A Guide To Student Accommodation

We are all aware of the fact that university fees are very high in South Africa, and that many varsity students – especially those who are not from Pretoria– cannot afford accommodation while studying. Here’s our humble guide to assist students when it comes to searching for accommodation.  From undergraduates living in homeless shelters to […]

We are all aware of the fact that university fees are very high in South Africa, and that many varsity students – especially those who are not from Pretoria– cannot afford accommodation while studying. Here’s our humble guide to assist students when it comes to searching for accommodation. 

From undergraduates living in homeless shelters to postgraduates working two jobs to keep a roof over their heads, finding a decent place to stay without breaking the bank is as important to the success of a degree as overpriced textbooks and attending lectures are. According to SARPN (the South African Regional Poverty Network), some 35 percent of Pretoria residents live in abject poverty, and a big number of those are made up of varsity students.

This article is not about scholars without roofs over their heads but a rough guide to student accommodation in and around town. Pretoria is a vibrant city with a rich and exciting nightlife, thanks to the two universities, TUKS and TUT. A lot of businesses, such as the restaurants and coffee shops of Hatfield and Menlopark, to name a few, rely on student occupancies. Because of such a high influx of students, which increases each year, accommodation is always in demand. After a quick search-engine investigation, one quickly notices that finding a place to stay is more daunting than one would expect. Reality is a bitter pill and a list of things should be taken into consideration, such as the distance needed to travel to and from varsity, general safety and the de facto tie breaker: price.

A student at TUKS’s first choice would be one of the many residences situated around the Hatfield, Onderstepoort, and Prinshof and Illovo campuses. Monthly levies at these dormitories range from R1 000 to R5 000 per room, which, in itself, is a staggering amount of money. Because on-campus accommodation prices are through the roof, many students turn to the private rental market. Rooms can be found on OLX from as little as R500 per month – the only problem is that many of these are shared rooms, leaving very little room for privacy and, in most cases, the cheaper the rent, the dodgier the area. One such example would be apartments and hostels situated in and around Menlopark’s shopping district. Here, personal advertisements for student accommodation are taped to every other street lamp and electrical box. A more palatable option would be for students to look towards Hatfield and Lynnwood for a place to stay as the crime rate is lower, but the prices are higher. Everything from shared apartments, above board estates to beautiful garden cottages can be found here and prices range from R1 350 to R4 600.

The bottom line, and de facto sad point, is that accommodation is determined by the individual’s budget. In closing, do your research and inspect properties before deciding to move in. Study the lease and feel free to question anything and everything that seems unclear.

By Shawn Greyling

Are you a student? Where do you currently stay? Tell us in the comments section below.