The Dos and Don’ts of Getting a Student House in October
Although the idea of organising a student house when you’ve only just moved into student halls may seem a little alarming, for some students, the sooner the house is sorted, the better.
If you’re finding yourself in this position, take a look at our guide here to see how you can handle the whole situation sensibly and effectively.
Firstly, a disclaimer…
As a company whose specialty is accommodation finding for students, between me and you, it’s best to not be rushed into making a house decision. There will be plenty of time in the new year for you to grab yourself accommodation so don’t feel pressured.
All this aside, if you are ready for making the commitment, then follow below to see how you can grab your dream house.
DO: Dedicate around half an hour of your day whenever you can, to house hunting. Looking little and often will mean that you can grab the best houses when they pop up online. The best sites to go through are Rightmove and Zoopla; they will usually direct you through to the estate agents when you click on the relevant links meaning that you can get booking some viewings.
DON’T : Commit to the first thing you see. You don’t have to all be in agreement on a house straight away. Simply book as many viewings as you can fit into your uni schedule and make sure that as many people as possible in the group can attend them- remember, there is no commitment behind a viewing, meaning that you can browse as many as you like whilst hunting for properties.
#See it for yourself
DO: make sure that you view the houses before you commit to or sign anything! Please do not rely solely on a few blurred pictures online. Firstly, you have no knowledge of when the pictures were taken or if they are even of the property in question, and secondly, it’s just better to experience the property in the flesh before handing over that fat deposit.
Here are a few things to consider when looking around a house:
· Pull away any wardrobes or lift up any mats that might be hiding tell-tale stains or worse, damp!
· Check out for slime trails, it sounds ridiculous but student houses are known to have lots of snails
· On the subject of snails, check for nibbles or droppings in the kitchen to rule out mice.
· If there is a cellar, ask to be shown around it to see if there is any sign of flooding, if there is an attic, ask if it’s accessible, it can be great to use for storage!
· Inquire about bike sheds, transport links and the neighbours.
· Have a look around the area to see how it shapes up in terms of litter, noise and accessibility.
· This one can be tricky, but note any damage and maybe snap a picture, this way you have evidence if they blame anything on you later.
· Finally, ask the students who will probably be there wondering around what they think of the whole set up, they’re usually pretty honest.
DON’T : follow the link to the estate agents and lay down the deposit without a second thought, although I don’t think anyone would be that stupid.
#Set a group budget
DO: set yourself a budget as a group. There’s no point looking at houses that may be within your budget but are far removed from someone else’s. Ensure that everyone feels included by agreeing on a set price and go from there.
DON’T: assume what people can and cannot afford. Everyone is in a range of different financial situations at university, so guessing what someone can afford usually ends in disaster.
#Sort the admin
DO: sort the admin, when it comes to renting, there’s an awful lot of admin, and the chances are that your choice of estate agents will probably want them pronto. Renting usually requires you to provide a few bank statements, student ID, guarantor information and forms of identification. You’ll also have to read through a few tenancy agreements, pay an application fee, which is usually between £125-150, and also have a look at the inventory reports. Although this sounds like a lot of work, once it’s done, it’s done, so it’s better to just grin and bear it for the enjoyment of you second year house.
DON’T: skim over everything. It’s important to make sure that you read everything because it’s the small print that can really catch new tenants out, especially students who have not gone through the process before.
#Organise the guarantors
DO: make sure that you all have the correct guarantors. Due to student’s usual lack of job and low income, guarantors are needed to ensure that the rent will be paid by them if the student is unable to do so. Make sure that everyone in the group sorts their guarantors and sends off the relevant material, this way the whole process tends to run a lot quicker.
DON’T : pick any old person to be your guarantor. There are usually a set of requirements people have to meet before they can be considered, this includes owning their own home and having an income over a specific amount. If you do find a suitable guarantor, please make sure that you check with them before sending through the bombardment of documents, they’re helping you out, so make sure you don’t stress them too much.
#Lay down the rules
DO : ensure that everyone knows the commitment required on signing for a house early in the university year. A lot can change in just a few months. It’s important to therefore run through a few rules. For example, if someone drops out, it’s up to them to cover any fees and to ensure that a new tenant is found, etc.
DON’T : ignore issues when they arise. If someone does really need to drop out of the house deal, then fight through the frustration and help them to find a new tenant, it may be annoying but it will save you money in the long run.