Ballot procedures

This page explains how the graduate room ballot works in detail. Please use the links below to skip to the sections you require.

Entering the ballot

All current graduate students who expect to continue in a graduate course at King's during academic year 2015/16, and require accommodation, are eligible to enter the graduate room ballot. This includes any current MPhil students applying to do a PhD at King's.

If you are in any doubt as to whether you will be continuing as a graduate student at King’s in 2015/16, or whether you require accommodation, you are advised to enter the ballot, if you later discover you do not require a room (before the room selections), please email accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk to cancel.

To enter the room ballot you must complete the application form online by Monday the 18th of May 2015 (9am). Any students who do not complete the form will be assumed to be not requiring college accommodation in 2015/16.

Students who enter the ballot are divided into 3 categories:

Category

Priority

You should be in this category if…

Most students in this category are…

1

Highest
(room guaranteed)

2015/16 will probably be your final year;
AND you have never been in Category 1 in a previous year.

3rd years

4th years and above (who chose to defer their category 1 position in previous years)

2

Middle
(subject to availability)

2015/16 will probably not be your final year;
AND you have never been in Category 1 in a previous year.

1st years who started with an MPhil year

2nd years

3

Lowest
(subject to availability)

You have been in Category 1 in a previous year.

4th years and above

It is your responsibility to declare on the application form which category you think you should be in, depending on how your work is progressing. We do check to make sure people don't enter in Category 1 twice.  There are various routes through the system – here are some examples:

Example 1:

PhD

1st year: Accommodation assigned before arrival
2nd year: Category 2
3rd year: Category 1

   

Example 2:

MPhil + PhD

MPhil year: Accommodation assigned before arrival
PhD 1st year: Category 2
PhD 2nd year: Category 2
PhD 3rd year: Category 1

Example 3:

PhD lasting longer than 3 years (deferring)

1st year: Accommodation assigned before arrival
2nd year: Category 2
3rd year: Category 2 (deferring category 1 position)
4th year: Category 1

Example 4:

PhD lasting longer than 3 years (non-deferring)

1st year: Accommodation assigned before arrival
2nd year: Category 2
3rd year: Category 1
4th year: Category 3

Residency dates

New tenancies normally commence on the Friday immediately before full Michaelmas term starts, and billed on a quarterly basis from then onwards. However, if you are already living in a college room and staying during the summer, a date will be arranged during August or September for you to move rooms and allow continuous unbroken accommodation. If you want continuous accommodation, you must be co-operative with date requirements for you to move.

No distinction is made between term and vacation time – you may stay in your room at any point during the academic year. If you chose to go away at any point, rent will continue to be charged and you may keep belongings in your room, unless you have arranged otherwise.

Tenancies can be terminated at any point by emailing accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk with a minimum of one month notice. If you give less than one month’s notice, you will be charged rent up until one month from when notice was given.

By default, a tenancy runs until 30 June. During Easter term, the Accommodation Officer will ask for anyone wishing to stay during July, August and September to fill in an online form. If you complete the form by the deadline, you can request to stay through the whole of July, August and up to Sunday 13 September (the Sunday three weekends before Matriculation weekend). Staying for the remainder of September is only permitted if you are also booked to stay in a college room the following academic year (2015/16).

You may be asked to move rooms after the 30 of June due to on-going refurbishments in Graduate Hostels. We will offer you a different room but cannot guarantee the same rent band

If you remain in residence throughout the summer, and are staying in college accommodation during 2015/16, the Accommodation Officer will contact you in June to arrange a date for you to move rooms during the summer. Depending on the needs of other students, the date you are asked to move could potentially be at any time during July, August or September, though in the majority of cases, it will either be early-mid July or late-September. In some cases, particularly when there are building works taking place, it might not be possible for you to move directly into your new room, and you may be assigned a temporary room elsewhere in the college for part of the summer.

If you need accommodation for less than the whole academic year

If you need accommodation from the beginning of Michaelmas term, but do not expect to need it right the way through until the end of June, you are still eligible to enter the room ballot. When you fill in the application form, please specify the approximate dates you need a room for when asked. You will need to insure, when you are ready to move out, that you give at least one month’s notice – otherwise you may be charged additional rent for the notice period.

If you do not need accommodation from late September / early October, but need a room later on in the academic year, you cannot be entered into the room ballot. However, you are still advised to fill in the application form, as it may be possible to pair you up with someone in the ballot who only needs a room for the opposite part of the year. The Accommodation Officer will contact you after room selection has taken place if such an arrangement has been possible. Otherwise, you are advised to contact the Accommodation Officer as soon as possible after October in the new academic year has started, to find out what rooms are remaining and make a booking.

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Choosing a Room

Details of the available rooms are available on the available rooms and rents page. Further information is also available on the KCGS Accommodation web page. Please note this page is not run by the College, so we cannot guarantee its accuracy. If you find anything incorrect, please email accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk. It is the student’s responsibility to research rooms before choosing, and it is not possible to change your room choice after you have made it. Floor plans of our accommodation buildings are also available on the floor plans page. Some of these plans are old and no longer exact representations, but are accurate enough to see the locations of rooms in each building.

The best way to find out about what different rooms are like is to ask the current occupants for a viewing. The accommodation officer will not divulge the names or contact details of room occupants, so if you wish to view a room where you do not know the occupant, you should knock on the door or leave a note with your details on. To view rooms in hostels, you may need to ask someone who already lives in the hostel to let you in the main entrance, or use the intercom system if present.

