Student accommodation - deposit at risk, rent potentially payable if miss offer = ripoff?!

(25 Posts)
homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 08:03:21

DS looking at a privately managed hall. A £250 deposit is payable on reservation. T's and C's say that this £250 is not refundable if he cancels pre 1st August. Given its his firm offer that is unlikely I suppose. However more worrying is that it says post 1st August cancellation the full year's rent is payable unless they can re-let the room. So that means if they miss the offer and take up the insurance place the rent is potentially payable which seems excessively rip-offy. Just wondering if anyone has actually been in this position and what happened?

What2 Sat 06-Feb-16 08:53:04

That does seem harsh. I don't know if it's a 'rip off' as such but it would make me think twice about using that accommodation provider.

Decorhate Sat 06-Feb-16 10:50:24

Yes seems very unfair given that results day is after 1st August. If he is really keen on those particular halls (why?) I'd phone up to clarify. If it was 1st Sept that would be more reasonable.

mummymeister Sat 06-Feb-16 12:47:09

speak to the uni admissions and accommodation people. is this a hall that they recommend? do they know about the t's and c's and are they happy with this.

tbh, it would put me off choosing this accommodation unless you have some massively compelling reason for going for it.

has the uni recommended this or is this somewhere that you have found yourselves?

senua Sat 06-Feb-16 13:10:27

Nobody in their right mind would sign up to that. Let's hope that it doesn't, but if the worst came to the worst and he missed his offer then the landlords have no incentive to re-market the room, have they?
Go to the University's own accommodation.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 13:40:45

This is one of the Uni halls (Exeter) on their website

senua Sat 06-Feb-16 14:38:47

Why does Exeter need to threaten to charge if they can't re-let the room? They are hardly undersubscribed!
Do they suffer from being CI to Oxbridge so there is a lot of admin juggling on results day. The same must apply to Durham, Warwick, etc - do they do similar.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 15:45:26

It's run by a separate company not the University but it forms part of their "offering" IYSWIM. The main advantage as I can see it is that yiu can actually choose the room/ building whereas others eg Birmingham you can express a preference but are not guaranteed to get the first choice

2rebecca Sat 06-Feb-16 16:07:17

Usually students don't book their accommodation until they have their results I thought.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 16:51:06

Not true 2rebecca- you can apply as soon as you get an offer, guarantees of accommodation only applies once you "firm" your choice. If you wait till results eg choosing in clearing, there is less choice

What2 Sat 06-Feb-16 17:25:46

2Rebecca I haven't heard of any uni where you apply for accommodation after results.

hellsbells99 Sat 06-Feb-16 17:46:31

I thought you didn't 'firm' and pay the deposit for accommodation until after results (except in London). Yes, you apply before then - e.g. manchester uni opened their applications in January, but don't get a proper accommodation offer until after results.

senua Sat 06-Feb-16 17:52:48

I must admit that when we went to Exeter's Open Day we didn't like their general up-their-own-backsides attitude. They seem to think that, because they are oversubscribed, they can call all the shots and don't need to pander to their applicants. DS didn't apply.
Sorry, that's no help to you.

bojorojo Sat 06-Feb-16 21:09:00

Are the Exeter University run halls on better terms? Lots of universities are "express preference" only when you apply and after they allocate you decide to accept or not and pay a deposit if you do.

We had problems with a hall for DD2 in London that looked like it was university run, via their system and in their prospectus, but it wasn't. They charged ludicrous amounts for a few minor repairs (removing a tiny speck of blue tak - they charged for redecorating the wall) and cleaning. The bathroom was a self contained pod and needed a deep clean - they said. I had no equipment to do this so had to suck up the charges. Totally unreasonable charges for kitchen cleaning too. The other students continued living there after DD moved out but we paid for their mess.

