The Printworks, one of the University of Exeter's student halls

Managed student halls are a popular choice for both first and continuing students. Managed student halls are privately owned halls which you can gain a place through either your university (especially in first year) or independently. Bedrooms are often clustered into flats of different sizes (between four to eight students) and each flat contains a communal living area, bathrooms (if they are not en-suite) and a fully-equipped kitchen. Among all the flats in the building, you’ll also find a reception, communal areas such as a common room, laundry facilities (if you don’t have these in your flat) and some even come with on-site gyms, private cinemas and reading rooms. Furthermore, their facilities are more likely to be more luxurious than either university halls or private accommodation with state-of-the-art kitchens, big-screen TVs (often in all rooms with a Sky TV in the living room), and speedy WiFi access. 

Included in the rent costs are bills, enhanced internet and a secure environment. However it’s likely that they’ll cost more than university halls or sharing a property with your friends independently.

Some rooms offer even more luxury and independence that those above, for example studio rooms are possible to rent, with a small kitchen and living space, so that you can either live by yourself or perhaps share with a partner. 

The number of university students living in privately owned halls across the UK increased from 46,000 to 102,000 between 2007 and 2014 according to HESA and the trend is only expected to continue. 

Collegiate AC, which provides upmarket student halls, have noted that many second and third year students choose to stay in private halls rather than share houses with two-thirds of their occupancy for the 2015/16 academic year made up of second and third year students. It is thought that students are now striving to get more of a lifestyle from their accommodation so communal areas and extra facilities are increasingly important. 

Inside the common room of one of the University of Exeter's student halls

Image Credit: University of Exeter/flickr

Managed student halls as a fresher

Managed halls are especially popular with those who have failed to gain a place in university-managed accommodation. The accommodation office at your university will be able to give you a list of providers in the local area so you can choose a place that suits your needs. You’ll be placed in a flat with others, often other freshers in the same position as you, so it’s a great way to make friends and start living independently.

Managed student halls as a continuing student

If you’ve got a group of friends who want to share together you can apply to live together in a flat in halls. Managed student halls let you see around the place first so you get to find a place that suits all your needs. Once you agree to a flat you can sign the contract and put down a deposit.

If you are missing a flatmate for the size of the property you want to live in the provider can find someone suitable, whilst if you’re on your own or there’s only a couple of you who want to share in a bigger group the provider can find people for you to lie with. 

Pros and Cons of managed student halls


  • Bills are all inclusive - so you don’t have to have an argument about who is paying what, who owes whom and when you should turn your heating on.  
  • Hassle-free maintenance -  fixtures and fittings will be fixed quickly if they are broken.
  • Security - the building will have 24-hour security and people won’t be able to wander in off the street.
  • Bathrooms - if you don’t have the luxury of an en-suite, you’ll be guaranteed a suitable number between you.
  • Lease lengths - You’ll have a shorter lease of approximately 41 weeks so you’ll only paying for rent when you are actually there. However, you may have the option to stay during the summer if you let them know early enough.
  • Cleaning - the communal areas in your flat will be frequently cleaned so you won’t have to get your hands dirty. 
  • Fully-equipped - you won’t have to undertake a massive shopping spree the day you move in when you realise there are no pots and pans.
  • Purpose-built for students - the accommodation has been built with your needs in mind. 
  • Convenient location - often near to the campus or the university community.
  • Other universities - it’s a chance to meet students from the other local universities. 
  • Liability - as you’re paying your rent to the halls provider, if one of your friends chooses to move out, leave university or fails to pay the rent you won’t be liable for his or her portion. 


  • Pricy - do you really need that ensuite or studio?
  • Less managed that university halls - however you can easily organise your own events and set up a Facebook page or WhatsApp group between you. 
  • Harder to meet people - as there are less events, it’s likely you won’t make as many friends across flats. However you can meet people in the common room or gym and you’re free to knock on the doors of other flats.