Just when freshers are starting their courses, more than a quarter of these students begin house-hunting for the following year, according to Which?. So, what’s the problem with that?
Well, the issue is that many students end up frantically searching and then rushing into making decisions on housing that may not be in their best interests. This may be done due to the fear of not finding accommodations for their next year of study.
We understand that searching for student housing can be stressful for that second year of university. It’s also not easy to decide who to live with. So, we’ve put together some tips to help you and your friends make the right decision when it comes to student housing.
1). Deciding Who to Live With
This is the first thing you’ll need to settle before even starting the search for student accommodations. How do you decide which people are best to live with? Where do you even start?
If you’re having trouble finding housemates, then start here:
- Friends you’ve made from halls
- Friends from clubs & societies
- Friends from your courses
- Use the university’s social media platforms
Asking people if they’d like to share student accommodations can be stressful. If you have some people in mind, then just ask them. There’s no need to make a big deal out if. Everyone will be searching for housemates for the next year. You can ask them about their plans for next year, if they’ve already found housing or if they’re looking for housemates.
If you’re having trouble with face-to-face meetings (which are best), then choose to ask your friends via social media such as through texting or WhatsApp. This way, they will have time to consider their options and make a decision.
It will happen that someone will turn you down. If so, don’t take it personally. For one thing, they may have already had plans or just have their own preferences.
Remember to not wait around too long for a response. You want to avoid this. When you ask them, be sure to give them a date when you need to know their decision. This way, you’ll still have time to make other arrangements.
While you don’t want to panic and rush into anything, it’s still a good idea to have your
2). Ask for Everyone’s Preferences
Now that you have housemates lined up, it’s time to ask everyone to input their preferences for housing arrangements. Here are some questions to ask:
Do any of your housemates have a neighbourhood or area they’d like to live in?
This is a great question, which helps determine what area to live in. If you and your housemates want to be near the university, then you’ll need to look for housing in the nearby area. The location will also determine the type of transportation needed to get to campus. This may be by walking, biking, taking the bus, and more.
Do any of your housemates have a car?
If one or more of your housemates have a car, then it will be necessary to find a student housing that has plenty of parking.
Does anyone need to travel often?
This is a helpful question to ask, as it will get everyone thinking about how they travel and what type of transportation access they’ll need. For instance, if someone travels by train, it will be best to look for housing not far from the train station.
How does everyone like to have fun?
Here, you’ll find out what everyone likes to do for fun. There may be some who prefer visiting the pubs on the weekends, while others may prefer to stay home and need quiet to focus on studies. This is a question that can also work to sift out housemates that may not be a good match. If one of you loves to party and the other doesn’t, then you may want to consider a different housemate.
Which supermarkets, shops, restaurants, and pubs are nearby?
Cooking and eating at home saves money, so having a grocery store nearby may be beneficial. However, if you order takeaway often, then having restaurants nearby may be better.
The answers to these questions will help you and your housemates determine the type of housing and where it should be located. It’s important that everyone agrees on the major details. Otherwise, problems will arise later when you’re all living together.
Using a Landlord or a Letting Agent?
Next, you’ll want to determine whether you and your housemates would prefer having a landlord or a letting agent. But what’s the difference?
A landlord is usually the property owner. If you choose a landlord, you’ll have direct access to the property owner, who will work with you to solve problems.
On the other hand, choosing a letting agent is a little different. A letting agent usually works for a property management company. They’re the middleman between you and the landlord. In this case, you work directly with the letting agent/agency. All agencies/agents are required to be members of government-approved redress scheme to deal with complaints. These groups include The Property Ombudsman, the Property Redress Scheme, or the Ombudsman Services: Property.
With a letting agent/agency, you generally have a little more assurance that things will be fixed and taken care of. This isn’t always the case with a landlord.
However, keep in mind that letting agents/agencies may charge more fees, such as for credit checks and the inventory for a home you’ll rent.
3). Ask Questions
Before arranging a viewing of the property, it’s always a good idea to ask the following questions:
- How much is the rent per week/month? How often is it paid? Are there any hidden fees?
- Are bills included in the rent? Do bills include WiFi and the TV license?
- How much is needed for the deposit? When is the deposit due?
- How will you contact the landlord/letting agent if there’s a problem? How quickly will the problem be solved?
You can either choose to call and ask these questions or ask them via email. Most letting agents are happy to answer your questions either way.
How to Arrange a Property Viewing
Next, you’ll need to arrange a property viewing. First, find a date when you and at least one or two other housemates can go to the viewing. It probably won’t be possible for everyone to go. So, at least two of you should try to make the appointment. You can take pictures of the house and show them to those who aren’t able to go to the property viewing.
To arrange this, contact the letting agent or landlord on the home’s listing. Then you and at least one other housemate can go to the meeting and view the property.
Once the viewings are completed, you and your housemates will have to make a decision on which one is best for you all as a group.
Choosing your housing arrangements for the second year isn’t easy. It’s best not to make a rushed decision when it comes to housemates or the home you’ll live in. By following the tips in this article and taking your time, you’ll find the best student accommodation for your second year.