amber is better on the app
25K+ Downloads
Download App
HMO vs PBSA and University Accommodation
8 min

HMO vs PBSA and University Accommodation

Housing Tips
8 min
Uploaded on
Nov 24, 2023
Last updated on
Dec 4, 2023
Uploaded on
Nov 24, 2023
Last updated on
Dec 4, 2023
HMO vs PBSA and University Accommodation
Your safe space!

There are a variety of accommodation options available for students, each with unique advantages and considerations. You can find three popular choices for students that is House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties, Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), and University-owned accommodation. 

Students are looking for different housing options to fit their diverse needs and preferences. It's important to understand the differences between these options so students can make an informed decision that perfectly meets their needs and preferences. In this blog, we'll explore the understanding and benefits of each and give you reasons to choose the most appropriate living arrangement for your academic journey. Let's dive deeper into the different housing options and the benefits available for students.

Understanding HMO Housing

An HMO housing, also known as multiple occupancy, is a residence that is rented by at least 3 people who aren’t from the same family. The larger the HMO housing, the more the number of tenants it can accommodate. The key distinguishing feature of HMO housing is shared facility usage, and they range from hostels to private halls. This arrangement is becoming popular among students as it helps them save a lot of money on accommodation and utilities. HMO offers a wide range of benefits, with the chance to live in desirable locations at affordable prices.

Moreover, HMOs comprise different types of accommodation known as shared houses, bedsits, households with lodgers, a mixture of rooms and others. An important characteristic of HMOs is the provision of shared facilities, including kitchens and bathrooms, so that residents do not use their facilities exclusively.

Benefits of HMO Housing

Houses in Multiple Occupations (HMOs) offer a variety of options for students who want to feel connected and live cost-effectively in a society where bonds and experience are becoming more important. HMO is a great choice for those who want to live near their university. Furthermore, along with being cost-effective and budget-friendly, HMO housing comes with a lot more advantages. For detailed information about HMO benefits and how it is different from other rental properties, read our blog. Let’s take a look at some of the HMO advantages.  

‍1. Cost-effective 

‍HMO housing tends to be more budget-friendlier than many other student accommodation types. The rent of the HMO housing is divided among all the tenants living together. The utility bills are also shared, which doesn’t burn big holes in the students’ pockets. 

2. Diverse Social Environment

HMO housing is shared by different tenants who are not related to each other, and they share common living areas. Tenants interact with people from different backgrounds while sharing the living space, which means there is a higher chance of becoming aware of the diverse environment people are coming from. This diversity can lead to rich networking opportunities and chance to meet new people from various backgrounds.

3. Flexibility

‍Rental agreements for HMO housing frequently provide greater flexibility in terms of lease duration. This can be helpful for people who might not want to dedicate themselves to an academic year or who only require accommodations for a short period.

4. Fully Furnished

‍HMO housings are fully furnished, which makes it convenient for students and professionals travelling from a faraway land as they can’t bring or invest in furnishings. 

5. Privacy

‍Even though the common areas and facilities, tenants in HMO housing usually have private rooms, which ensure their privacy. This means they can relax, study and live in peace.

Exploring PBSA

PBSA, also known as Purpose-Built Student Accommodation, is a specialised housing facility that is designed to cater to the needs of students by keeping their preferences and comfort in mind. The amenities and facilities provided by PBSA accommodation are specifically tailored in a way to makes the lives of students easier and enhances their living experience. Amber provides many types of PBSAs, such as studios, en-suites, non-ensuites, and shared apartments. You must be wondering why PBSA are the right choice for you, but apparently, they are the major stakeholders in the student accommodation market. 

Benefits of PBSA 

The PBSA has a great deal to offer students to help & support them in their studies and to improve their overall university life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by numerous choices, here are some of the benefits you will enjoy if you decide to stay in PBSA.

1. Safety

‍When students move from one country to another, one of the main concerns they and their families have is safety. Hence, PBSAs are highly preferred as they provide 24/7 security along with CCTV cameras installed, letting students sleep in peace at night and in general. 

2. All Bills Included

‍Moving away from their home, studying and living in a different city tends to the financial burden of students. But when they choose to stay in PBSA, the majority of these student accommodations have all or many utility bills, such as electricity, water, heating, etc., included in the bills themselves.  

3. Maintenance and Services‍

In order to maintain the cleanliness and upkeep of facilities and common areas, PBSAs often offer maintenance and cleaning services. This relieves students of the duty of nourishing the property. This makes them focus more on their studies and other activities. 

4. Flexible Lease Terms

‍This is one of the benefits of PBSA, which allows students to rent the student accommodation for the duration they wish to rent. The duration can be for their whole academic year or also on a short-term basis if they wish to.

5. Social Spaces and Networking Opportunities

‍The shared social spaces found in a PBSA accommodation include common game rooms, rooftop patios, movie theatres, lounges, and shared kitchens. By doing so, you can find peers of the same age with similar interests and easily make new friends.

About University Accommodation

University accommodations are also known as on-campus accommodations. They are the type of accommodation provided by the university itself. There are many types of university housing, including dormitories, apartments, and suites, which are on campus or near campus. Many students prefer university accommodation as it provides them more freedom and flexibility to be involved in college life and on-campus activities. Along with this, there are more benefits to university accommodation, and some of them are listed below. 

