Features Example 2

To de Hav of not to de Hav? That is the question.

By David Houssien


To de Hav or not to de Hav? That is the question. Why is it that only around 3,700 of the University’s 24,000 students choose to live on campus, while others prefer to stay at home or find their own accommodation? Aside from some of the simple explanations such as the University only guaranteeing first year students accommodation and the number of part-time students and students who already live in Hatfield, there are other reasons.

A room on the de Havilland campus will set you back £93 per week, and rates at College Lane vary between £59 and £83 per week, which essentially adds up to £372 per month at de Havilland or £236 to £332 at College Lane. Prices for renting in Stevenage, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City for accommodation of the same or better standard, on rightmove.co.uk, are between £500 and £650 per month.

The initial reaction to that is: why should I pay more money? But the truth is you’re not. On de Havilland, a flat is shared between 10 to 12 people. Sure, you get your own room and an en suite bathroom, but simple maths tells us that the price of the flat is actually falls between £3720 and £4464 per month. One person’s share of £372 per month isn’t a lot of money in the wider letting world, but I’m renting a 1 bedroom flat at £550 per month – and split between myself and partner it’s £275 per month. You’d have to be mad to pay more money for less space and share a kitchen with strangers.

There’s a counter argument that anyone renting privately has added bills and University accommodation includes bills. That is true. Internet, water, electricity, TV licence… it all adds up, but you can control it to a certain degree, and at University you cannot. Why should you pay a fixed rate for utilities when others may be less careful than yourself? Taps left running, computer left on all night, phone charger left turned on; does this sound familiar? If you’re careful with water and electricity, you’re still paying for those who are not, and even if the whole campus reduced its waste, water and electricity usage, don’t expect rates to drop. If you’re renting privately, or even living at home, it’s you and your partner, flatmate or family who benefit from lower bills, not Carillion.

Adam Jones-Lloyd, a first year Humanities students who lives in Cuffley agrees: “By living at home, it’s a great deal cheaper. Herts is a good uni and I live close enough to justify not staying in halls. I get the benefits of living at home, for instance, access to my car, home comforts and I’m not confined to just one room.”

If you’re living at home and lock yourself out, your parents probably won’t charge you £30 to open the door. If you’re renting privately and lock yourself out, it’s doubtful that your landlord will charge you £30 if you go and get the spare key. If you lock yourself out of your de Havilland room after one warning, you will be charged £30. That’s right, if you slip up more than once, it costs £30 to get someone to go to your room and let you back in. The whole process takes around 10 minutes.

Last year, it cost de Havilland tenants £5 to get a key to lock their cupboard. This was in the form of a £10 deposit, of which only £5 was returned. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s not really clear why, other than another form of exploiting students. It may be a very small amount of money, but 1600 students multiplied by £5 each is a lot of money for nothing.

Louie French, a first year Humanities student commented “I feel that living in halls is very expensive and products on campus are overpriced.” But it’s not all doom and gloom on de Havilland, as he added “I don’t regret living on campus because of the people I have met. The benefits of living on campus are the excellent facilities and the atmosphere around campus.”

An advantage of living on campus is the social life, but you don’t really miss out if you’re living off campus. If you’re staying in your home town, you probably already have friends there, and many of the towns in Hertfordshire have lots of bars and clubs. For example, there are 14 pubs within a 10 minute walk of each other in Stevenage Old Town, one of the biggest clubs in Hertfordshire about 15 minutes away and many restaurants.

However, living off campus doesn’t come without disadvantages. If you’re at home, you have less privacy and the added stress of dealing with your family on a day to day basis. If you choose to find your own accommodation you will have to view many properties before you find one you like and at the price you’d like to pay. When you’ve finally found your dream student pad, there could be 10 other people who also want it. This is a big problem; landlords who do not specialise in student lettings do not like students at all. They like middle class professionals who work in London, and cause very little wear and tear on the property because they’re never home. Prejudice against students is widespread and that’ll give you no end of trouble when you’re trying to rent privately. Not to mention the hassle of passing the reference based on your projected student loan and part-time work.

Another downfall is the traffic for those who travel in by road. The A1 is a major route, and if there’s an accident you’re guaranteed to be late. If you’re not an early bird, it can be a bit of a problem too as you have to get up early enough to give yourself enough time to get to Hatfield and then park and ride if you’re driving. Those living on campus can just roll out of bed and into their lectures, with the advantage of an extra bit of sleep and feeling a bit sharper.

Ultimately, the evidence for not living on campus is overwhelming. Although finding yourself a property to rent and finding a bigger deposit is stressful, as is living with family, it’s worth it. More space, more luxuries, less noise, no lockout charge, no using the cupboard charge, space for a bigger television and no sharing a kitchen with strangers who will leave it in a mess. To answer the original question; not to de Hav!

