Students in and around university campuses need accommodation facilities at affordable prices. This need has, in recent years, seen an upsurge in homestels around major universities in Ghana.
The word homestel is a combination of two words, “home” and “hostel”, hence homestel.
They are basically homes or rooms within a house that are rented out to students seeking accommodation. Some people love them while others despise them. In this article, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of staying in a homestel and what you need to look out for before booking one.
The Pros of Living in Homestels
Affordability & Longevity
As compared to traditional hostels, homestels are cheaper depending on which city you are booking from. Based on the data gathered by GetRooms, homestels are about 10% to 15% cheaper than hostels. The tenancy range of homestels is normally on an annual basis. So students can stay for a full year as compared to being in a hostel where they pay more for 2 semesters which lasts for about seven months.
Because homestels are homes or rooms which are rented out, they normally have fewer or no inhabitants in the home. Yes, some homestels are entire houses which owners rent out to students. These type of homestels are however rare, but in an average homestel you might be sharing the home with 4-10 people per household as compared to 20 – 500 or more people in hostels depending on its size. Some tenants also let out the boys’ quarters which are normally self-contained and detached from the main house. If you happen to find such a homestel then your privacy is guaranteed.
Not all homestel rooms are customizable but you should have more freedom to customize your room when staying in a homestel than you would when staying in a hostel. Most hostels are strict on wall paint and other extensions that you might first want to add to your room since hostels are commercial enterprises. However, make sure you check with the owner of the homestel before proceeding to customize your room. Every homestel is different.
If you are looking for a quiet, easy going place to stay where you are free from the random and noisy acts of students blaring music day and night, then a homestel might be a good choice for you. Because they are homes, most inhabitants or tenants are students or workers who also appreciate a little peace and quiet at the end of the day. Some hostels might even have children within the house.
The Cons of Homestel Living
Every home has rules and so do homestels and hostels. Some homestels have rules that are grounded on religious, ethnic, social or personal influences, unlike hostels which consider the laws of Ghana first. Rules can cover anything from what time you are to be in the compound, how many visitors you can have at a go, no visitations from the opposite sex and so on. There are even rules on how to dress in the home especially for females. If you don’t easily conform to new rules then you must consider your homestel very carefully.
Uncomfortable Living Conditions
Some homestels are truly under-par as some desperate home owners take advantage of the growing need for student accommodation around
We always advise students to book rooms through GetRooms as we have a basic standard that all hostels and homestels have to meet before being listed on GetRooms. All the hostels and homestels on GetRooms are screened and checked to meet all the necessary basic requirements.
Lack of Security
Over the past years, there have been reports of students being robbed of their gadgets and money at gunpoint in the various universities in Ghana. Most of these robberies occur off campus in dark or poorly lit alleys and roads. In KNUST the private hostel managers association have come together to provide street lights and security officers at various vantage points all in an effort to keep their students safe. This can not be said of homestels as the owners do not have an association and hence have no measures in place to safeguard their students.
Hostels have a regulatory body namely the Ghana Tourism Authority that provides a rule of law governing their activities. As you might have guessed, homestels do not have any regulatory body and hence can be unpredictable at certain times. Tenancy agreements must be authenticated before paying any money for the room. Prospective tenants should be cautious of fraudsters who may pose as the owners of the homestel when they are not.
What to look out for when choosing a homestel
Make sure that you are dealing with the home owner and that the Tenancy Agreement is authentic with the proper Affidavits. If you are not sure you can always ask for legal advice before proceeding.
Find out how utility bills are paid in the homestel. Most homestels share the bills between the number of people in the home. You can imagine the kind of controversy that can cause when the homeowner feels that you are using more electricity than he is just because he hears your speakers every day. Be sure that there is a transparent and fair method of paying for utilities.
Always get some local information concerning the place that you would like to stay in. Many have avoided trouble by simply asking locals about the history of the homestel. Some home owners have a bad record of abusing or swindling inmates and everyone but you knows about it. Ask a few shop owners, food vendors and “area boys” for credible information. The GetRooms team does this very often to make sure that the homestels that make it to our website are genuine, organised and trustworthy.
If you are looking for a hostel or a homestel to book then you should check out GetRooms for quality listings. Feel free to share this article