student accommodation in UK

What Student Accommodation Options Are There in the UK For International Students

Going to study abroad can be pretty scary, especially if you’re not all too familiar with the country that you’re going to. That’s why it’s important to make sure you feel as comfortable as you possibly can during your time abroad. The best way to do that is to pick accommodation that fits your needs and is truly right for you.

There are a lot of different options for student housing in the UK, so we’ve broken them down for you.

how students can save on housing expenses


When studying in the UK, you’ll quite often find that after your first year, a lot of your friends will move to houses of multiple occupancy (or HMOs). These are pretty much what the name suggests, they’re houses of varying sizes that are owned and operated by landlords. Some landlords will rent individual rooms, others will rent the house as a whole to groups.

Because of the wide range of landlords and rental companies, the quality and amenities you can expect to find in these homes vary massively. Some will offer to include bills and utilities, whilst others will leave it to the occupants to organise. This means you may find yourself arguing with Wi-Fi companies over the phone every few weeks!

Whilst it is commonplace to see “Landlord Nightmares” and “Uni Houses from Hell” on social media platforms like TikTok, the reality is that generally, HMOs aren’t too bad. They are a solid option for those who want to live in close proximity to a few of their friends, the main issue is that most of the issues that can arise will only begin to appear once you’ve already moved in.


So, what if you want to live with your friends but don’t want to take the risk of potentially having a bad landlord or moving into a house with lots of issues you didn’t see on your viewing? The answer is PBSAs.

If you’re asking yourself, “What is a PBSA?” we’ve got the answer. PBSA stands for purpose-built student accommodation. In general terms, they’re apartment blocks built specifically for students to live in.

The benefit of living in these PBSA buildings is that they have amenities specifically designed for student lifestyles as well as having a full community of just students. For example, some of the best student accommodation in Belfast has onsite gyms, study spaces, and even karaoke rooms to truly elevate your student experience. Not to mention they usually include utility bills and have onsite laundry facilities!

Uni Halls

The case with a lot of universities is that they’ll have specific accommodation run by the uni which is generally for first-year students only. Whilst you may think these are similar to PBSAs, they have a few key differences.

Uni Halls generally have fewer amenities than PBSAs. More often than not they won’t come with washing machines/TVs in your flat. Amenities such as cinemas, onsite gyms, and games rooms are usually only found in PBSAs or upscale apartment buildings. A benefit is that they almost always have bills included in the rent and are in close proximity to universities.

student accommodation in UK


When going to university, it generally isn’t a requirement to live in student-focused housing. For that reason, you have the entire property market of apartments available to you. Apartments come in all shapes and sizes and in lots of different locations. The main issue with apartments is that they don’t usually cater to students which means it’s a lot harder to find one with all the amenities for your lifestyle. That combined with the fact that anyone can rent these apartments means they’re probably not the best option for accommodation in the UK for international students.

So, that’s our round-up of the main accommodation options in the UK for international students. Generally speaking, you’ll want to start looking at PBSAs before any of the rest as they are the most well-suited to the needs of modern students.

Salman Zafar

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