Choosing Student Accommodation
“Wicked! Massive house, big lounge and cheap as you like! So who needs windows, and we can always pull that thingy at the back to make the loo flush properly!”
Choosing a place to live as a student can be difficult, particularly if you are on a tight budget. However, choosing the cheapest place to rent is not always the wisest option. Check out the house-hunting checklist below and use it to help you find a house that will fit all your needs.
A visual inspection of the exterior of the property is always useful. Look for the following:
- Slipped or broken tiles
- Rotten timber
- Broken guttering
- Crumbling or cracked walls
- Adequate storage space for rubbish
- Whether the property has a yard or garden – if so, ask who will be responsible for its maintenance
There are a number of questions that you need to ask either yourself or the landlord/agent when visiting property. These include:
- How many rooms are there in the property?
- How many of these are communal rooms?
- Are there enough facilities being provided for the number of people who will be sharing the house?
- Is the furniture in a good state of repair?
- How is the property heated?
- Do the fridge/cooker etc. work properly?
- Is there plenty of hot water?
- Is the house free of damp and/or mould?
Safety and security
In addition to checking for yourself that the contents that are provided are sufficient and in working order, it is vital that you ask the questions to the landlord/agent about the safety and security of the property. You should back-up your questions by looking carefully for certain features yourself, and if in doubt, talk to your students’ union. The following questions are ESSENTIAL:
- Does the landlord possess a current gas safety certificate?
- Can the landlord prove that a CORGI registered engineer carried out the inspection?
- Have you checked to see that all gas appliances within the property have been included, and passed as being safe, on the gas safety certificate?
- Did the inspection take place within the last twelve months?
- Is there any fire detection equipment (e.g. smoke alarms) and does it work?
- If there were a fire, would you be able to escape using main exits?
- Has the electrical wiring been checked within the last five years?
- Are all plug sockets free from cracks or other damage?
- Are there sufficient plug sockets in each room?
- Does all furniture comply with the relevant regulations?
- Are there locks on the windows?
- Have the previous tenants all returned their keys?
Location of property
As well as looking at the property itself, NUS recommends that you also consider where the property is situated and ask yourselves the following questions
- Is the area convenient for your studies?
- How close are you to public transport?
- Are local shops and facilities adequate?
- Would you feel safe walking in the area at night?
For more information on this or any other aspect of choosing student accommodation contact the NUS direct on 0207 272 8900 or log onto their website www.nusonline.co.uk