Looking for a student room can be a tedious matter. We would like to provide some information that should ease the process of finding proper accommodation. We give you an overview of the type of accommodation, the price and how to find an accommodation.
In Belgium(Flanders and Wallonia) we call a student room a 'kot'. (It is a typical Belgian word. Originally it referred to a small storage room in a house. In the Netherlands they call it a 'studentenkamer' and in France a 'chambre d'étudiant'. They both literally mean student room.)
TYPE of accommodation
There are several types of accommodation for students:
Room in a private house
This is a bedroom in a house with multiple bedrooms where you share the common rooms such as bathroom, living room, kitchen, ... with the other tenants. Most Belgian students live in this type of accommodation.
Room in a residence (most of them are managed by the KUL, some by private companies)
This kind of housing consists of a building with multiple floors with a hallway. On every hallway you have a row of bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. The more expensive residences have bedrooms with their own sanitary facilities.
A proper apartment/studio
Renting an apartment/studio is the most expensive option probably. You don't pay a fixed price like with a student room. Your housing cost is determined by the fixed price of the rent, insurance and the variable costs of water and electricity usage.
You live with other students or work people in this kind of setting. Unlike the other options you have to manage and divide the cost of the rent with the other tenants of the house. This kind of housing can be interesting if you would like to live in a more spacious environment for a reasonable price, but it takes more responsibility and effort to find a proper arrangement.
For most rooms you have to pay a monthly all included price. There are some student rooms (usually in a private house) that you have to pay a fixed rate for the rent and a variable rate for water and electricity depending on your usage.
The price will be determined by the space and the location of the accommodation. Accommodation within the ring tend to be more expensive than the ones outside the ring.
Prices for a student room (in a residence/private house) range from 275 to 500 euro. If you are looking for a room with sanitary, then you probably have to look into the price range above 400 euro.
For a small apartment or studio the price will start around 500 euro.
Co-housing prices can be very diverse. You can find arrangements that are similar to normal student rooms, but also ones that come close to the price of an apartment.
HOW TO FIND
You can go about finding accommodation or a kot the following way:
1) The official search tool of KU Leuven called Kotwijs.
Kotwijs is an search online tool of the housing service of the KU Leuven that offers rooms that are verified.
On the website of the KU Leuven you can also find some information about student housing in Leuven.
2) You can also look for accommodations on Facebook. There are several Facebook groups specifically for students looking for housing.
When looking at rooms on Facebook you have to be cautious for scams. If you are considering taking a room of a private person make sure to visit the room first.
3) A partner of ESN Leuven that allows for a safe third party rental from abroad: https://housinganywhere.com
4) Book a hostel or AirBNB for when you arrive and find one of the many private landlords that rent out rooms (the KU Leuven housing service supports you in translation, etc.). You can get 10% discount for http://www.leuven-hostel.com/ by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
5) There is also an option to get a room in a KUL residence which is verified and usually cheaper: https://www.kuleuven.be/…/studentse…/accommodation/residence
You can also get a room in residence owned by a private company. Most of them are usually fine as well in terms of quality
Also follow some basic rules when renting a place:
a) NEVER make a prepayment to a private person before having seen the room and met the person - there are scams out there!
c) Compare, compare, compare. Some rooms are overpriced, so don't go with the first thing you see...
Keep in mind that in Leuven, the supply of accommodation is always higher than the demand, so you are guaranteed to have a place to stay no matter what.