University students living away from home have been one of the groups hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19 over the past year. As schools re-opened on 8th March, many higher education students may be forced to wait a bit longer before they can resume their classes.
Students have had a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since they were forced to pay regular fees for courses they had to do online. Many also had to spend thousands of pounds on accommodation in which they did not get to live. As the pandemic situation stabilises and the government rolls out a 4-stage plan to ease quarantine restrictions.
In Sheffield the R rate has steadily decrease over the first months of 2021, and it is often regarded as one of the safest and fairest cities anywhere in the UK. However, the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 situation cannot be wished away even now as schools resume.
Searching for Accommodation Post COVID-19
Students already or about to start looking for accommodation in Sheffield can rest easy knowing that good quality student housing is available in the city throughout the year. While the Coronavirus may have upset students' priorities, reliable accommodation should remain one of the things they look for to ensure their studies are least interrupted.
The coronavirus and social distancing restrictions gave the UK three lockdowns throughout the past 12 months. Students looking for a place to live may now have an easier time justifying ideal accommodation that offers privacy, sufficient self-isolation, and self-contained features. The catch, however, is that many learners are returning to university at the same time.
Since the early birds will catch the worm, first house hunters will get the best accommodation. It would serve well present and future students seeking accommodation in major cities to begin their hunt for a place to rent as soon as possible.
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is that more property owners have now embraced the web as the first point of call for prospective tenants. While schools were closed, landlords and agents have made it easier for students to find more information about their properties without visiting in person.
Viewing and Renting Student Properties
The latest government guidelines on property viewing and moving allow students to view properties as school sessions begin to resume. However, it is advisable that students check the gov.uk website regularly to take note of any changes in the guidelines before booking to view accommodation.
Students usually begin their house hunting in the last two months of the year for accommodation in the next academic year. However, in 2020, Sheffield City Council and the Public Health Office expressed concerns about the risk of spreading the virus as students seeking accommodation for the 2021 academic year. They issued advice to landlords and students urging them to delay house hunting and viewing in person until social distancing restrictions are eased and conditions safer.
Many student unions are also advising against students and prospective tenants viewing houses in person at this time of heightened anti-COVID-19 measures. Students and landlords are advised to schedule viewings only in empty properties or to delay them until present occupiers vacate the house.
Students are advised to view properties remotely when they can. Some landlords and property managers, particularly those that house students, have put measures to make remote viewing of their properties easier.
Most real estate agents in Sheffield display images of the properties they offer on their websites. These images show all the critical aspects of the accommodation, including communal spaces, interiors and exteriors, and amenities, among others. Some property managers have increased the number of photos available, and now offer virtual 360˚tours as well as ways to connect with their team to advise and answer questions.
Booking Accommodation and Staying Safe from COVID-19
Whilst Sheffield Hallam and Sheffield University are beginning to resume in-person learning since the COVID-19 lockdowns, the government is not taking any chances. Most teaching and learning for undergraduate and postgraduate students will continue online, and only the practical and practice-based classes will be held in-person. Therefore, students are advised to remain at home or where they are presently living until they get a confirmation of the resumption of face-to-face learning from their faculties.
Learners can still follow their classes online even when they cannot travel to Sheffield or cannot find appropriate accommodation in time. When they have to travel, they are expected to rigorously follow the safer travel guidelines published on gov.uk. These guidelines include wearing a face mask, keeping a social distance from people in public, regularly sanitising your hands, and avoiding busy public routes.
Despite the prevention measures in place, there is always a chance that a student may get COVID-19 while in student accommodation. Students are advised to follow the instructions and steps outlined by their property management team in case of this eventuality.
Once a student moves into an accommodation, their contract is with the accommodation provider. They will need to speak directly to them to get support and guidance on how to move forward.
General Guidelines on Student Housing and Flats
Despite the gradual ease of the lockdown rules, students will be required to follow basic social distancing rules to minimise the risks of the Coronavirus. Students will be expected not to leave university accommodation unless necessary. Students will be required to stay within their quarters and avoid indoor social gatherings. Tenants are advised to venture outside in line with the current UK Government guidelines.
The key to finding the right place to live while studying in Sheffield will depend on your effort and speed in booking available accommodation. As the government keeps the number of students returning for in-person lectures low, learners who have to be in Sheffield for students have an easier time finding accommodation due to less competition and more housing options from which to choose.
Sheffield remains a tolerant, safe, and welcoming city for students from all over the world. The city remains a lively place for both new and seasoned UK students and is very accommodating to learners and workers forced to keep going despite the threat of COVID-19.
Contact us today if you have any questions.