Student life

Things to consider when house hunting

Whilst moving from first year halls to a student house is an exciting time, it can also seem like a huge task when you’re faced with lots of decisions around where you should live, and who you should live with. To help you out, here are a few things to consider before signing a tenancy agreement.

Work out a budget, and stick to it

Discuss with your future housemates what your collective housing budget is, factoring in any additional costs such as gas, water, electricity and a deposit amount.

Find a location that suits everyone

Whilst you want to be close to your uni lectures, you’ll also want to consider your proximity to the town centre and local stores. It’s also worth checking out the transport links to make sure you can get to your lectures on time.

Keep an eye out for damage

This might seem obvious, but check the walls and ceilings for signs of water damage, mould, or any general wear and tear that you would want to include on an inventory should you choose to rent the property.

Check out the security

Is there a burglar alarm in place? Are the locks fit for purpose, or do they need replacing? There may be minimum security requirements stipulated on your contents insurance policy, so check with your insurer as to whether the property meets these requirements.

What’s the heating situation?

Find out if it's gas or electric, and that you know how to turn it on should you need to. You don’t want to be stuck in a freezing cold house in the height of winter with no way to warm yourself up!

Have a peek in the oven

Check all of the white goods for signs of damage or aging. You want to make sure that the oven, fridge, washing machine, and any other white goods will survive the duration of your residence – it’ll save the hassle of trying to arrange a replacement with the landlord if anything breaks down.

Try to speak to the current housemates

If the current housemates happen to be around, see if you can have a chat with them to find out what it’s really like living in the property, first hand. Ask them questions about the landlord, such as how quickly they respond to repair requests.

Find out about tenancy deposit schemes

It is a legal requirement for the landlord or letting agent to pay your deposit into one of three government schemes and provide you with this information. Find out the full amount of the deposit, and which government scheme your deposit will be paid into.

Read through the contract thoroughly before signing

Once you’ve signed the contract, you may need to pay a fee to get out of it so it’s important to make the right decision. Make sure to read through the tenancy agreement thoroughly before signing, and negotiate any clauses you’re not sure about.

Don’t rush your decision

Ultimately, this is a big decision, so make sure you’re not rushed by the letting agent, landlord, or your housemates into signing a contract you’re unsure about. Make sure that the property ticks all of the boxes on your personal checklist, and that you ask any questions you have prior to signing the tenancy agreement.

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