You’ve got your place at university or college, now you can think about where you’ll be living, but where do you start? If you’re not going to be living in the halls of residence, here are a few pointers to kick off your search.
You’ll need to be on the ball. The best student lets will get snapped up as soon as the housing lists come out. Register with the university’s accommodation department and student letting agencies as soon as you’re accepted.
Visit areas in which student property is located, get a feel for the areas and make a shortlist of your preferred locations.
What do you want from your accommodation? Make a list of your ‘must haves’ vs ‘nice to haves,’ thinking about:
Try to take along someone who knows what to look for – a parent, partner or a friend. They might spot something you don’t.
If you’re looking at a shared house, try to meet the other existing or potential housemates. If possible, try to meet the landlord too.
If you’re able to see recent utility bills you can get a picture of your expected outgoings. It will help confirm what is or isn’t included in the rent and, if it’s a house-share, how the bills are split.
Don’t be afraid to give the place a thorough inspection, go beyond the initial appearance of the décor, looking at:
Is there enough physical room for your belongings? Don’t forget outdoor storage for bikes, skateboards, etc. Look at the communal spaces, can you share? Will you have enough privacy when you need to clear your mind and get down to studying.
Most will come with communal areas furnished and should provide a bed. But it’s always best to check. Think about desks, chairs, storage.
Establish what the deposit amount is, ask if the agent or landlord is part of a recognised Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and if you need a reference or a guarantor ahead of agreeing to a tenancy.
Ensure that you are going to be renting from a reputable landlord or agency and that they are part of an independent regulatory body.