Off campus FAQ

Campus is great, but you can't always live 5 minutes from your lectures. This page should help you adjust to living off campus and answer any questions you have.

How can I get to campus from living off campus?

  • Lots of buses that go to campus are run by First Essex – they have a handy journey planner on their website, where you can find timetables and more.
  • Or if you fancy cycling, look out for re-cycle on campus who sell refurbished bikes.


How do I get a bus pass?

You can buy a First Essex bus pass from The Burrow in Square 3. They’re open Monday to Friday 8am – 5.30pm.


What about recycling and rubbish?

You can grab a copy of the latest Recycling Calendar here. All black sacks/recycling/food waste should be placed outside your house by 7am on their specific collection day by the kerb – make sure you don’t put it out any earlier, as animals can rip the bags and cause a lot of mess. If you’re still not sure, email your friendly street rep team at


What if I have a question about my housing contract, or I’m having problems with my landlord?

Visit the SU Advice Centre on Square 3. Their contact details and opening hours are right here or you can drop them an email at


How can I get involved in my local community?

vTeam have loads of one-off projects in the local area where you can help make a difference, or regular projects to help develop useful skills. You can find their details here or email the team at


What about day to day chores – how can everyone do their share?

It can be a good idea to sit down with all your housemates at the beginning of the year and draw up a rota, deciding what days people do certain chores, such as cleaning, washing up, hoovering etc. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss any concerns or issues – some people may want a heads up if you’re having friends over late at night, for example – and to get this sorted in writing at the beginning of the tenancy will help a lot.


How should we organise paying the bills?

Sometimes it can help to designate one person to deal with the landlord and paying bills etc., then other tenants split the bills and pay this person. Make sure you only agree to what you’re comfortable with though.


I need to find somewhere to live

Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. Pop down to SU Homes off Square 3 to see how we can help 


What if I have a question or idea about living off campus?

Contact your street reps at – these are a team of ten friendly student volunteers to help make living off campus as stress-free as possible.


How can I help make sure my belongings are safe?

Remember to shut your windows when you leave your room, lock the doors and windows when you go out, and never leave valuables on display. You can also register your belongings with Immobilise 


How do we get home after a night out?

  • If you want to get home from a night out on campus or even working late, you can catch the Safety Bus home for just £1 – latest info and timetables are here 
  • If you’re in town, it may be a good idea to get a taxi home. Make sure you’ve got some local taxi numbers saved in your phone before going out. There are taxi ranks in town too – try the High Street.


What if I don’t get along with my housemates?

This is something the street reps can help with – drop them an email at You could also try the SU Advice Centre on Square 3 - their contact details and opening hours are right here or you can drop them an email at


What if I want to have a party?

  • Consider your neighbours and give them plenty of notice – they may have young children, or wake up early in the morning for work.
  • Let Environmental Protection at Colchester Borough Council know in advance at or 01206 282 812 – this is just so they are aware in case any residents get in contact about it.
  • Start and finish at a sensible time, and keep volume and bass levels down. Bass easily passes through walls, floors and ceilings. It can help to close windows, too. Avoid playing music outdoors and avoid placing speakers or TVs against the wall where possible – particularly if you live in a semi-detached or terraced house.
  • It’s a good idea to say goodbye to visitors indoors and ask taxi drivers to knock at the door or ring you rather than sound their horn. Ask your guests to leave quietly too.


It’s really important to try and minimise noise disturbance where possible – sometimes neighbours can submit noise complaints which may even result in a fine of up to £5000 and possibly a criminal record – not great. Even though you’re living off campus you’re still representing the university of Essex – this can get a bit tricky if your household is being complained about to Environmental Protection and sometimes the Proctor can get involved.


Living off campus is a great opportunity to learn about living away from home in a diverse community – handy for when you graduate. Getting it right now can really help the transition.


Should I get to know my neighbours?

Yes! It also helps with safety – if your neighbours know you and your housemates, they are more likely to report anything suspicious.


What if I’m delayed getting to campus because of travel problems?

Contact your tutor/lecturer whenever it is safe and legal to do so (aka not whilst sat in traffic on the A12 if you're driving) letting them know.


Will I still feel part of the campus community?

Absolutely. Lots of off campus students have this concern initially but any worries quickly disappear. A great way to stay involved is joining a sports club or society – you can find out more here and here 


Any key contacts I should have?

  • You can contact your street reps here who can help with any questions or ideas about living off campus
  • Environmental Protection or 01206 282 812 for problems around noise or rubbish.
  • To report a crime or in an emergency call 999, or Essex Police’s non-emergency number is 101
  • You can contact Colchester Borough Council here 01206 282222 – this can be for things like noise problems, or anti-social behaviour.
  • Sam Lancaster is the local zone warden for Greenstead and Hythe and can be contacted at
  • Melinda Bracey is the local zone warden for Wivenhoe and can be contacted at
  • Zone wardens help improve the quality of life in the area and support the community and local residents.


What if I’m having problems with my neighbours?

Drop the street reps an email at who will help with details for the best agency to contact.


Do I pay council tax?

No – students don’t pay council tax as long as the property is only occupied by students - more info here 


What about the street lights – are they going to be turned back on between 1am and 5am?

This is something we are constantly raising with the local council. We are regularly attending meetings with local councillors and any updates on the situation will be passed on.

The latest information on it can be found here 

Can I take trolleys from the supermarket?

No, sorry! You can even help report abandoned trollies with the Trolleywise App


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