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Room availability

The number and location of rooms available in the graduate room ballot varies from year to year, for a number of reasons. The College is committed to providing accommodation to all undergraduate students, of whom there are small natural fluctuations in numbers from year to year. We provide varying numbers of offices and residential rooms for Fellows from year to year. Every year there are some rooms closed for refurbishment, as decided by the Buildings and Safety Committee. We also have to estimate how many first year graduate students we expect to house, which is inherently unpredictable.

All these factors have a collective impact on how many rooms are available to continuing graduate students. The college aims to accommodate all first year and all final year (i.e. Category 1) graduate students – some years we are able to accommodate many more than this, other years we cannot.

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Rents

Rooms are categorized into 6 rent bands. Rooms in the higher rent bands are typically larger, more conveniently located or better equipped. Rents are detailed on the rents page.

Please note if you stay in the same room from October to September in any given academic year, September’s rent is half price. No further reduction in rent for September is given for those who leave partway through September. If you ask to move rooms at any point in the year then you will not be eligible for the September rent reduction. The only exception to this is if you have to move rooms at the end of June, because of college building work.

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Maintenance and Building work

The College has a rolling programme of maintenance and redecoration work for student rooms. Some rooms will be taken out of service for the academic year for refurbishment.

Occasionally, we require students to move rooms temporarily in order to allow for redecoration or repair. If you are asked to move rooms, and the only room we can move you to be of a higher rent band than your normal room, we will not charge you the difference. If the room we move you to is of a lower rent band, then you will pay the lower rent during the time you live in the room.

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Special room or furnishing requirements

If you feel you have any special requirements for your accommodation in 2015/16, it is important you let the Accommodation Officer know in advance of the ballot, so this can be taken into account. Special requirements might include having a ground floor room, a lift-accessible room, or an en-suite bathroom. Please note that we will only allow such requests under exceptional circumstances, and normally we will require a doctors' note or some other kind of evidence. Permission will be at the discretion of the Assistant Tutor. As Graduates are not guaranteed accommodation for every year, we can normally only accommodate requests from those of you using your Category 1 status but this is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

An email will be sent out regarding this in early May 2015. If you wish to make a special request for your accommodation in the next academic year, you reply to this email by 9am on Monday 18 May 2015, with a brief explanation of your requirements and the reason for them. Please send an email in even if you have been granted a special room request before, to insure you are not missed.

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Preliminary names list published

On Tuesday 19 May, the list of everyone who has completed the ballot application form will be emailed to all of the Graduates so you can check you have been entered into the correct category and not been missed. It is your responsibility to let us know as soon as possible if there are any errors by midday on 21 May.

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Ballot draw

The ballot will be drawn on Friday 22 May, 10.30am, in the Tutorial office, to determine the order in which students will select rooms. This will take place in the following order:

  1. Any category 1 students who were not in the ballot last year
  2. Category 2
  3. Category 3

The ballot order for Category 1 will be based on the previous year’s category 2 list in reverse, having removed anyone who has not entered the 2015/16 ballot as a category 1. Anyone entering the 2015/16 ballot that was not in category 2 in 2015/16 will be assigned a position at random. Other members of the Tutorial office will be drawing the random results from the hat and you are welcome to enquire as to who was assisting for each Category.

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Room selection schedule

Once the room ballot is complete, a schedule of appointments will be published on the intranet (Friday 22 May), using the sequence chosen in the ballot. The appointments (preliminary- may be delayed until the following Monday or Tuesday) will all be on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May.

The schedule will list the exact times each person should attend to select their room. At the allotted time, please come to the Accommodation Officer in the Tutorial Office (F2). If you cannot attend, you can call 01223 769473 during your appointment time or you can email ahead with a list of rooms (you must give as many choices as there are people ahead of you +1). I will update the available rooms throughout the day.

The selection list will also indicate, (if known), whether each room has been booked for summer 2015. If a student wants to stay in their current room over the summer (without another room to move into) and the new tenant also wants to move in early, then the currant tenant is given the priority until 13 September at the latest.

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Late or early arrivals

If you arrive late for your appointment, you will be allowed to pick as soon as there is a gap. Your appointment will not be held – if you arrive late, you will have fewer rooms to choose from.

If you arrive early for your appointment, you may be asked to wait until your appointment time.

Your position in future ballots will be based on your planned appointment time, rather than when you actually attended.

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If you cannot attend the appointment

Please email accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk. Depending on the timings, it may be possible to vary your appointment time slightly. Alternatively, you may pick by the following methods:

  • Telephone call to 01223 769473 during your appointment;
  • Email to accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk during your appointment;
  • Email to accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk in advance (with an ordered list of room preferences – at least as many rooms as there are people ahead of you);
  • Asking someone else to choose on your behalf but you must notify the accommodation office of who they are ahead of the appointment time.

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Cancellations

After the ballot has taken place, if for any reason you find you no longer need a room in 2015/16, please email accommodation.officer@kings.cam.ac.uk immediately. You have an obligation to still give at least 1 months’ notice on cancelling the room so all room cancellations must be declared by the start of September. Last minute cancellations may still be required to pay for the Michaelmas term rent.  Please be considerate, if you can cancel early then do, another student may be waiting to take up any places that come up.

Due to cancellations, additional rooms sometimes become available in August and September. If this happens, we contact students who failed to secure a room in the ballot, who will be offered any remaining rooms in ballot number order. We don't re-advertise to people who have a room straight away, regardless of available room location.  If not all the rooms are filled by this process, they will then be offered to any graduate students who were not in the ballot originally, but may now want a room. We also cannot accept your cancellation on the condition that we offer that particular room to another particular student.

We cannot guarantee that there will be rooms available in this way, so we strongly recommend that all students who are unsuccessful in the ballot look for alternative accommodation.

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