How to choose your University of Leeds accomodation

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There are many decisions that must be made when you are planning to go to university which can seem daunting! However, with our handy little guide on how to choose Leeds accommodation, the decision on where to live won’t be one of them.

Will I be guaranteed accommodation at Leeds?

The University of Leeds will guarantee accommodation to all new first year undergraduate students except those who:

  • Have applied to Leeds through clearing
  • Are undergraduate exchange students
  • Are international undergraduates

How does it work if Leeds is my firm offer?

The accommodation process for applicants who have accepted Leeds as their firm offer opens in the November before they arrive, and the application deadline is in the following July. Leeds accommodation is allocated after the deadline, so as long as you apply by then, you have the same chance as any other applicant at being allocated your first-choice accommodation.

The application process is completed via the university accommodation website, which you can log into using your UCAS number. Once you’re logged in, you can submit one preferred residence and a list of criteria which are important to you (e.g. price, en-suite etc). The university is normally able to house around 70% of students in their first-choice residence.

If you are not allocated to your first-choice accommodation then you will be placed in one that is similar based on the criteria that you list as important during your application. On results day, once your place has been confirmed, you will receive an offer of accommodation which you have 4 days to accept and pay a £200 deposit for.

How does it work if Leeds is my insurance offer?

The University of Leeds also guarantees accommodation to students who obtain a place at Leeds through an insurance offer, but in this case, you cannot apply until A-level results day. This means that it’s much less likely that you’ll be housed in your preferred residence.

How does it work if I get my place at Leeds through clearing?

Although students who apply through clearing aren’t guaranteed University of Leeds accommodation, they are still given the option to apply. If the university doesn’t manage to house them, the university will still help them to find appropriate accommodation.

What if I don’t want to live in university halls?

Most first year students will live in one of the many university hall residences that are offered , but if you don’t think that living in university halls is for you there are other options that you can look at. There are 21 smaller residences offered by the university which range from 4-person flats to 22-person houses. Although you won’t be living with as many people, most of these properties are located on campus so can still be very sociable.

Another option is to search for private accommodation, however it is worth considering the following factors before you do:

  • If you prematurely rent a room and then do not gain entry to the university then you will still be liable for the deposit
  • Many rooms will likely to be rented by second and third year students in advance of you obtaining your results, so there may will be limited choice by the time your place is confirmed in August

Finally, there is always the option to commute to university if you live nearby. I know many students who commuted in their first year and have continued to commute into their later years, and I myself decided to start commuting from starting second year. It is a great way to save money if you are happy to live at home and I find that my commute is a great time to do my university reading.

How do I choose which university hall to live in?

The choice of university halls can seem overwhelming at first with so many to choose between, but you can make your decision easier by considering the following factors before you choose:

  • Mix of students
  • Catered or self-catered
  • Location
  • Shared bathroom or en-suite
  • Price
  • Length of lease
  • Additional features (like gyms, music practice rooms, laundry)

Price

When it comes to rent, you will have to balance your accommodation preferences with the budget you have. Determining how much rent you will paying can be confusing as some residences offer more than one type of room e.g. shared bathroom, en-suite or even studio rooms, which are all at different prices. I would recommend that you decide what type of room you would like to live in and then compare the rents of the residences that provide rooms which satisfy your needs at the following website ‘www.acccommodation.leeds.ac.uk/compare-residences/’.

It is worth remembering that basic insurance cover, Wi-Fi, utility bills and an off-peak gym and sports membership are all included in your rent. This means that there are no hidden costs to your accommodation, so when deciding your rent budget you do not have to take unexpected and varying bills into account.

Mix of students

It is worth knowing that some halls also house students from other education institutions in Leeds. These halls offer a specified number of rooms to University of Leeds undergraduates each year and the application process is the same as for all the other halls. If you would enjoy broadening your social circle to students from other institutions then one of the following residences may be an ideal choice for you:

  • CitySide
  • Mary Morris House
  • IQ Leeds
  • James Baillie Park

Catered or self-catered

An important consideration is whether you’d like to live in accommodation with kitchens so you can cook for yourself, or in accommodation where food is provided for you.

I chose to live in a self-catered residence during my first year at Leeds and I found that it provided much more freedom as there are no meal time or food restrictions. I also found that the kitchen was a great place to socialise and that cooking for yourself can work out cheaper in the long run.

However, friends of mine who lived in catered accommodation said that they enjoyed having more free time as they didn’t have to cook for themselves and that they ate better than if they had cooked for themselves. It can also be easier to socialise with people in your halls if you’re eating together on a daily basis.

