Finding the right student house isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Yes, your university probably has a list of approved landlords and if you’re going into your second or third year then you know which areas will be best and which ones would be best to forget about.
But, even if location is among the most important details to consider, there’s a lot more you need to look for when you view potential homes.
“Searching for the right student house can be a tough job to do, but due to the fact you’re sharing with a group of other students, it’s best to do everything you can to get it right,” said central London estate agent, LDG. “Once you’ve narrowed your search down and are arranging viewings, go to them all armed with a list that will help you remember the good, from the bad.”
Student landlords generally know what you want – cheap rent, enough bedrooms and bathrooms and some shared living space. And luckily, many landlords provide this, in good condition and the right location too.
However, when you view your potential future student home, its best to check every bedroom and bathroom carefully. Switch on a tap or two, open all the doors and also, have a good sniff to be sure there’s no damp lurking behind the freshly painted walls.
Other must-haves for your student home include:
- Gas central heating and the manual to use it.
- If some bedrooms are lager and other smaller, the rent per room needs to reflect that.
- A fully equipped kitchen with washing machine, oven, hob and good-sized sink.
- Plenty of storage in each bedroom.
- A reasonably sized living room, with a seat for everyone for those lazy mornings in.
If your potential student home doesn’t have some of these items, or others that you’ve identified as essential to your group’s needs, then unless the landlord can provide it, you should really mark it as a no and move on.
“Its much better to move into a property that has everything you and your fellow student housemates need, rather than moving in, realising some things aren’t as they should be and then requesting improvements from your landlord,” said Fulham estate agent, Lawsons & Daughters. “Of course, your landlord may well comply quickly, but in the meantime, the situation between your housemates may have deteriorated because of it.”
Stand your ground
Selecting a home with a group of people you might not know all that well, isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Even though you all get on well as friends, there’s likely to be differences in attitudes about certain things.
For instance, some people will be happy to put up with the lack of certain details to take advantage of cheaper rent in a better location. Meanwhile, others will be more demanding and will only say yes when every single one of their requirements is met 100%.
Hopefully, some goodwill and the excitement of finding a great student home you can all imagine living in, will help encourage some agreement when most boxes are ticked and time is ticking by. But, if you’re really not happy with a few important elements of your student home to be, don’t be afraid to stand up and say so.
Mention it to your housemates first and if they’re still keen, raise it with the agency or landlord and see what they can do. If there’s no offer to rectify it, then you might need to stand your ground – but do so in a way that encourages your housemates to see it from your point of view – in a friendly, clear and patient way.
“No one wants to spoil the fun at University, but if you say yes to a student home that doesn’t have some key things you really need, you need to be honest about that,” said M&M Property. “It’s important to be comfortable and happy in the student home you choose, so stick to your list and arrange as many suitable viewings as you can.”