24 October 2019

Finding University Accommodation for 2nd Year

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Got your house sorted for next year? Start looking for work experience instead.

Forget coursework deadlines… looking for next year’s university digs is quickly becoming one of the most stressful jobs on the student calendar.

Who will I live with? When do I start looking? Where should I locate?

Finding a place to live is like stroking a cactus. It can be tricky.

Rat infestations, mould invasions and leaky roofs are just a few of the horror stories you’ve probably heard. Not to worry. Simply follow these Do’s and Don’ts and you’ll find the perfect place in no time.

Do create a list of what you’re looking for

Searching for student accommodation without any idea of what you’re looking for is like trying to find your destination without knowing what that destination is. It’s virtually impossible.

We recommend creating a list of all the things you want your dream digs to be. Here are some questions you should be able to answer before you go house-shopping.

  • How many people will you be sharing a property with?
  • Will you require single or double rooms?
  • Are you all willing to share bathrooms? Or do you need en-suites?
  • What is yours and your housemates’ monthly budget?
  • Do you want your bills included, or will you pay these separately?
  • Will you deal directly with the landlord, or let through an agency?
  • How far are you willing to travel from your home to your lectures?
  • Do you want to live in uni or private accommodation? A house, studio or a flat? 

Help a friend avoid a housing nightmare…

Did you know, you could also get a mortgage for a student property? 

Check out the Complete Student Mortgage Guide to find out how you can avoid high rent costs for housing that’s just not worth the monies.

Do shop and ask around 

You should never settle for the first property that pricks your interest. Ideally, shortlist at least 10 properties that fit your criteria. Online sites such as SpareRoom, RightMove and StuRents are popular sites to start your house search from.

However, don’t shy away from visiting the local estate agents. It’s their job to help students find the property that’s right for them, so they know what they’re doing.

You wouldn’t book a hotel without reading the reviews, would you? It’s the same with housing. Ask older students about their house-hunting experiences.

Are there certain areas that might offer cheaper housing? What is the landlord like in their house? How far is the local shop?

Students are likely to be more honest with you. They’re not trying to sell you anything after all.

Shop around before making that final decision

Do book a viewing before settling on a property

We can’t say this enough.

A few online photos from 2009 won’t accurately reflect the condition of the property you could be living in. Make sure you book a viewing with the estate agent (or at the very least just knock on the door and politely ask the current residents to give you a quick tour). That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re letting yourself in for. 

Viewing properties also gives you an insight into the size of rooms, storage space and the state of furnishings already in the house.  Plus, it’s a great time to ask questions.

For example, how much is the deposit? Is the house insulated? Whose responsibility is it to maintain the garden? Make a checklist of things you want to know so you don’t miss anything.

Don’t rush into it

With everyone claiming properties left, right and centre, it can be tempting to do the same. But, don’t rush things if you’re unsure about your future plans.

Will you be completing a year abroad? Are you thinking of completing a year in industry? If so, then it’s worth waiting before you financially lock yourself into a 12-month contract.

The mates you meet in freshers might sound like a laugh at first, but could you tolerate living in the same four walls as them for a whole year?

It’s quite common for students to realise they weren’t destined to live together – once they’ve already moved in. We suggest waiting until you’ve developed strong friendships and really know the people you’re living with, before committing to a house share.

Analyse the pros and cons first

Don’t sign contracts without reading them

Who actually reads the small print? In this case, you definitely want to be clear on the terms and conditions of what you’re signing up to. Housing contracts can be full of hidden clauses designed to catch you out. 

Firstly, check that your deposit is covered by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This essentially means that as long as you pay your rent on time and don’t wreck the property, you’ll get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

It’s also worth making sure that your contract type is an Assured Short-hold Tenancy Agreement. This means that the agency/landlord can only legally visit the occupied property after giving you reasonable notice, and within suitable working hours.

If you are unsure about anything in your contract, get it checked over! Most university student unions offer these services for students, so make the most of them.

Now that you know how to approach finding accommodation for your second year at university, it’s time to put what you know into practice. Good luck!