Life as a student can take a turn for the worse without the right kind of accommodation. If you have a bad landlord, a faulty tenancy agreement or find yourself stuck somewhere you seriously dislike, you could have to live there for your full student year. Whether you are stepping out of your house for the first time, or returning as a postgraduate, there are some things it pays to do research on. Aside from what your actual rent is, you could be facing additional charges, especially through utility bills or money cut from your security deposit. Everyone has their own specifications when looking for a place to rent. Here is a list of four things you should know about before deciding whether your new student accommodation is the perfect place for you.
Decide on Your Student Accommodation
Every student knows the essential parts of the renting process: find a place with available accommodation for the term, either through your University or by yourself. If you are renting with the University, then a large part of your student life just got easier. But renting by yourself, or with a group of friends can be an amazing experience as well. For those people looking into renting a student home, here are four tips to help you on your way:
- Landlords: Most landlords know exactly what they are doing, and very often you will find a helpful soul committed to giving you an amazing renting experience. Online reviews, testimonials and talking to past tenants can all help you better understand whether your landlord makes living somewhere worth it or not. In case your University or a Housing Organization offers lists of student home’s with trusted landlords, choosing from there would always be a better option. Remember you have responsibilities as a tenant as well, and you should always prioritize paying your rent in time.
- Making sure everything is in order: You should start that by photographing everything should you find a place you decide to rent. Everything from cracks in the walls, to existing stains on your kitchen counters should be photographed to avoid money being cut off from your deposit fee. Make sure that any and all electrical appliances you bring in can work properly in your new home. For people thinking about bringing in powerful laptops, TV’s, music systems and other gadgets, this is definitely something to consider. Also ensure that all the existing appliances in the house – light fixtures, the refrigerator, the bathroom – everything is in perfect working order before deciding on a place.
- Your lease: It is important to remember that most leases last the length of a term, so you will have to live in whichever accommodation you choose for that year. Read your tenancy agreement very carefully, and make sure you are comfortable with everything it says. It is always a good idea to ask questions, and as long as you are being polite, a landlord should have no problems. Your Rights as guaranteed by your country cannot be overridden by any private agreement between you and your landlord. Remember to ask your landlord the exact dates when rent is due, and ask him about past utility bills. Knowing about this is especially important in ensuring that you do not have to pay a previous tenant’s electricity or gas bill. Also it could help you gauge whether you are financially comfortable paying your utility bills in your new home. Finally, in case you or your landlord changes your mind before signing the tenancy agreement, any deposit that was given before should be refundable. Especially in situations where the landlord changed their mind, you can expect a full refund of your deposit.
- Location: Cheaper accommodation is always better for a student. But sometimes, cheaper accommodation drives up traveling expenses and puts you far away from everything that is happening in student hotspots. Depending on the rental location, many student housings further away from University will have cheaper rents. Knowing the location and its history is important to ensure you do not end up in a dangerous area. Many students are often the targets of robberies, so good, strong doors that lock well and make you feel safe are important. If you do not like the lock on your home, ask the landlord if it can be made stronger before signing the tenancy agreement.
Once you have everything done, and are absolutely comfortable with most parts of your new student accommodation, you can comfortably sign your lease. Doing your own research instead of opting for a letting agent could also save you a lot of money. As long as you follow these tips, you should have a basic idea of what to consider when choosing your new student home.