Accommodation Guide and Area Guide
Manchester has loads of reasonably priced student accommodation and increasingly a glut of top-end flats and pads for the more affluent academic. In this section we focus on South Manchester, simply because that's where the majority of students choose to reside.
Living in halls is like living in a cocoon, so the metamorphosis to finding your own gaff can be a tricky one. The best advice is this: find some friends that you want to share a place with, have a look around different areas and see which one is best suited to you. It may seem obvious but the amenities in the respective areas are a good indicator of what it will be like living there. If there's a 24-hour garage, numerous bars, pubs, shops and good transport links you are on a winner. If there's one ramshackle kebab shop, a decrepit laundrette and you have to walk twenty minutes to the nearest bus stop, you may have problems - especially on bitterly cold winter mornings.
Just because you are a student doesn't mean you have to live in squalor. You may choose to maintain your abode with sloth-like cleanliness but your landlord should ensure it's in spick-span condition on your arrival. Unlike one of old 'lords who didn't bother to clean up the mess left from a party of apocalyptic proportions from the previous tenants. Stand up for your rights and put stuff in writing as well as verbally stating any grievances.
Your landlord is legally bound to ensure that the accommodation doesn't have gas emissions above a level set out by law. For more details contact your student welfare officer at the student union.
More common than you would imagine - especially in the Fallowfield slums around Furness and Cawdor Road. Any sign of mice, rats, cockroaches should be reported immediately - first contact is often the tip of the iceberg and the fumigators need to be called in. Don't let your landlord, Mr Stingy, blag you into thinking you don't need to call in the fumigators, insist on it, and make sure he / she foots the bill.
Accomodation by Area
This is student ghetto territory, although things have improved over the last couple of years with the addition of Sainsbury's (options before Sainsbury's were horrendous) some new bars and some better accommodation. Fallowfield offers amenities galore, which is good, and dodgy student homes in abundance, which is not so good. The chief offenders are the slums opposite Owens Park where burglary rates are sky high and Mr Maintenance has long since departed. Our advice: find yourself a nice flat or house further down towards The Drop Inn, where the roads are leafier and a bit more residential.
Read more on Fallowfield
Possibly the narrowest high street in town, Withington is home to many students who have had enough of Fallowfield and move slightly further out. There's some really nice pads round here especially around Heaton Road and it's not quite as intense as living in the middle of Fallowfield. ne thing to watch out for is the wanton Scally son of Scally roaming the high street.
- Didsbury / West Didsbury
You want to have Mummy and Daddy financing your arse to live around the leafy streets of Didsbury. Prices are sky-high in Didsbury town centre - house prices have risen by a steady 25% per year in recent times. There's a chance that all the people who have bought property around here with an eye on leasing it will find availability dwarfing demand. There may be bargains to be had. Personally I find West Didsbury far more agreeable, with its treasure-pot shops, top-draw restaurants, ample boozers and friendlier folk.
Read more on Didsbury
Many students tend to gravitate here during life after University. I found myself spending my final year in Chorlton and after two years of the madness that ensued in Fallowfield, found it to be the perfect antidote. Packed full of creatives, musicians, professionals, families and ne'er-do-well's, Chorlton is a lovely place to live with most things on your doorstep. One grumble is the bus night service doesn't run during the week so if you are in town after hours its taxi business, I'm afraid. C'mon Mr Stagecoach stop squandering you money on your shocking political aims and give Chorltonites a night service they deserve!
Read more on Chorlton
If you are a devotee of Indian cuisine then Rusholme could be your gastronomic nirvana. Home to the World famous curry mile, Rusholme offers consistently dirt-cheap accommodation. You can have a whole terrace house around here starting from about £75 per week. The new development at University end of Rusholme consists of expensive flats, but look around and you will find something for the most meagre of budgets. Not for everyone, by any means, at night the back streets can seem a dark and lonely place, especially further down Moss Lane East towards The Parkway.
- Victoria Park
Lots of medical professionals live in this part of town, due to the convenient access to the hospitals. There's some truly stunning architecture and huge old houses, with a smattering of newly built flats. In the main peaceful and chilled, more expensive than its neighbour Rusholme, but if you want to escape the din of Wilmslow / Oxford Road but still have convenient access to town then this is worth considering.
Hulme was once known as Little Ireland and good ol' Freddy Engels spent time here when he lived in Manchester. 'Old Hulme' was a hotchpotch of mad creative people living in a badly designed housing estate; the 'nu Hulme' is sanitised and not quite so interesting. In its favour it has convenient access to city-centre, West Indian food stands, The magnificent Zion Arts Centre and a diverse cultural mix epitomising Manchester as a city of all colours and creeds.
- Moss Side
Moss Side got a bad rap in the national press, especially during the 80's and 90's. If I had my cynical cap on, I would say its because the populace is predominantly Afro-Caribbean and that stories about white hoodlums in Salford don't sell as well as sensational ones about black youth. That aside there is no doubt that there's been ongoing gun and drug-related problems in the area. Once you live or frequent the area you realise the majority of people live in peace and harmony. Cheap rents reflect the outside perception and the standard of housing but like I said if you choose to live here its local, authentic and properly working class.
- Levenshulme / Longsight
Southeast Manchester is in dire need of regeneration. Longsight has a top outside market but it has been dogged by problems in recent times and would be best avoided. Levenshulme is another option but in my opinion is on the margins.
- Oxford Road
Living on or around the Oxford Road stretch is fabulous if you like to play hard and party harder! Only drawback being it's one of the most polluted stretches of road in Europe and all that smoke and grime can do your head in. Everything is within walking distance from here and if you find it hard to get up for lectures you just have to roll out of bed.
Read more on Oxford Road
- City Centre
City-centre is the domain of loft-dwellers, paying big bucks for grand views of the city. There is some more affordable city centre accommodation around UMIST - try Granby Row, for example. There are plenty of pros and cons of living full-time in the centre and it kind of depends on if you want to live in the hustle and bustle or prefer to travel in and reside somewhere leafier and less hectic.
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