Upon entering college, many young people begin a new stage of their lives, with huge challenges to face. They will be living away from home, family and other new responsibilities are looming.

During this new big step, it is important to find a place to live. For many students, university is the first time they leave their parents' home. "Before starting this new journey, it is important for young people to have several tips so that this task doesn’t become a problem."


According to DECO, there are many ways to do your research. Firstly, you can visit different websites, real estate agents, university websites, as well as many Facebook groups where you can find a house. Student associations are also a good contact.

Apart from apartments or rooms that you rent directly from the landlord or an estate agent, there are rooms that the university offers you where prices can be much more affordable. This is the case of "university residences", where you pay much less but may have to share your room with a roommate.

In addition, there are some universities (such as Coimbra University) where there are "repúblicas" which are student houses, with their own rules, run by the students themselves, with a strong link to the academic tradition - this option is also cheap, but you will have to be open-minded to immerse yourself in the traditions and their rules.

Also, there are social action projects that allow you to share accommodation with an older person and have no associated expenses. It is an option for scholarship students that have to apply to it.


DECO suggests that people "visit the various houses in person, in order to analyse their actual conditions. DECO has a Consumer Support Office ready to give you all the answers you need. Before deciding, make an estimate of the cost of your journey between your home and university".

Furthermore, DECO suggests that you shouldn't accept a rental without a proper contract, where all the conditions are written down, including the state of the house at the time it was handed over to you, and a list of the furniture and equipment included".

To ensure that this information is clear, DECO advises consumers to take photographs of the house. Then, "attach them to the rental contract and take a copy so that you have proof of the state of the room/apartment before you start renting. This will help you avoid problems with the deposit at the end of the tenancy."

Having a written document is also important for deducting rental expenses on the IRS (income tax return).

“If you book through a digital platform, remember it's important to read the terms and conditions of use and cancellation policy carefully, which can vary depending on the accommodation provider. But don't forget, you should always ask the owner for permission”, DECO says.


In most types of student accommodation options, the costs of water, electricity and gas are already included in the rent you pay. However, the DECO Guide alerts young people to what they should pay attention to in relation to these services.

It is important to note that if these services are not included in the rent, a rental contract will be required to obtain these services. When you sign a contract for the supply of one of these services, you are responsible for paying for them, even if you share your home with other housemates. “Try to keep track of your consumption of these services and, ideally, you should be able to send meter readings in advance to avoid estimates and very high bills”, DECO pointed out.

Also find out if you are entitled to the social internet tariff. This can help you save "a few bucks". Telecommunication services (television, internet and mobile phone...); may or may not have a binding contract and therefore are cheaper. If there is a binding contract, it means that you have to stay with the contract for a certain period, (six or 12 or 24 months), according to DECO.


Did you know that there are banks that are partners of some educational institutions and have special accounts for young people with attractive conditions?

“They are normally maintenance-free and give access to a debit card without having to pay an annual fee. In addition, they allow you to carry out major day-to-day operations free of charge. But the student account and its benefits do not last forever”, DECO said. When you get to a certain age or end the degree you’ll start paying.

"We advise you to compare the associated costs (e.g. opening fee, card annual fee and transfers), opting for the most favourable one".

Advantages of being a student

Student times are unique and will never be forgotten - no matter how old you are you will always remember those days. Although it is time to work hard on your subjects, it is also time to make new friends, have fun and enjoy the many discounts that are made especially for students when it comes to food, public transport, bank accounts etc.


Paula Martins is a fully qualified journalist, who finds writing a means of self-expression. She studied Journalism and Communication at University of Coimbra and recently Law in the Algarve. Press card: 8252

Paula Martins