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What to Look for When Choosing Private Student Housing

Choosing Your First Student House

Unsure About How to Choose Your First Student House? Here Are Some Things You Might Want to Consider When Selecting Your Off-Campus Accommodation. 

Renting privately owned property is the most popular option for university students seeking accommodation. New Undergraduate students often look to live on-campus for their Freshers year, but after that, once they’ve found their footing and friends they’d like to live with, they tend to move off-campus into a shared rented house or flat. 

So, if you too are a student looking to move off-campus with some friends, you might want to consider a few things about your new place first. Organising your own accommodation without the go-between of a parent or your university can be daunting; what do you need to look out for when finding a good place?  

We’re here to help; read on for a few factors to consider before signing that contract!

Location

The location of your property should be very relevant to your search.  

As teaching thankfully moves back to in-person, you’ll need to be within a reasonable distance of your campus. To save yourself an arduous journey to each of your lectures, you should look to be either within walking distance of your campus or within walking distance of some decent transport links that can get you there. Especially if your timetable includes some early-morning lectures, you don’t want to be getting up at 5am to compensate for a long journey to class! 

Location also factors into your quality of life at uni. Make sure your place is within reasonable distance of all the necessities; grocery shops, a GP, transport links into town. If you have particular wants in your location, check those too! Whether the property is close to a gym, or a 24-hour Starbucks, or a nice park, might be the make-or-break as to whether you’d want to live there! 

To get a feel of the area it might be worth having a walk around the neighbourhood when you view the property, or even a virtual exploration on Google Maps, to check for all the local amenities. 

Making sure the location suits your needs (and wants) is vital in making a good choice in your property hunt. 

What’s Included in the Rent Price 

If you’re coming from living in university halls, you likely haven’t had to worry about bills. As standard, halls prices have the cost for things like water, heating and internet included. Sadly, that’s not always the case for private student housing. 

A comparatively low rent price, while initially exciting, usually means bills aren’t included. Luckily, though, it’s usually made clear as to whether the price includes bills on whatever property compare or estate agent site that you’re using for your house search. Often the cost with bills is also included, albeit less prominently, on the listing. 

Be wary of what the advertised rent price actually includes, especially if your budget is tight! 

Issues with the House 

The house and its contents are also things to look out for. You don’t want to have to spend all your free time chasing up your landlord with issues that you could have spotted during your viewing. Here’s things to check for before you decide on a place. 

  • Damp 

A black looking mould, damp can not only ruin your clothes or furnishings, but if you have asthma, hay fever, or other breathing-related health issues, it can severely exacerbate them. 

  • Pests 

Pests can come in many forms- slugs, ants, bedbugs, fleas or rats to name a few. All are tiresome and potentially traumatic to deal with, and will negatively impact your quality of life and ability to study. Some pests, or their excrement, will be fairly easy to spot, while others hide out in specific places. Bed bugs, for example, will make themselves known with black or brown dots on your mattresses.  

  • Security 

Good security measures allow peace of mind in your own home – something every tenant wants. Check window and door locks are present and in good working order, as well as there being a functional fire alarm and extinguishers or fire blankets. Bonus points if there’s a burglar alarm! 

  • Water 

While weak water pressure might just be an annoying inconvenience, there’s a chance it could also be a sign there’s an issue with the plumbing. Try out the taps during your viewing to make sure the water is running strong and clear, or try flushing the toilet. Signs of leaks are well worth checking for too; incorrectly installed or sealed showers, sinks, baths or toilets can lead to disastrous structural issues should they go on leaking unnoticed. 

  • Internet 

As we found during Covid, the internet isn’t just a luxury, but a necessity, allowing continued work, socialising and living when in-person contact just isn’t possible. Knowing how important the internet is to us nowadays, you will want to check the property’s area’s broadband speeds, using a tool like the uSwitch Broadband Speed Checker

To Summarise

Viewing before you make any commitments is vital. Viewing will allow you to check personally as to whether the property and its surroundings are right for you. 

Remember the three main points:  

  • Is the location right for you? 
  • Are bills included in the price? 
  • Does the house have any issues? 

Checking all three will ensure you find a property suitable for you and your studies! 

If you need help sourcing a property, or if you’re a landlord looking to improve your Airbnb listings, take a look at Keey’s FAQs today!

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