Avoid these halls. They are not student halls they are hotels - and my DD was careful but got charged for repairs to communal areas that were caused by the "guests" of the other students when she was not even there! We have tried to negotiate but they kept the whole deposit - £200. So that was probably £1200 from all 6 of them! DD1s room and bathroom/kitchen at Bristol were old but at least charging was reasonable.

elephantoverthehill Sat 06-Feb-16 21:11:56

I had this with UWE, rang them and was assured if the place wasn't taken the deposit would be repaid.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 22:59:34

Hellsbells my understanding is that yes you can apply any time after you get an offer, and usually express a preference, and allocation done post results when they know who is actually coming. The advantage of the privately run halls is that there isn't the uncertainty as to which block you will be in. Of the places we have visited the standard of rooms in different blocks of supposedly equivalent grade rooms was very varied. I like the idea of actually knowing exactly where the room will be.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 23:00:01

Elephant that's reassuring. I will make some calls next week.

BlueStringPudding Sat 06-Feb-16 23:34:58

DD is at Exeter in first year and in Halls. She put down her preferences and then got her accommodation confirmed a few days after her results, at which point we paid the deposit..

She got her second choice Halls which have been great, and are of a high standard, she has her own en suite for example. The privately run halls are all off campus and I think more expensive as well.

homebythesea Sat 06-Feb-16 23:41:51

Bluestring- is she catered or self catered? DS reckons the self catered on campus halls aren't as good?

parkersmum Sun 07-Feb-16 09:06:10

Hi BlueStringPudding, my DS Has been offered a place to study Mech Eng at Exeter which he is thinking of putting as his insurance. We are visiting them during HT in a weeks time. Please can you let us know what hall would you recommend. He is great young man, currently at very good school, quite serious yet fun to be with, active rugby playing at very high level... I am sure you get the gist. I hope he has great time at uni and meets friendly people.
He is my eldest and as both DH and i studied in London this is uncharted territory for us. Thanks for all your help.

Andfaraway Sun 07-Feb-16 19:05:08

a privately managed hall

I'd say this is your issue: private management of halls. OK, so the university lists them, so that people have choice because supposedly choice is our right and determines our freedom, not but they are not run by a university. So, you have a choice - don't sign up for the privately managed accommodation!

bojorojo Mon 08-Feb-16 01:04:09

The problem is telling the difference and some universities do not run "their" accommodation despite their name being all over the exterior of it! It is not choice if it is all Privately managed but the prospectus does not say so!

homebythesea Mon 08-Feb-16 07:26:24

parkersmum the guarantee of accommodation does not apply for insurance choices so you may find you don't get much Of a say if he ends up going there

BlueStringPudding Mon 08-Feb-16 10:39:56

DD is in Catered Halls at Exeter - Birks Grange Village. The rooms are really nice, she has her own en-suite shower. The main drawback of Birks Grange Village is the morning walk up 'Cardiac Hill'. There are also Self-Catered rooms in other blocks, which I believe are of a similar standard. It seems a really nice Hall, lots of people and very friendly.

I've been to Exeter a few times for open/offer days (as DD1 also looked at it), and so have also seen Pennsylvania Court and Holland Hall - both catered and nicely decorated. Holland Hall is the most expensive and consequently has a reputation for having some very wealthy students. We also saw the new Lafrowda blocks, which are self-catered and very nice, and I think all had en-suite showers.

The old Lafrowda building (Lafrowda standard?) we didn't like at all as the corridors were narrow and I think the walls were grey bricks, so it felt a bit claustrophobic. These will be the cheaper self-catered with shared bathrooms.

Mardon Hall I haven't seen, but is supposed to be nice. It uses Holland Hall dining facilities, and is an older building with some character I think.

At open/offer days, they typically only open a few of the Halls, usually Holland Hall and/or Lafrowda are open. We only saw inside Birks Grange Village on moving in day.

DD's friend was looking at Exeter as a reserve, and was advised that the previous year most students had got on campus rooms - many in Birks Grange Village as it is quite large and some are put off by the Hill. There is also scope to move halls if you don't like the one you end up in. One room on DD's corridor was empty when she started, and then filled by the friend of someone else on her corridor. Some students will also drop out during the first term.

homebythesea Mon 08-Feb-16 11:31:17

That's all very useful Bluestring thank you. DS wants self catered and a flat format rather than the old fashioned corridor type Hall. He's going down at half term for his offer day so hopefully will get a better idea after that. We will only consider reserving in the currently preferred private hall if he firms his offer which is not certain yet changes mind every day

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