How to Find Your Ideal Student Accommodation
Moving to a new town for university? Coming out of halls to find your own digs? Finding the right student accommodation can be confusing but if you’ve got your eyes and ears to the ground, you’ll know what you’re looking for – and what to avoid!
Before you go scouting for your student pad, make a list of everything you’ll need to watch out for (or take this post with you!) and be sure to be ready to make notes along the way.
Who will you be renting with?
Firstly, have you got the right group of friends to be renting an apartment with? Do you know that the others in your group are reliable and will pay their way? Or will you be looking for just a room rather than a whole property? The answer to this will determine the type of property you will be looking at.
The location and local area
Are you close to the university or where you need to get to regularly? You may want a location that is in close proximity to your friends, but the novelty will soon wear off and you’ll realise that other things may be more important.
Ideally, you’re going to want to be near a budget supermarket (one that you can walk to would probably be a good idea). If you don’t have your own transport, check out the bus routes and stops close to the property, along with prices.
As well as a supermarket, is there a pub nearby? A cafe? These three places will probably be where most of your spare cash will go!
If you’re responsible for the bills, make sure you find out which bills you’re committing to pay for. It’s handy to ask for estimates of how much each utility costs per month so you can plan that into your budget, preferably from the winter months as this will be when the bills are at their highest. It’s worth asking if the property has been insulated as this will cut heating bills down in the winter, along with missing tiles on the roof!
It is easier and less hassle to have an ‘all inclusive’ rent contract which includes everything so you know exactly how much you’re paying out for each month.
If you are a full-time student, you are exempt from council tax, so you shouldn’t be paying it!
Students can be a vulnerable target for thieves, don’t be caught out. Feeling safe in a property is extremely important. Check what type of lock is on the exterior doors and windows – is there an alarm system? It doesn’t hurt to ask about previous security issues or break-ins either. You can do your own research in the local area – houses in well-lit areas are less likely to be broken into too. The property will also need to have fire extinguishers, fire blankets and working fire alarms as well.
Don’t be afraid to look at the appliances and electrics that are in the property and whether you can see if they are in working order. You should be wary of dodgy cables and wiring or plug sockets as these can be potentially dangerous to you as a tenant.
Furnishings and fittings
What is included in the property? Have a good and clear idea of what will be in the property when you move in. You may view a fully furnished house, but will these items still be there when you move in?
Always check inventory and question anything that either does not look right or is not actually in the property. The inventory will also show wear and tear of things in the house so if you notice anything when you first get there, be sure to add it to the inventory.
Water pressure is important when there is a house full of people. The last thing you want is a queue of people waiting for showers or to flush the toilet when you’ve got too much going on at once.
Test the taps to see what pressure the water comes out at, if they trickle, the water pressure is not very good. Also, good to test the toilet flush at the same time, to make sure that plumbing is all working correctly.
Damp issues can become a nuisance. Often student accommodation is under maintained and as a result, leaves a property with damp. Make sure you check all walls and ceilings, as well as around windows. You’re looking out for black mould patches, a musky smell or flaking wallpaper. You may not think this is a big issue but it can be if it’s left, leaving your clothes and belongings to smell and cause health issues.
Use your instinct
Gut feeling has a big part to play when looking around a property, and this is no exception for student accommodation. What are your initial thoughts as you approached the property, stepped inside, and then walked around? Were your expectations met? Have you got doubts?
Discuss these feelings with the people that looked at the property with you, as well the landlord or estate agent. By talking through issues, you can come to meaningful decisions.
It’s important to not jump at the first property that you view, not only could you discover something better, but it will be easier to gauge what a property is really worth if you’ve considered a few. Renting your student accommodation is a big deal, not to mention the financial commitment, so be cautious and don’t rush into anything.
Here at Clarkes we work with student landlords to provide a great service for local students. With Bournemouth University minutes from our offices, you can be assured that we know the local area well and will do our best to find a property that suits your individual needs. We’re happy to answer any concerns you may have with a particular property, there to help with the letting process. You’re not alone in your student renting journey, please get in touch to find out more.