How to find student accommodation

Are you a student? Click here to read real-life advice about securing five-star university accommodation in London that won’t break the bank…

Living in good quality accommodation when at university is key to making the time taken to gain a degree (or other qualification) the best three or four years of your life.

But completion for the best student rooms is increasing. A record 532,300 students entered higher education in the UK last year – an increase of 3.1% on 2014.

And estate agent Eden Harper points out that London’s 24-plus higher education institutions have an estimated 398,000 students, including 111,975 at the University of London and 16,410 undergraduates at King’s College.

A spokesman for Eden Harper, which has offices in Battersea and Brixton and manages a large number of properties for landlords who focus on the student tenants, says that with demand for places in halls of residence far outstripping supply a growing number of undergraduates are turning to the private rental market.

Here is some useful advice about finding the best student flats and houses in London.

If cost is a concern, the best way to reduce your student housing bills is to rent with a group of friends. But beware! Hammersmith estate agent Lawsons & Daughters says about one in eight groups of student house-sharers sign up for the first property they view. Failing to take your time and considering factors such as the condition of the property and whether the doors and windows are secure can turn a dream move into a nightmare.

When viewing student properties, it is wise to check whether…

The area is safe late at night;

The property is in walking distance of a supermarket;

The accommodation is on a direct public transport route to your university campus and where most of your lectures are held.

But don’t sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement yet. When viewing the property take photographs of all the rooms and compare them with pictures of other properties you are due to view.

When you have found a property that meets all your needs, or is a good compromise between desired features such as off-street parking and cost, remember to ask the following questions…

What is the agency fee?

How much is the security deposit?

What furnishings/appliances are included in the rent?

Can I see the Gas Safety certificate?

What is the property’s EPC rating?

The final hurdle that must be cleared before you can take possession of your perfect student digs will be persuading the landlord or letting agent that you and your friends will not only look after the accommodation but can afford the rent.

Central London estate and letting agent LDG says the documents required to rent a student property will vary. But if you use a reputable letting agency to find student accommodation, you will need to provide the following information:

References or the name and email address of a referee who can confirm that you are enrolled at university.

The name of a guarantor. This needs to be a UK resident who agrees to pay your rent if you cannot or fail to do so.

Your perfect student property will not necessarily be the same type of accommodation your friends prefer. The trick to finding a house or flat that is both affordable and in easy reach of lectures (and leisure facilities) is to compromise.

While a good quality house is a key factor behind an enjoyable life at university, it is unlikely to offer the same level of comfort as enjoyed by your parents.

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