Last updated: 05/01/2021
Despite the fact you may have only just arrived at uni, it’s important to remember that the student housing market moves fast – so if you want to secure the best accommodation, it’s a good idea to start your research early.
But - as it has with everything else this year - the COVID-19 pandemic has meant a change in the way house viewings are currently being conducted. Therefore it’s going to be vital for you to know what’s expected before you start booking appointments to ensure you’re adhering to social-distancing guidance.
Here are a few ways you can maintain social-distancing during your student house viewing.
All information in this article was true and accurate at the time of writing. For further information about house viewings during the pandemic, please visit the government website.
1. Check whether there are “virtual viewings” available
Luckily house viewings are still going ahead, even if you’re in tier 4. But if you don’t want a physical viewing, many lettings agents and house hunting sites like rightmove.co.uk are now giving prospective buyers and renters the option to do a “virtual viewing.” This feature allows you to do a walkthrough of prospective properties from the comfort of your own home, so check whether this option is available before booking a viewing.
The great thing about a “virtual viewing” is that it allows you to eliminate any properties that aren’t right straight away so you don’t have to attend any unnecessary viewings.
2. Socially-distance at all times
We’re probably all a little too familiar with social-distancing guidelines by this point, but it’s always worth reiterating – especially for something like a house viewing.
- Wash your hands prior to the viewing – there should be handwashing facilities made available
- Maintain a 2 metre distance, or as much distance as possible from people who are not part of your household
- If possible, wear a face covering during the house viewing
The current rules are that there should be no more than two households present during the viewing, including the letting agent or landlord. The current resident will usually be absent during the viewing to help with social-distancing, but where this is not possible they should stay in a separate section of the property for the duration of the viewing. If you’re uncomfortable with any of the measures in place at any point, you should flag this with the landlord or letting agent.
Remember - all house viewings are now by appointment only, so organise your viewings as soon as possible so the best student houses don’t get snapped up!
3. Factor house viewing delays into your timeline
It’s extremely important to remember that if you or anyone else involved in the viewing starts to develop COVID-19 symptoms or has been told to self-isolate, the appointment is postponed as soon as possible.
However, as mentioned, student houses can get snapped up pretty fast – so it’s a good idea to start booking viewings early on so that, if the unexpected does happen and an appointment is delayed, it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your house-hunting timeline.
What if I’m showing my property to prospective tenants?
If you’re already living in a student house then you may have to arrange viewings on behalf of your landlord for next year’s tenants – this is usually organised through the tenants to make sure viewings are at a time convenient to them.
If you have people coming to view your student property, it may be easier to pop out somewhere during the viewing – both to make it less awkward and to maintain social-distancing. If this isn’t possible, it might be a good idea to stay in a separate room for the duration of the viewing.
Staying protected in student accommodation
Once you’ve moved out of halls and into your student house share, you may find your belongings are no longer covered by your student halls insurance.
But no matter where you are or what you’re doing at uni, there’s always the risk of losing or damaging your belongings. Student insurance is a great first step towards making sure you’re not left out of pocket and disconnected should you have an unexpected mishap.
If you’re worried about being left out of pocket should something unexpected happen to your stuff, you may want to consider student insurance to protect your favourite belongings.
*Voted the ‘Best Student Insurance Provider’ at the Insurance Choice Awards 2016-2020
To stay up-to-date with the latest student guidance around COVID-19, please visit the government website.