Benefits of University Accommodation

University accommodation is one of the best ways to get used to living on your own. You don’t need to worry about paying for your bills as everything is included in the price. University accommodation can be the perfect place to live out your student life in an environment that is safe and secure. Let’s dive deep few of the advantages of living in University Accommodation.

1. Convenience

‍This is one of the main advantages of living on campus, as it proves to be a practical option for students to opt for this. This is because it gives students easy access to facilities offered by the university, such as libraries and computer labs. It also helps students save time and money on the transportation. 

2. All-Inclusive Rent

‍Most of the university accommodations include all the utilities in the rent itself, which doesn’t let the students pay anything extra other than the rent. This simplifies college budgeting and eliminates the need to create individual utility accounts.

3.  Resident Meal Plans

‍Many university accommodation also provides on-campus meals. Students are usually charged a little extra for dining facilities and services, but this reduces the trouble of planning and cooking meals every day while dealing with academic stress.

4. Social Opportunities

‍University accommodation offers students opportunities to be more involved in social activities, socialise and make new friends. Living together with the students of the same university can help create bonds.

5.  Support Services

‍Many on-campus housing also provide support services such as career services, counselling, and academic guidance. Students may find it easier to use these resources and get the support they need to succeed academically and personally if they live on campus.

Student Living Experience Survey

A survey was conducted by Knight Frank in 2023 with more than 20,000 replies from current students, and it provides an analysis of how housing affects the overall student experience. The survey strengthens the importance of students' accommodation on the quality and environmental lives to promote wellbeing. We will understand the unique perspective on the persistent needs and motivations of students. The points below will help students choose which type of accommodation.

1. In the UCAS Student Accommodation Report 2023 by Knight Frank, students who lived in private accommodation or university accommodation were the most satisfied with their accommodation, with 84%.

What type of rental accommodation are students most satisfied with?

Source: Knight Frank/UCAS Student Accommodation Survey 2023

2. Based on this, the survey found that those living in a studio had the highest level of satisfaction (87%) with their university accommodation. In comparison, students living in university rooms with shared bathroom facilities had the lowest level of satisfaction (65%).

3. More than 80% of students who are currently living in PBSA said they would recommend it to other students. 87% of students prefer a studio room compared to a room with an ensuite and a room with a shared bathroom.

4. In HMO accommodation, 79% of students preferred rooms with shared houses in comparison to other types of HMO accommodation.

5. According to the survey, 62% of students said cost is very important to them when deciding where to live. This survey found that the average cost of living for students in private PBSA is £7,865 per year. In comparison to £6,160 for university-run accommodation and £6,860 for privately rented house shares. 84% of students said their accommodation costs were quite affordable or close to it.

6. Students’ responses were similar regardless of whether they lived in PBSA, university-owned Halls or HMO, although there were some differences in cost. About half (52%) of students in private PBSA reported that their accommodation was “good value for money”. About 48% of students in house shares (private rented sector) reported that their accommodation is good value for money

HMO VS PBSA and University Accommodation

When choosing between HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy), PBSA (Purpose-Built Student Accommodation), and University Accommodation, it's essential to consider various factors to make an informed choice. You should need to know some important factors that align with your needs and preferences. Here are the key factors to keep in mind.

1. Budget

The first thing that you need to consider while choosing between HMO housing, PBSA and University accommodation is the budget. Compare the prices of all three and see which one fits your budget and choose accordingly. Before that, make sure that you plan your budget for your college.

2. Location

‍The next thing to keep in mind while choosing your student accommodation is the location. While university accommodation can be the best option if your priority is proximity to the campus, many PBSAs and HMOs are also located near the universities if you wish to live on campus. You can check out our blog to know which is better for you: on-campus or off-campus living.

3. Amenities

‍While searching for accommodation, always compare the amenities and the facilities provided by different types of student accommodation. Many times, PBSAs and even HMOs may provide more amenities than on-campus accommodation, which can be beneficial for students and can make their lives easier. Moreover, determine which resources are necessary for your lifestyle and learning needs.

4. Independency vs Convenience

‍If you prefer freedom and being more independent, then you need to decide how much independence you want in your living situation. Sometimes, many universities have rules and regulations for on-campus stay, while HMOs are more flexible and lenient. 

5. Reviews and Recommendations

One of the most important factors in your accommodation choice is reviews and recommendations. Ask current or former students about their experiences with the accommodation to get a better idea of what it feels like to live there. You can find this information in online forums such as social media groups and university forums. Find out what they think about property management, the community and how satisfied they are with where they live. This first-hand knowledge is what will help you make the best accommodation choice for your academic journey.

Taking into consideration the above factors carefully, you can make an informed decision when looking for the HMO, PBSA, and University accommodation that best meets your needs and preferences. Choose wisely and after thorough research, as your living conditions will also play a role and enhance your college life. If you're looking for student accommodation, amber is the way to go! We're the top student accommodation provider, and you can always count on us to make sure of safe and secure accommodation. Please check our blog on how to spot the rental scam before booking your accommodation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are PBSAs?

What are HMOs?

What are the main advantages of HMO housing compared to PBSA and University Accommodation?

Are HMOs suitable for international students?

Can I book student accommodation for a short duration?

Download the amber app
Scan The QR to download the App
app QR
You can directly download from
play storeapp store
100% Verified Listings
Quick and Easy Bookings
Price Match Guarantee
24x7 Personal Assistance