Location, Location, Location
It is often said that the three most important things about buying a house are Location, Location and Location and the same applies when looking for student housing. You may think at the time “Oh the walk will do me good” or “I won’t mind commuting” but will you really feel like then when you have a 9am lecture on a Monday morning? Make sure the house has good transport links to the university and does not take too long or cost too much to get there. Also, look around the local area. Are there any convenience shops nearby? Will you feel safe to walking home in the small hours of the morning? Is it an area with a high crime rate?
Look out for signs of damp & mould
As you look round, look at the walls and ceilings for signs of black mould, particularly near the windows or the smell of dampness in the house. Not only does damp smell bad but it can also be bad for your health living in a house with mould, particularly if you suffer from allergies and asthma.
When you look around for student housing, check for any signs that there might have been a problem with pests, such as mice, rats or slugs. Landlords will try to cover this up when showing potential tenants around, but ask to look in cupboards, or scrutinise the carpets for slug trails.
Safety and security
Do the windows have locks? What about each individual door and the front door? Are there smoke alarms and fire extinguishers fitted? Are there good fire escape routes from all floors and all rooms?
Have a good look at the plug sockets and electrical appliances that are provided in the student housing. Do they look safe? Are there loose cables? There should be enough sockets and electrical appliances for all the people who would be living there.
Heating and Insulation
If the house is not well insulated or the heating does not work properly, you will be miserably cold. Check whether the windows are double glazed, the loft is insulated, the doors are draught proof and that the heating system works.
If the property comes furnished, are there enough cupboards and other storage space for all your things? If you’re looking to store larger items whilst moving consider storage spaces as a solution to make moving easier.
If there is gas in the student housing, your landlord should provide a copy of the annual gas safety inspection certificate. This is legally required to have carried out in a home every year.
As you wander round the property, you will also get a feel for the general condition of the property. You’ll be able to gauge if the home has been properly looked after by the landlord. If a house needs a lot of repairs done, it will suggest that the landlord is unreliable.