To de Hav or not to de Hav? That is the question. Why is it that only around 3,700 of the University’s 24,000 students choose to live on campus, while others prefer to stay at home or find their own accommodation? Aside from some of the simple explanations such as the University only guaranteeing first year students accommodation and the number of part-time students and students who already live in Hatfield, there are other reasons.

A room on the de Havilland campus will set you back £93 per week, and rates at College Lane vary between £59 and £83 per week, which essentially adds up to £372 per month at de Havilland or £236 to £332 at College Lane. Prices for renting in Stevenage, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City for accommodation of the same or better standard, on rightmove.co.uk, are between £500 and £650 per month.

The initial reaction to that is: why should I pay more money? But the truth is you’re not. On de Havilland, a flat is shared between 10 to 12 people. Sure, you get your own room and an en suite bathroom, but simple maths tells us that the price of the flat is actually falls between £3720 and £4464 per month. One person’s share of £372 per month isn’t a lot of money in the wider letting world, but I’m renting a 1 bedroom flat at £550 per month – and split between myself and partner it’s £275 per month. You’d have to be mad to pay more money for less space and share a kitchen with strangers.

There’s a counter argument that anyone renting privately has added bills and University accommodation includes bills. That is true. Internet, water, electricity, TV licence… it all adds up, but you can control it to a certain degree, and at University you cannot. Why should you pay a fixed rate for utilities when others may be less careful than yourself? Taps left running, computer left on all night, phone charger left turned on; does this sound familiar? If you’re careful with water and electricity, you’re still paying for those who are not, and even if the whole campus reduced its waste, water and electricity usage, don’t expect rates to drop. If you’re renting privately, or even living at home, it’s you and your partner, flatmate or family who benefit from lower bills, not Carillion.

Adam Jones-Lloyd, a first year Humanities students who lives in Cuffley agrees: “By living at home, it’s a great deal cheaper. Herts is a good uni and I live close enough to justify not staying in halls. I get the benefits of living at home, for instance, access to my car, home comforts and I’m not confined to just one room.”

If you’re living at home and lock yourself out, your parents probably won’t charge you £30 to open the door. If you’re renting privately and lock yourself out, it’s doubtful that your landlord will charge you £30 if you go and get the spare key. If you lock yourself out of your de Havilland room after one warning, you will be charged £30. That’s right, if you slip up more than once, it costs £30 to get someone to go to your room and let you back in. The whole process takes around 10 minutes.

Last year, it cost de Havilland tenants £5 to get a key to lock their cupboard. This was in the form of a £10 deposit, of which only £5 was returned. It’s every bit as ridiculous as it sounds. It’s not really clear why, other than another form of exploiting students. It may be a very small amount of money, but 1600 students multiplied by £5 each is a lot of money for nothing.

Louie French, a first year Humanities student commented “I feel that living in halls is very expensive and products on campus are overpriced.” But it’s not all doom and gloom on de Havilland, as he added “I don’t regret living on campus because of the people I have met. The benefits of living on campus are the excellent facilities and the atmosphere around campus.”

An advantage of living on campus is the social life, but you don’t really miss out if you’re living off campus. If you’re staying in your home town, you probably already have friends there, and many of the towns in Hertfordshire have lots of bars and clubs. For example, there are 14 pubs within a 10 minute walk of each other in Stevenage Old Town, one of the biggest clubs in Hertfordshire about 15 minutes away and many restaurants.

However, living off campus doesn’t come without disadvantages. If you’re at home, you have less privacy and the added stress of dealing with your family on a day to day basis. If you choose to find your own accommodation you will have to view many properties before you find one you like and at the price you’d like to pay. When you’ve finally found your dream student pad, there could be 10 other people who also want it. This is a big problem; landlords who do not specialise in student lettings do not like students at all. They like middle class professionals who work in London, and cause very little wear and tear on the property because they’re never home. Prejudice against students is widespread and that’ll give you no end of trouble when you’re trying to rent privately. Not to mention the hassle of passing the reference based on your projected student loan and part-time work.

Another downfall is the traffic for those who travel in by road. The A1 is a major route, and if there’s an accident you’re guaranteed to be late. If you’re not an early bird, it can be a bit of a problem too as you have to get up early enough to give yourself enough time to get to Hatfield and then park and ride if you’re driving. Those living on campus can just roll out of bed and into their lectures, with the advantage of an extra bit of sleep and feeling a bit sharper.

Ultimately, the evidence for not living on campus is overwhelming. Although finding yourself a property to rent and finding a bigger deposit is stressful, as is living with family, it’s worth it. More space, more luxuries, less noise, no lockout charge, no using the cupboard charge, space for a bigger television and no sharing a kitchen with strangers who will leave it in a mess. To answer the original question; not to de Hav!

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