Renting your student accommodation for the first time can be a daunting experience. Being away from your parent’s advice and faced with pressurising estate agents is enough to make you surrender and pay for an overpriced house that is plagued with problems.
Luckily, you’ve landed on our guide to help talk you through the process of renting your first student home as well as our top tips for finding the best house for you.
Step 1: Make the important decisions before house hunting
It’s all well and good finding your dream student house and going for a viewing, but not having a budget, housemates, and all other factors considered will be detrimental to a) your chance of securing the dream house and b) how you live next year.
We have seen time and time again groups securing houses early in the year fall out by the time it comes to living together. It’s important to remember that there are enough student houses to go around. I know people who have signed leases a couple of weeks before term starts (although I wouldn’t recommend this!).
In the new year, you should have a clearer picture of who you will want to live with and that leads us to the budget. Not everyone will have the same priorities – some will want the cheapest place available, whereas others may prioritise living space. Finding a budget that fits everyone’s needs will allow you to begin the search. Knowing everyone is happy with the price, space, and the location is important in finding your student home.
Step 2: Begin the search
The next step is finding a student home – not as daunting as it sounds I promise!
Firstly, decide what agents you want to go with. We’re a bit biased here as we truly believe we give the best student housing service in Staffordshire. But if you’re in another part of the country, finding a good housing service is crucial.
Estate agents offer student homes, however, can typically be pushy and act as the middleman between students and landlords. This can cause complications down the line, especially if you get a not-so-caring landlord and a dodgy house complete with a broken boiler and moldy walls.
Once you’ve found your agent, tell them your requirements or ask to see a list of their houses available. Don’t waste your time doing viewings for houses that don’t meet your requirements. After you’ve found a house, book a viewing and make sure everyone is able to attend. This will help to avoid missing out or signing for a house that not everyone is happy with.
At the viewing lookout for any minor problems such as dampness or mould. You can even ask the current tenants about their experience if they are around. Don’t be afraid to ask the lettings agent what is included with the house, along with any other questions regarding bills and obligations you may have as a tenant (maintaining the garden etc.).
After the viewing, the agent will ask whether you are wanting to sign for the house and put down the deposit. Don’t be afraid to say no at this point if you are unsure. Be aware though that the house may no longer be available the next time you enquire.
Step 3: The paperwork
Once you have agreed to rent the house, you will be required to fill out paperwork, provide documentation, and a deposit. All tenants must complete this paperwork within a set time limit in order to secure the house. Some information is needed from your parents, so it is advised to get this done ASAP.
At this point, you will also need to pay a deposit. At the end of the tenancy, your deposit will be returned should the property be left in a good condition. Your deposit must be registered to a government-backed scheme within 30 days of being paid, and you should be notified about this.
Expect one month’s rent to be taken in advance by the agents. This will cover your first month in the property and is a normal procedure to secure the property.
You have then secured your student accommodation ready for your next year at University.
Now all you have to figure out is how to make it feel like home!