Arthur Online takes a look at the top 5 tips for student tenants. Looking from a legal perspective to how to budget for bills, this article will give you a good starting point when you are ready to find your perfect home.
It is important you have a good idea of what you are looking for before you start your property search, so you don’t waste your time at the beginning. Have a checklist of ‘must have’s’ including number of bedrooms/ bathrooms required, size of bedrooms and location. It will be your home for the next year, so it is vital you get this right so you are happy and comfortable in your new home!
1.) Ask questions
You must have answers to all possible questions regarding the property you are interested in. Questions regarding the neighbours to whether all bedrooms have locks are a few starting points to think about. If you are looking for your living room to act as a pre-drinks venue, then choosing to live on a residential street may not be the best idea. Going for an area which is highly populated with students would be a better choice in this case. Students expectations are higher nowadays so landlords are having to raise standards of their properties. For instance, Wi-Fi, T.V, communal living areas, a well-kept garden and en suites are a few examples of what student tenants are looking for and expecting a lot of the time. You need to ask whether the energy rating meets the new law requirements. Since April 2018, when the EPC law came into place, there should be a minimum of an E rating or above. According to an NUS spokesperson half of students feel uncomfortably cold in their accommodation, which is partly a result to poorly insulated houses which do not meet the EPC requirement. You need to check if there have been any previous problems with dampness, mould or drafts. You could ask for a dehumidifier is there is a problem regarding these issues.
2.) Check the legal side
If you live in an HMO, all rooms must be a minimum of 6.51 sqm according to the Housing Act 2004. You should make sure you read through the license before signing the tenancy agreement and additionally make sure you view the gas safety certificate, EPC and deposit protection certificate.
3.) Consider PBSA
If you have high standards and expectations for your new accommodation and like the idea of a modern build, then purpose-built student accommodation may be the way forward for you. If you opt into this type, it is likely to be more expensive however there are a number of benefits. These benefits include security, modern facilities and the majority have ensuites. You maybe lucky enough to have a computer suite and cinema room or even a rooftop bar! The luxurious student digs are becoming popular and on the rise. These PBSA’s tend to have a maintenance team on hand and usually include bills, so if you don’t want leave the hassle of organising and paying bill , this could be a good option!
Make a list of everything you need to budget for. You will need to budget for rent, gas, water, electricity, phone, internet, a T.V licence and then for general expenses such as food and household items/appliances. According to NUS data, 42% struggle to pay their energy bills, this shows that they can be expensive and you must be aware of how much energy you consume but also to find a reasonably prices supplier.
5.) Location, location, location
Look at transport routes to get to your university, check local buses and metros/trains. If you would rather walk to university make sure you don’t choose somewhere too far away! If you want to be near nightlife you could live more central or if you are a workaholic, it may suit you to live close to the library! Think about where is most convenient and remember transport is never free!
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