. Don’t get ripped off! Check out SUSU’s survey here for more info.

5) Make sure your house deposit is put into a deposit protection scheme as it is illegal if landlords don’t.

6) Shop around for your bills; make sure you get the best deals!

7) When term starts, really utilise your house, invite friends round, get to know your neighbours (even though they may well be second or third years or even locals!). If your house is in a good location in Portswood, you’ll find that it will be the perfect place for pre-drinks when heading to the infamous Jesters or Sobar.

8) Make sure you get involved with some sort of extra-curricular activity on campus, don’t become isolated. The Bunfight on the 25th September showcases all the student groups at the university and is a perfect opportunity to find something that you may be interested in doing.

9) Unless you really want to, I would advise not to buy a bus pass for the year. They are very expensive and you’ll find (depending on where you live) that most places in Southampton are within walking distance. That money will come in handy!

I had a brilliant time in first year because I didn’t let it hamper me. I also found that private rented accommodation is, more often than not, cheaper than halls. Just remember that being Private Rented will not ruin your time here!

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