When choosing to study a postgraduate program in the UK, one of the first things that you will need to organise is somewhere to live, and if you are moving to a new location for your studies, the chances are you will be renting a property for the duration of your course. Here we explore the potential pitfalls of student rental property and how you can avoid them.
Always view the property
When beginning your search for rental property you need to physically see where you will be living, don't just go off an image from a rental website, as this is how many students have been caught out living in below standard, unheated, unsafe and damp accommodation. When you view the property find out what is included such as furniture and kitchen utensils. Check all paperwork and that all appliances are in good working order and have been safety checked with an accompanying safety certificate. By walking around inside the property you will also get a feel for the space and can ask your potential landlord questions.
Make sure you can afford the rent
Work out exactly how much the rent is per month and find out if this includes the bills. If not you will need to carefully add in these costs to your monthly payment. Not managing your finances is one way in which many students find themselves without accommodation. Most UK universities, such as Durham University have a lot of information about paying rent on their website.
Choose your flatmates wisely
One of the most common problems that postgrad students face is sharing rented property with people who they just don't get along with. Remember you’re older and wise now than you were as an undergrad student – and you really are at university to study hard. This means it is imperative that you are happy in your own student home. Before you go into a rental agreement with others, be sure that you know them well and that you will all get on when living together. If things do go wrong and a member of the household wants to leave, then you need to know what to do. The Citizens Advice website has some great advice. They state that you will need to find a replacement tenant as soon as possible, or failing that you will all need to make up the rental money. So choosing your flatmates wisely can save a lot of trouble in the long run.
Address maintenance problems with the landlord straight away
Renting property has so many benefits. You have the choice of where to live, who to share your digs with and you are secure in the knowledge that the landlord will pay for the repairs that are needed. However, what happens when you have been unfortunate enough to find a landlord who is severely lacking in their rental obligations? If this is the case, the first thing you should do is approach the landlord with your concerns and record all meetings and exchanges that you have with them. You will also need to collect evidence, so for example a photo/video of a broken shower/boiler, etc. Hopefully they should take action, if not then you need to go forwards with legal action and your university's Student Union should be able to help you with this.
We hope you avoid these potential mistakes when finding and then living in rental property. For a problem-free student living experience our UK student accommodation partner Fresh Student Living has a great selection of purpose-built student accommodation in great locations all over the UK. Find out more about Fresh Student Living here.