On the hunt for the perfect postgraduate student house? Here's our advice...
Finding the perfect student house can be a difficult task as there are many different aspects to consider such as location, price, and contracts, along with many other considerations. One of the main problems that postgraduate students encounter is that certain landlords seem to treat student housing as an excuse to let standards drop and to offload difficult to rent places. The key to finding the right place is not to jump at the first place you see – take your time and look around before signing any contracts.
Here are some key elements that you should take into account when trying to find your perfect postgraduate student house: View the Property The number one rule is never to sign a contract for a house or flat that you have not seen in person. This is extremely important as you cannot trust the landlord’s description and a set of photos alone. By visiting the house yourself you will get a proper feel for the state of the building and you will be able to sound out any potential problems before it’s too late.
Survey the Area Almost as important as looking at the house itself – having a good look into the area that it is situated in will give you piece of mind that you will feel safe there. Try to choose somewhere that is suitably located for getting to and from university, and that there are amenities nearby if you don’t have a vehicle.
Ask Questions Never be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they may be trivial or silly. Being upfront will help avoid any disappointments further down the line. Some questions you may want to ask include;
- What happens if my housemate leaves uni?
- Where are the nearest shops?
- Is this a safe area?
- Am I allowed pets?
- Does the house come furnished?
- What dates does my tenancy begin and end?
If you happen to see the existing tenants whilst you are looking round why not ask them a few questions too – you are much more likely to get an honest answer!
Find out What Appliances are Included This is the kind of thing that could be a deal clincher as a fully fitted kitchen with washing machine, fridge, freezer, dryer, dishwasher etc could be a much better option than another similarly priced house that comes with just the bare bones.
Check What’s Included with the Rent Before you sign any contracts, make sure that you are 100% sure of what is included under the terms. Every landlord will have different terms, and rent may or may not include gas, electric, water, or internet – don’t take anything for granted and check this first.
Study the Contract This is a good tip for any contract you ever sign. Study it well, and then study it again! You should not assume that the wording in the contract reflects the verbal agreement or information you have been given by the landlord, and by signing the paper you are actually agreeing to what has been outlined in black and white. Always double check the contract and if you are unsure of anything, ask someone for advice.
Read our advice section on Postgraduate Accommodation for more information.