In my first year at University of Central Lancashire I lived in the cheapest, and subsequently worst flat I could find. This was a two-storey cesspool, riddled with constant dirt, depravity and delinquents. I shudder when I think back to the horrendous state of the kitchen and the layers of grime on the crockery, which was soon to be thrown out of the window by my morally repugnant flatmate.
How far my life has improved now I’m working as a professional writer. I now live in a 2- storey cesspool, riddled with constant dirt, with a morally repugnant flatmate – but in London. Perhaps the standard of private accommodation in Preston has improved since the BBC’s move to Media City, Salford, in 2011. Perhaps it hasn’t.
My second year accommodation was equally messy, but much more fun. The 16 male friends I lived with provided mess and amusement in equal measure. One time we thought a flatmate had moved out and we did what all self-respecting students would do. We got out a large sword and smashed the plates he’d left into a million pieces for no apparent reason. It turned out he’d just gone to the shops with his parents, and it was a struggle to explain our actions to his beleaguered mum and dad.
For my third year, I lived in a smaller house, which was much nicer, but still fun. Win, win. I’ve not experienced this again since moving to London. Student accommodation ranges dramatically with places in halls of residence much more closely moderated. For instance, the oven I had in first year that barely worked, would have been replaced by the University, had I been in halls. My landlord instead just opted to turn his phone off. There are some real horror stories from students and my experiences could have been worse.
My meagre £42 per week rent in first year would certainly not be found anywhere now. The largest student accommodation is 33 floors high and towers over London’s Spitalfields Market. The amazing views, the plasma TVs, broadband internet and gym are overshadowed by the whopping £14, 280 a head rent. So this venue is surely only for the rarely found ‘ultra-rich student’ with a spare £15k lying around.
My University landlords never cared about balancing profits with service. When looking for private student accommodation, keep an eye out for landlords who claim they’ll make renovations before you move in. In my experience these renovations never seemed to happen. However, despite the chaos and mess, my University flat-shares were a lot of fun and I met some interesting characters that I wouldn’t have done if I’d have lived in University halls of accommodation.
Written by Martin Stocks | @Stocks1986