Hello, my name is Sourav, I'm a postgraduate student from India studying master's in data science. I live on North Road in lovely private accommodation.
Most of us moving in from a foreign country are generally stressed about the accommodation. There are many resources on the university’s web pages that cover most of the questions and help to make you feel at ease. There are two types of private accommodation - renting a whole property, or renting a shared part of the property. In most cases, landlords and letting agents look for a group of students. You can also opt for University- managed accommodation.
Positives and negatives of private accommodation
Private accommodation gives you the freedom to choose your location, which allows you to tailor it to your interests. There are always positives and negatives. Being closer to the city centre means you have better access to public transpot, shopping, banks, restaurants etc. It is also a very lively place to live! There is a study centre by the university (Virgil building) which has private and group study rooms too. This all comes at a cost though, and the closer to the city centre you are, the higher the average rent. If you don’t like too much noise and activity you can choose to stay in other parts of the Bath which will also be budget friendly. In most cases, you can find accommodation that will fit your budget.
Generally, you will find the private accommodation more spacious than other accommodation. There is a good chance you might have a nice backyard garden also if you are outside the city centre . The University is able to provide all the essential support for both university and private accommodation based on your current situation and availability. One other important advantage in private accommodation is you can choose who you are staying with - this is great if you already know other students.
Commute from private accommodation
Bath is a beautiful city, but it has lots of hills, which may be a very important factor if you are planning to cycle or walk a lot. The city has a lot to offer, it is always a pleasure to take the walking trails or cycling trails to the University. Bath has a very good connection with city buses too. Buses are run by the company 'First Bus' and they have some good offers for students. There are offers at the beginning of the year and at the beginning of the semester for yearly or one-semester bus passes.
Things you must do immediately after coming to Bath
Get a WIFI connection if not's already provided - It is very important to have internet, as most of the processes will need to be done online. Also, to connect back home for international students it is a must. There are many providers, check for the best one in your area, and choose the plan that best suits you.
Students are exempt from council tax. If the house is completely occupied by students, you can get the full exemption from the council tax. It is important to register as early as possible, if you receive a bill and have no proof of registration before the bill date you must pay the bill, and then from the next term you will have the exemption. To register, you can do it by filling in the form online in the SAMIS portal and on the Bath and North East Somerset Council webpage.
You must register with one of the gas and electricity providers. In most cases, getting a deal together for both gas and electricity from one provider is cheaper. It is a good idea to get some suggestions from the landlord or previous tenants.
Rubbish is one of the other important things that you must educate yourself on! Make sure you recylce and use the right container!
Finally, I would leave you with a five very important things to check.
1. Check with the landlord or agent if the bills are included or excluded.
2. Many agents and landlords might ask for deposits, make sure this is held in an acreddited scheme such as the DPS (Deposit Protection Service).
3. Check your contract terms exit clause and length of tenancy
4. You need a guarantor for some of the properties, if you have someone in the UK they can do it for you. Or there are many service providers who can do it with some charges.
5. Remember that the University accommodation team in on hand to help you with private accommodation queries too.