1) Pick the right location
Many students neglect this and tend to look for a place near or close to where all the students hang out or where all the house parties are held but remember, you’re going to be living there for about a year.
Try to pick somewhere close to places like bus stops, newsagents, supermarkets, doctors, and your university campus etc.
2) Check the Security & Safety
Crimes against students are always worryingly high with some cities reporting 1 in 3 students will be a victim of crime. Security is very important and should not be overlooked.
Be sure to check the property has burglar alarms, safety locks etc. If there’s anything you are worried about, talk to your landlord about it and try to get it sorted as soon as possible.
3) Look out for pest infestations (Rats, mice, cockroaches)
While viewing your potential house, don’t be afraid to check inside cupboards, work surfaces & hidden corners. Try to look for traps, rodent droppings, slug trails etc.
Ingestions are common in student properties as some students can be really messy. It’s quite easy for landlords to ‘cover up’ such things hence the reason you should look.
4) Damp issues
Unfortunately student houses in many cases are maintained poorly which can give life to problems such as damp. Damp not only makes everything look horrible but it can be bad for your health and leave clothes smelling very bad.
When looking for damp issues, check the walls and ceilings, particularly around windows. Look out for flaking paint or wallpaper, black mold patches and a musky smell.
Energy bills are one of the largest costs for students. If the house is well insulated you can save hundreds of pounds during your stay at the house.
What you need to look for is stuff like double glazing windows, good central heating system, secure doors and any drafty spots that you could potentially cover up to keep the heat inside.
6) Furnishings, fittings & electrical appliances
Make sure you know exactly what types of furnishings etc you are getting with the property by reading the tenancy agreement. If advertised as a student house landlords must provide each student with a desk and chair.
When it comes to electrical appliances be sure to keep in mind the number of people that will be living with you in the house. There’s no point having 1 fridge if 6 people will be sharing it. Speak to your landlord and get them to cater for all your needs.
7) Think twice when offered freebies
Your landlord might offer you a free wide-screen tv, fibre optic broadband or even no utilities bills for 3 months. Whereas some are genuinely just giving you luxuries, some landlords will put up the base rent price with stuff like this included.
8) Be vary of the letting agent
Lettings agents in general are beneficial for both parties (you & the landlord) but they can also be very sly and are known for clever tactics.
Don’t let them persuade you into anything you are not comfortable with, stay vigilant & stand firm. Make sure you know of any administration or agency fees which can crop up at the last minute.
You can avoid these fee’s completely by going direct to the landlord.
9) Talk with previous or existing tenants
There is no better way than this to get to know about not only the property but the landlord as well.
Ask them questions about damp etc or about the landlord such as bad habits, after care or anything he might be trying to hide from you.