Finding your first student house is equal parts exciting and daunting. It marks a big step forward into adult life, and as such is fraught with pitfalls. So to help you make the right choice we’ve put together this student house hunting guide. It covers all the basics that you need to think about before, and during your house hunting.
You need to be realistic about the people you are considering living with. You also need to have an honest think about yourself as a housemate.
Your first instinct might be to move in with your mates. This can work with the right people. However, being friends isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to live together without driving each other mad.
When it comes to living together, it’s more important to have shared opinions on subjects like cleanliness, sharing and chores. It doesn’t matter if you all enjoy the same activities, that’s just a bonus.
Before you sign anything with a group of people, you should all sit down together and talk about your expectations and boundaries. It’s better to find out that it’s not going to work before you sign a contract.
It’s a good idea to visit several properties before you decide to rent. The pictures and location on a map won’t tell you everything you need to know. It’s only when you are stood in a property that you know if it will work for you.
Don’t feel pressured to sign up for a lease before visiting a property. You’re going to be living in this place for at least a year, so make sure it’s right.
Student House Checklist: Things To Consider
Before you look at a property, you need to think about what answers you would like to hear to the following questions. It’s worth deciding which are deal-breakers and which you can be flexible with. Then as you view the property, make sure you get all the answers you need.
When you go to the property location, you will have a much better feel for where it is in reference to other landmarks you care about. You can then think about the following questions;
- How long will it take to get to your lectures?
- Is there adequate access to public transport that will get you where you need to be on time?
- Can you quickly get to the shops when you need to?
- Are you close enough to the facilities you regularly use, e.g. pubs, swimming pools, gyms, parks?
Different laws regulate different types of rental property. Most student properties are HMOs. This means that there are multiple residents who each have private spaces within the property. It’s worth checking that the property you are looking at is licensed as an HMO; this gives you some reassurance that it meets some basic safety standards. You can ask for a copy of the license to keep for your records.
Utilities and Appliances
Gas, electrics and plumbing are the often main culprits for damage in a home. You should take some time to check that they are all in good condition. Here are some things to check;
- Do all gas appliances have a CORGI certificate?
- Have the electrical appliances been inspected within the last five years? (if it’s an HMO the answer should be yes)
- What sort of heating is it? Electric systems are more expensive to run.
- Do all the sinks drain and the toilets flush?
- Are there any signs of pest? Look in the back of cabinets and around the doors for animal dropping and slug trails.
Security is something you should always consider. You should try and find out the following :
- Is there a security alarm?
- Do all the external lock comply with the police’s recommended safety standards?
- Is the fire alarm mains supplied, and has it been checked recently?
- Are there good quality windows and curtains on all ground floor rooms?
If the home you’re viewing is occupied, then you may feel the need to ask some questions about the furniture you’re seeing.
- Is all this furniture included?
- Is there enough space for all your housemates in the shared spaces?
- It the fridge/freezer big enough?
- Does the furniture meet the required fire regulations?
It can feel awkward to ask questions about money, but it’s vital that you know what is and isn’t included. Without this information, you can’t properly compare prices. You need to find out the following.
- Precisely what is included in your rent?
- Who is responsible for paying the utility bills?
- Are any services provided as part of your rent?
Hopefully, these questions will help you find the perfect student house, which will make your university years a whole lot more enjoyable!