If you find yourself studying away from home, obtaining suitable accommodation will definitely be at high priority for you.This article is part of a two-part series, with part one looking at where to find student housing in Kingston Jamaica and part two will look at where to find student housing in Manchester, Jamaica.
In Jamaica there exist two main areas that are classified as university towns: Kingston and Mandeville, Manchester. Kingston hosts the two largest higher educational institute, the University of Technology Jamaica and the University of the West Indies Mona Campus. Plus the largest tertiary level vocational training school in Jamaica, Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI).
You can also find numerous community colleges such as the Excelsior Community College, as well as private institutions including the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) which draws quite a lot of people year after year from areas outside of Kingston. In cool cool Mandeville, Manchester there is the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and the Knox Community College.
Where to find student housing in Kingston Jamaica?
As a rule it is advisable to begin looking as soon as possible for students accommodation since there is substantial competition from both local students and international students, due to high demand but low supply of affordable priced accommodation.
The islands three major Universities currently offer student housing. The University of Technology, Jamaica for example currently provides residential accommodation for 395 students.However, such accommodation is limited.The Student housing provided at the University of The West Indies Mona Campus is not always affordable for every pocket. As a result, finding your own accommodation will more than likely be necessary. For all Universities, private institutions and some community Colleges off-campus accommodation information listing is usually provided to students who were unsuccessful in obtaining on-campus housing or have option not to take on campus housing.
Budget Student accommodations are available close to the University in low-income or lower-middle income communities. These include communities such as Hope Tavern, Kintyre, Elleston Flats, Highlight view, Land Lease, Gordon Town Road, Hope Flat, Look out and River View. These areas are usually cheaper than many other areas and are within 1 to 5 km or 15-30 minutes walk to both the University of Technology and The University of the West Indies Mona and 20-45 minutes by bus or taxi to other institutions.
A point to know is that several of these districts and sub-districts are actually informal or squatter settlements such as Land Lease and Look out, even though the quality of the houses are very high and sometimes cannot be differentiated from houses located in proper or formal housing settlements.
How much are students expected to pay for rent? On the low-end you can consider US$100.00 to US$200.00 per month. At this rate you can expect shared furnished room with single bed, Bathroom, laundry facilities, Kitchen, study/ lounge. The rent usually includes utilities and in some cases cable and wi-fi. Point to note is that some of these areas are not always the safest. Ask for advise from fellow students if necessary.
In areas such as Mona, Mountain View Avenue, Liguanea and Hope Pastures many people rent rooms, studios and flats to students. These areas are 1 to 5 km or 30 minutes walk or 15 minutes by car or bus from both Universities and 20-40 minutes by bus or taxi to other institutions.. These are generally lower-middle-income and middle-income neighbourhoods, as a result they are in high demand and normally go very quickly.
How much are students expected to pay for rent? Rent is usually US$200 to US$300 per month. At this rate you can expect shared or have your own furnished room, bathroom, laundry facilities, Kitchen, study/ lounge. The rent usually includes utilities and in some cases cable and wi-fi.
This is usually high scale accommodation in middle to high income neighborhoods. Here you can find accommodation in a gated community or apartment building with security. They are usually located a bit further away from the University then student housing in the other price ranges.
In areas like in and around Liguanea and the Golden Triangle.These communities are usually within 30 -45 minutes by car or bus to both Universities and 25-50 minutes by bus or taxi to other institutions.
How much are students expected to pay for rent? On the high end…let’s just say the sky is the limit. Rent is usually US$300 and above per month. It usually includes inclusive of wi-fi, cable, electricity & water. At this rate you can expect shared or your own furnished room, bathroom, laundry facilities, Kitchen, study/ lounge.
Where and when to start Looking for accommodations:
To get a head start:
Contact your University or College, as soon as you get your acceptance letter. They usually have a standard list of off-campus housing that is almost the same from the year before. If you are already at the University, start asking classmates and other students if they know any were to rent, as students are always changing boarding accommodation almost every year. Check school notice board, as sometimes landlords will visit schools and put notices on public notice boards to attract new students.
If you have a friend or a classmate who is in a similar situation as yourself, consider renting a normal studio or apartment and sharing the rent. In this case you can look for a normal furnished room. In some cases this might work out cheaper if you take an unfurnished apartment and use your own furniture, especially if you are in a 3-4 year program and have little intention of moving during that time. Please be aware that some landlords are not always willing to rent their place to students or accept tenants who are leaving within a year. As a result it might not wise to say, if not asked, that you are actually looking for student housing.
How much are you expected to pay for rent in a normal flat? The price varies depending on the location but as a base price (which will be shared between two or more people) you can expect to pay US$250 or more.
Check out The Jamaica Observer online classifieds and the Gleaner Jamaica online classified. Contact information by email or phone are listed. Buy the Sunday Observer or The Sunday Gleaner and check for ads that say student housing in the classifieds. If you want to be proactive, the Jamaica Observer currently offers free online placement of classified ads. Put an advertisement online with the title ‘student looking for student housing in Kingston” or something like that, there might be people who are looking for students just like you.
Never pay anyone to look for housing for you are really desperate and they have readily available housing that you know of and you know that they will provide results.
Website Advertising Student Housing
There are also a number of online websites that offer listings students housing such as
www.airbnb.com ( search student accommodation Jamaica)
Facebook page : College Rentals Ja.