At We are Homes for Students, we know that finding the right property with accommodation can be a hard and tiring process. Young people often settle for a pricey or unpleasant rental property that they don’t actually like.
It’s important to know what needs attention when viewing a student house to make an informed decision. There’s a lot to consider – location and transport nearby, living conditions inside the property, hidden costs, responsibilities of the tenants and landlord, etc.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 tips for searching for a student rental property.
Neighbourhood and Transport
One of the top priorities when searching for the ideal student accommodation is its location. It sounds lovely to wake up and be at the university in no time, doesn’t it?
A convenient property close to the university might be out of your budget. Therefore, view student houses in proximity to metro or bus stations recommend the property experts at House Buyers 4u. Or if you cycle, research areas know bike lanes and bike-friendly infrastructure.
Nex come local services and amenities:
- Grocery stores;
- Doctors and dentists;
- Cafes, bakeries, restaurants, and clubs;
- Cosmetic studios.
Use our Location Selector to find your new home.
Protection from Harm
There’s one thing you should be cautious during house viewing, and that’s personal safety.
- Request information about fire exits, the emergency evacuation plan of the building, any security alarms or cameras.
- Inspect the quality of the door and window locks.
- Also, check the entry access to the building – bonus points for chips or code systems.
- Let your landlord know if you have any concerns about the security of the accommodation. They want the property intact as much as you do. So they might be open to upgrades.
Is the area new to you?
Do some online research or ask friends of safety in the neighbourhood. Usually, houses on main roads with street lights are safest. You might prefer a quiet location, but consider that burglars usually target such properties.
Last but not least, ask where the fire extinguishers and alarms are in the student property.
Appliances and Devices
It’s your right to test if the domestic appliances work properly. Discuss which items go into the property inventory and which belong to the previous tenants. As a rule of thumb, student houses usually include fridges and ovens as opposed to microwaves.
Check out our guide: Essential Equipment for a Student Kitchen
If you are unhappy with what you get, talk to the landlord or property manager and try to find a compromise. You have a chance of turning the scales in your favour before you sign the tenancy agreement.
Pay attention to exposed or damaged cables, tricky sockets as they are a potential hazard and source of systematic electrical wastage.
Damp and Mould
These two go hand in hand when there’s high humidity indoors and might damage your furniture, clothes, shoes, not to mention your wellbeing. If you have asthma or allergies, mould is one of your worst enemies.
How to spot the signs of damp in a rental property? Inspect the ceilings and walls, especially near windows, behind huge pieces of furniture, and in the bathroom. Check for black mould stains, musky odour, or paint flakes.
Hidden Pest Infestations
Pesky rodents and insects are often an issue in student apartments. Mice, rats, cockroaches, bedbugs, pigeons and flies are among the many pests found in the UK, especially in London.
Honestly, the most common cause of pest infestations is food leftovers or full trash bins left by tenants to rot. You shouldn’t be the person “inheriting” such a problem from previous tenants and make sure you “leave” no such thing behind, yourself!
Look into kitchen cabinets, near the bins, under furniture and appliances.
Keep an eye for signs of pests such as droppings, red and brown stains on mattresses, rodent traps. If the property is on the last floor, check out for nests, feathers, faeces or bird sounds.
Water Supply Status
The key to happy cohabitation in a student house is functional bathrooms and proper water pressure. So, remember to turn the taps and check the water supply during the viewing.
Don’t be afraid to flush the toilet. You don’t have to be an experienced plumber to notice leaks. Keep an eye for any telltale signs of damp or water damage!
We already mentioned the importance of the property inventory. You need to know what remains in the house and is available for use. You might rent the property for the comfortable-looking sofa, only to find it missing when you move in. Annoying, right?
If landlords target students as tenants, then the accommodation should come equipped with a desk and chair. If there aren’t any, try to make a request for new or second-hand furniture.
We advise you to inspect the mattresses too. Look for stains, dents or broken springs. A few minutes now can save you hours of troubled sleep.
The worse the house insulation, the higher the electricity bills. And that’s bad news for you if the utilities aren’t part of the rent. When the property has excellent insulation, you can save hundreds of pounds from energy bills yearly.
Check the house for:
- Secure doors with no gaps;
- Reliable heating system;
- Double-glazed window;
- Roof insulation.
Remember to touch the walls inside the premises. If they’re cold, then the insulation is of poor quality and may later cause damp and mould.
Cunning landlords lure tenants with freebies such as smart TVs, Xbox consoles or home entertainment systems. Don’t fall for that trap, even if it seems like the perfect deal. Often landlords use this tactic to charge more for rent.
Of course, this isn’t always the case.
Stay alert for smart decisions.
Learn more: TV Licensing – What are the Rules for Students?
Discussion with the Current Tenants
What better way to get an insight than to talk to the source, i.e. the current tenants. Usually, they have no reason to withhold information and will provide you with objective facts.
Approach the tenants and kindly ask about the pros and cons of the student house. If they sound sincerely happy about their residency in the landlord’s absence, then that’s the finest review you can receive.
Good luck with the house hunting!