Students Staff

Advice on communal living

Philosophy and politics student Mandi gives advice on what it's like to live in halls of residence at Essex.

Living in University accommodation you will meet students from different nationalities, cultures, faiths, spiritual beliefs and political outlook. We value the contribution such richness and diversity brings to the University's academic and social life. We hope that the friendships and contacts you form will enhance your stay in our accommodation and enrich your time at Essex both now and when you embark on your chosen career.

Respect for others

In such a diverse and close community it is crucial that we respect our differences and do not allow either prejudice or the exercising of our own freedoms to adversely affect the freedoms of others. We ask you to bear this in mind not only in regard to your accommodation but also in keeping noise to a minimum in travelling to and from your residence. Whilst we may be stating the obvious, it might be useful to outline the kinds of engagement that will help in living in shared accommodation in an international community.

Get to know your housemates

Please make every effort to get to know your housemates by name; share your languages and your cultural experiences. If you are from the UK be aware of the courage shown by our international visitors in coming to study here. They may be experiencing the same anxieties as yourself but without the benefit of immediate family and friends. Where there are non-native English speakers, help them practise their English; perhaps learn a little of their language in the process.

Dealing with problems

If there are issues which are causing tension, check this guide to see if you have good reason for concern and try and resolve issues by talking about them with the individual concerned in an unthreatening way. Do not try and communicate your concerns by leaving notes. This causes offence and is highly impersonal. Be prepared to concede that you may be also inadvertently causing offence through your behaviour. Ask for the help of Residence Life in trying to resolve an issue if a personal approach does not work.

In support of the above it may be useful to identify some of the kinds of issues that can arise and distinguish some boundaries to actions and behaviour.


You cannot request permission for a guest to stay until two weeks after your autumn term contract has started because it is disruptive to the process of students settling in. After then, you are allowed to have one guest for an occasional stay of up to three nights duration. You do need to seek permission by contacting the Student Services Hub. Please let the team know the name and gender of the person staying, as well as their contact details and how long they are staying for. If you want to request for your guest to stay longer than three nights, then speak with the team at the Hub (children under the age of 16 are not permitted to stay in the accommodation).


When living in University residences it is important to recognise that noise travels easily and can be a considerable irritant to fellow students. This is particularly so during sleeping hours and during exam periods, or when preparing for assignments and placements.

Lack of sleep can be a considerable source of stress and anxiety. For this reason, between the hours of midnight and 8am, we expect that noise is contained and that there should be no noise audible from outside the room from any electronic equipment (such as televisions or stereos). Noise from social interchange, conversations, use of communal facilities, late arrivals etc. should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Between the hours of 8am and midnight a degree of social activity is expected and that some noise may result. But we expect for example that noise from electronic equipment is kept to a level which allows others to study. The use of sub woofers which can disturb residents some distance from the source are not appropriate in University residences.

Electronic equipment should not be left on while rooms are unattended and University staff may be called to turn equipment off. Parties and large social gatherings are generally not permitted within accommodation.

Tidiness and cleanliness

The general condition in communal areas such as kitchens and bathrooms is a shared responsibility. While we ensure that these areas are cleaned regularly we do expect that you leave these areas in a suitable condition for cleaning to take place.


Rooms should not be unduly cluttered with personal equipment and should be left in a suitable condition to allow cleaning and health and safety to be maintained.

Terms of residence

Further information on the rules and regulations of University accommodation as well as communal living are available in the Terms and conditions of Residence