The catered accommodation service will vary dependent upon which halls you choose to live in. If you choose Lyddon Hall, Charles Morris Hall or Ellerslie Global Residence then you will eat in the refectory which is located next to the Students’ Union. In this case you will be able to purchase breakfast and dinner Monday to Friday and brunch on weekends using a prepaid Refresh Meal Card. On the other hand, if you choose Devonshire Hall then you will be provided two meals a day Monday to Saturday and a lunch on a Sunday at the residence.

The following residences are self-catered:

  • Lupton Residences
  • North Hill Court
  • Oxley Residences
  • Central Village
  • Devonshire Hall
  • Henry Price Residences
  • Leodis Residences
  • Liberty Dock
  • Montague Burton
  • Sentinel Towers
  • The Tannery
  • CitySide
  • Mary Morris House
  • IQ Leeds
  • James Baillie Park.

And these ones are catered:

  • Charles Morris Hall
  • Devonshire Hall
  • Ellerslie Global Residence
  • Lyddon Hall

Contract length

As a student you will get lovely long summers off and so, unless you plan to live in Leeds during the summer, I would recommend looking for shorter contract durations as this will reduce the number of weeks that you are paying for Leeds accommodation without actually living there. All the catered accommodation options offer 39-week contracts as standard and most self-catered residences will offer 42-week contracts as standard. Central Village, The Tannery, City Side and Mary Morris House are the exceptions to this rule, as they are self-catered residences with 43-week contracts.

Location

Leeds Accommodation tends to be located either on campus, in the city centre, in Headingley or in Hyde Park. While accommodation on campus means that your commute to lectures and labs will be shorter, living further out has the advantage of cheaper rent and escaping the university bubble!

If you are unlikely to get up in time for a half an hour commute then you may be better off finding accommodation that is closer to campus. While rent can be cheaper when you live further out, increased travel costs from taking the bus into lectures means that you won’t necessarily spend less money overall. Take the time to research how far you will have to commute from your residence and how much money it will cost before making your decision.

The cheapest Leeds accommodation which is on campus is Henry Price Residences, however, there are many which are off campus but only a short walk away.

Last year I lived on campus and I enjoyed being close to the city and being able to go home between lectures, whereas those who lived off campus were not able to. However, I know other students who loved living in Headingley as it is a thriving student area, and they spent more time with friends during the day as they couldn’t go home as easily.

Shared bathroom or en-suite

Shared bathroom accommodation tends to be cheaper than if you opt for an en-suite room. If you do want to go for an en-suite but would like to keep your costs as low as possible then Oxley residences is the cheapest accommodation which offers en-suite rooms. However, it is also worth knowing that Henry Price residences offer ‘Jack and Jill’ rooms where there is one bathroom in between two adjoining rooms – this is great if you don’t want to share a bathroom with many other students but would also like to reduce your rent costs.

Additional Facilities

Laundry

Every residence has way for you to do your laundry on site. If you would like to have a washer and dryer of your own, I would suggest taking a look at Mary Morris house where every flat has a washer and dryer.

Communal spaces

Most sites have some form of common room/s which house a wide variety of activities from Sky TV and Nintendo Wii to table tennis and pool tables. The only halls which don’t have common rooms are Henry Price Residence, Liberty Dock, Lupton Residence and Montague Burton.

Lupton Residence, Oxley Residence, Devonshire Hall, Leodis Residence and Montague Burton offer BBQ areas which are great ways to socialise on warmer days.

Parking

If you would like to bring your car to university, bear in mind that there is very limited car parking availability, so prepare to apply for a permit pretty speedily once your accommodation has been confirmed!

The sites which offer parking permits are:

  • Lupton Residence
  • North Hill Courts
  • Oxley Residence
  • Devonshire Hall
  • James Baillie
  • Leodis Residence
  • Liberty Dock
  • Montague Burton
  • Sentinel Towers

If you want to bring a bike to university, you are in luck as every residence, with the exception of James Baillie, has a secure cycle storage area.

Gym and sports facilities

As part of your undergraduate rent agreement you will receive an off-peak gym and sports membership which can be used at The Edge, which is the on-campus gym. The following residences also offer an on-site gym:

  • Oxley Residence
  • Central village
  • CitySide
  • Devonshire Hall
  • IQ Leeds
  • Liberty Dock.

Finally a few extra facilities to take into account are that there are on-site supermarkets at Central Village and The Tannery, tennis and squash courts at Devonshire Hall and for the musicians out there Lupton Residence, Oxley Residence, Devonshire Hall, Ellerslie Global Residence and Lyddon Hall offer music practice rooms.

What if I end up in accommodation that I don’t like?

If you do end up not liking your accommodation there is sometimes the opportunity to move during the year as other rooms become available. If you do decide to move, you should just let the accommodation office know, and they will do their best to help you out. University is great fun and no matter where you live you will have an excellent time.

Written by - Olivia O.

Studies Economics at Leeds University