Deciding on Student Accommodation

Editor | Cassandra Lau


The idea of living with your friends can be thrilling but there is a thin line between thriller and horror when it comes to living under the same roof. I was personally fortunate enough in my first year to find the perfect flatmate and best friend who was the yin to my yang, but as you skim through this article, you will find many a tale gone awry.

Through a simple survey, I was able to gather some bittersweet stories from Royal Holloway students, and you might want to read this and think twice before signing those papers.

Do students recommend living with friends?


man couple people woman
Photo by Gratisography on

Living with friends can strain the friendship. It’s better to keep your living situation and friendship separate. When living with strangers, you’re roommates first and friends second. This ensures that all the bills, rent and living is kept considerate. You’re still friends with them but they can’t take advantage of that friendship like friends that are friends first can.

Often you’ll end up falling out over cleanliness, etc.

Knowing too much about someone can definitely draw you away from them. I live with a couple and the boyfriend’s friend – even though there is another person, it gets awkward for us both when they argue, shout, flirt aloud and watch stuff. We are paying for the same space, but it is only used by half of us since the pair are always all over each other in the house.

We got on well in halls, we partied and all, but this year I actually need to study but he seems to not [care] about his, or my studies.

I’ve fallen out with a close friend who studies the same course, and now it is really awkward when we see each other in the department. We were so tight and so certain nothing would go wrong.

It’s always the small things that accumulate… the bins, the dishes, the toilet, the noise, etc.



two women smiling
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

I met my closest friends in first year halls and have lived with them ever since. We’ve never had any issues living together.

It’s amazing when you get along with them. Having a nice living area where you can watch TV or socialise and have dinner and movie nights will honestly make your university experience so much better.

It’s good to have a strong social group together. It will make any issues easier to discuss and your housemates easier to engage with.

Nicer environment to come home to after a day of uni.

Easier to get ready on a night out and share clothes.

It’s more social and you can split costs.

It creates a good atmosphere being away from home.

Helps you settle in more comfortable than living with strangers because you know and trust them.


What are your priorities when picking a housemate?

Overall Ranking Priority Total Score
1 Hygiene & Cleanliness 91
2 Friendships 85
3 Communication & Candidness 71
4 Sociability 60
5 Minimal Noise 50
6 Work Ethic 43
7 Financial Background 20

Why do some students find these important?

They’re what make for a good housemate. Hygiene and cleanliness creates a nicer place and atmosphere to live in so you don’t have to worry about it. Communication and candidness are so important when you’re talking about bills, rent and annoying living habits everyone can develop. It’s better to live with people who air their issues and have no problem being honest than passive aggressive people that let their anger build up unnecessarily. (1) (2)

It’s nice to live with others that are considerate and you get along with but are also relatively clean because it’s not fun constantly cleaning up after others. (1)

Cleanliness is more important because you’ll be living within that environment 24/7. (1)

To avoid unnecessary disputes. (1)

It makes it easy to share a house and cause less arguments. (2)

I love living with my friends. We keep each other busy but also motivate each other to do our uni work. (2) (6)

Being about to get along with them is 100% the most important. That is all that really matters and everything else is a bonus. (2) (3) (4)

While having a nice and sociable housemate is nice, it is not a deal-breaker if they are not. However if they become a barrier to you living happily there it becomes a major issue, because that actively detracts from your experience. (5) (1) (3)

Photograph of Ria Carpenter

How did you choose your housemate?

I chose my housemates from responding to an ad online. As bad as that sounds […] it was the best decision I could have ever made. We’ve become really good friends and its the best living situation I could’ve chosen. I’ve remained friends with everyone […] Living with the friends I originally intended would’ve massively strained the friendship. Retrospectively I can see how they wouldn’t have been the best people for me to live with.

I always live with my closest friends. It’s a good idea if there’s no drama between you but it gets really bad if there is.

I was living with them in first year, different flats but same halls. We all decided we would live together quite quickly but it was the best decision.

Rushed decision with a friend and their friends and friends of their friends – so it wasn’t a good idea.

I chose my friends the first time round, bad decision, we argued over mess all the time and we’re less close for it. Second time, I met and rented a place with three girls I met on Facebook advertising. Much better decision as they interviewed me and we got to know each other’s expectations before moving in.

Friends on course, same priorities, so we get on great!

[Anon] was a cool friend, but [Anon] started getting weird anger and jealousy fits of unnecessary suspicion. Idk, so I just hide away and try to interact less.

people gathered inside house sitting on sofa
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Now for the stories of rainbows and horror, what have been students’ worst and best experiences living in student accommodation so far?

The fire alarm beeped for TWO MONTHS.

Angry neighbours threatening to “beat the shit out of you” while a housemate was crying in the garden from a panic attack because it woke him up.

My worst experience would definitely be the stress of paying the extremely high fees. Some estate agents don’t take loans into consideration and demand over a thousand pounds during the summer months – meaning you have to find money on your own.

Dealing with Alpha – our property repeatedly had mould, when we moved in plug sockets were hanging off the wall and the stream of water from the tap gave you an electric shock! The property was in poor state. Alpha only fixed half the issued by the time we moved out, and poorly.

Poo. Blood. Vom. In. The. Toilet.

Pres at my house with my housemates and everyone was doing their makeup whilst drinking together.

Getting to know my housemates and build friendships with them.

Celebrating birthdays and house parties!

Learning to be independent!


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