Being a new student can be daunting, and, commonly, you’ll stress about the more important things but miss out small details that could entirely alter your university experience. 1 in 23 adults are students, so you’re not the only one making a huge decision over the coming months either, and not the only one looking for a place to stay. Student accommodation can be hard to find after you move out of halls… or at least hard to find a ‘good’ place. Landlords can sometimes hide the finer details- which could be highly detrimental to your comfort and enjoyment if not picked up on. Follow these tips on what to look for in a student property, so you don’t miss a thing.
The Rent Price
Depending on the location you choose to reside will alter the average price of your student accommodation. The UK national average rent price is a hefty £486pcm, with the highest being London at £700pcm and the lowest being Belfast coming in at £325.9pcm. It’s a risky game going into an expensive area without an action plan- as your student loan won’t see you through the term without the extra income.
44% of students struggle to keep up with rent, and rely on parents or term-time jobs to keep floating above water- and that’s without any other costs of living. It’s essential to have a backup plan in place, so you don’t end up in financial difficulty.
It’s been revealed that over 35% of students have suffered from severe damp and mould in their student accommodation- and it’s not something to take lightly. Damp and mildew are caused by excess moisture in your home, and not only smells and looks unpleasant but can cause serious health issues. They produce allergens that can cause cold-like symptoms and even asthma attacks in severe cases (which isn’t worth it, considering how easy it is to avoid damp filled home).
Most of the time, damp can be easily spotted on walls (even if it is hidden by a well-placed wall frame), but other signs of damp you should check for are:
- Musty smells
- Cold feeling floors, walls or ceilings
- Dark patches on walls
- Window condensation
- Peeling Wallpaper
Checking for damp patches by feeling and looking closely could save you a complicated job later after you’ve moved in. And don’t forget to always ask the landlord about the history of damp in the home before you seal the deal.
Your boiler is the primary source of heating in your home. And as most students move into accommodation in September/October months, you’ll begin to feel the need for an excellent central heating system sooner rather than later. Not only do you need a capable boiler, but also an efficient one. The most significant percentage of money spent by students is on energy bills (if not already included in your rent) because students don’t check the efficiency of their fitted boilers and the insulation of their homes before the move in.
It’s ideal if you ask questions about your heating system when viewing the home, such as:
- When was the last boiler service?
- How old is the boiler?
- Have there been any cases of asbestos?
Having an efficient boiler is great for your wallet, but having a safe one is excellent for your health. It’s something students don’t tend to care about but could make a massive difference to your home life while studying.
If you’re in your second year of university and finally moving out of halls, you may be used to a short commute to and from your campus- which may mean your in for a shock when looking for new accommodation. The general rule is that the further away from your school, the cheaper the rent will be. But this poses other issues, such as the price of commuting to university from your home. Bus and train prices can be high for one-off journeys, so you’ll need to look into travel passes to get a discount if you’ll often be travelling. It’s not all about money, though, the ease of your commute will be a huge factor in getting to campus. Buses may only run every half an hour, or you might be on a route which has terrible rush hour traffic.
The best way to nail down if the commute is right for you is to actually practise it. On the way to your viewing, take public transport from your university at a busy time to see how you feel- and how fast you arrive.
It’s pretty much expected that there’s no way you can afford to live on your own while studying at university. And depending on the type of person you are, it can be challenging to feel like your space is being constantly invaded. The best way to minimise your annoyance at fellow housemates is to be careful who you move in with. You don’t have a choice in halls, and now you’ve got the freedom to choose whoever you want- don’t let it go to waste. 53% of students report that their most significant issue when student accommodation is noisy housemates- so don’t fall into the same boat!
Being a student should be one of the best experiences of your life, so don’t let it be ruined by mistakes while finding your student accommodation.