Here at Housing Hand, we are regularly asked to help students to find student accommodation. We have lots of expertise in assisting students, in particular, find a place. We have been around for over 7 years now and have learned a thing or two about helping our customers find a place they want to live while making sure they have a guarantor to help rent their dream property.
Here are the main things we have learned;
1 Start early, but don’t panic
Some student cities have developed a reputation. The local wisdom, passed from student to student is – if you don’t get your accommodation sorted by November all the good stuff will be gone. Now there is nothing wrong with getting an early start, but if you are a first-year think carefully about making a commitment to a house share with a group of people you have only just met.
There is always some accommodation available. Yes, you might not have the full selection of properties to choose from, but that is much better than ending up in a lovely house with people you realised you had little in common with once the first term was over. If you are confident though, there is no harm in starting early.
Housing Hand supply a Free House Finder Service. You can find a small selection of properties here and get in touch with agents and landlords directly, or search by location to find an approved partner. We guarantee rent for more people in the UK than anyone else, and work with more letting agents and landlords than any other company.
2 Make sure the price is right.
There is a wide range of student accommodation available, with rents to suit most budgets. At the upper end of the scale, a private hall of residence will cost around £140 per week on average (£180 in London) while a university hall will be around £130 per week outside of London. A room in a house share is likely to be closer to £80 per week and £120 in London. All these options have different benefits, so it is a matter of picking the right one for your budget. Remember, that you will need to factor in utility bills to your house share rent, which is where student specialists Glide can really help.
3 Have a good look round
Where possible we always recommend viewing the property in person. This is much the best way to figure out if it is going to be the right place for you. Not only do you get to see the condition of the property, but you might be able to meet existing tenants and the landlord or agent. Travelling to the property will also give you a really good sense of the distance from your place of study – which our research show is one of the most important factors for most students.
4 Check the tenancy agreement
Once you have found your place, carefully check any paperwork that you are asked to sign. In the vast majority of cases you will be asked to sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST) in England and Wales and a private residential tenancy in Scotland. It is important to make sure you do read these agreements, because once you have signed them you are bound for the term of the agreement, which is generally between 44 and 52 weeks. You will also need to check all of the terms of the agreement to make sure you are able to comply with them. Recently a new law was introduced in England and Wales which provides strict guidelines to the type of fees that agents are able to charge. You can find a useful guide here provided by Shelter.
5 Moving In
Once you move in you should be sure to get an inventory. This is a document you sign where you agree with the property owner the condition of the property on the date you have moved in. This is really important because it can help to avoid disputes and costs when you move out. Your landlord or agent is entitled to charge you for damages to the property by deducting the costs from your tenancy deposit when you leave. If there is a dispute the inventory can be used to determine whether the damage already existed when you moved in. If you are not provided with an inventory we suggest you take pictures of the property (or room) and send them to your agent or landlord.
Housing Hand is the UK’s leading rent guarantor service for students. We act as UK based guarantor to enable our customers to secure their accommodation and pay rent in instalments.