Looking for a place to live at uni can be exciting, but before you rush into signing a tenancy agreement there’s a few things you should check.
If you want to make an informed decision when choosing a student house to rent, make sure you go to property viewings prepared with a list of questions to ask.
In this article, we’ve come up with a list of 10 to think about when viewing student accommodation to ensure you don’t end up with any nasty surprises.
10 most important questions to ask when viewing student accommodation
- Is the tenancy agreement a sole or joint agreement?
Student tenancy agreements are either joint agreements or sole agreements. A joint tenancy agreement makes all tenants jointly liable for the property and rent payments. That means that if one tenant stops paying, the others are responsible for ensuring their payments are covered. With a sole tenancy agreement, each tenant has their own contract and is liable for their own payments and actions only.
- How much is the deposit and which deposit scheme is used?
Before moving into a student property, you are usually required to pay a deposit. The deposit provides the landlord with some financial security if you stop paying rent or damage the property. Deposits are usually equal to about one month’s rent and landlords are required by law to pay your deposit into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
- Are bills included?
Always check what bills (if any) are included in the price of your rent. If bills are not included then you will need to arrange and pay for all your utilities, television licence, and internet separately.
When you rent from Student Haus, you have peace of mind that the price of all our student accommodation is inclusive of all bills and internet, making it easier for you to budget and saving you the hassle of having to communicate with lots of different service providers.
- What are the tenants’ responsibilities?
Some landlords ask more of their student tenants than others. Asking this question may reveal any additional responsibilities contained within the tenancy agreement. Some common additional responsibilities include things like requesting that tenants maintain the garden and mow the lawn, asking student tenants to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy agreement, or allowing the landlord to inspect the property regularly.
- Are tenants required to pay rent over the summer months?
Most student tenancy agreements run for a fixed term of 12 months, which means you will end up paying for your student property throughout the university holidays. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your circumstances and where you plan to spend your holidays. Some landlords may be prepared to be flexible with your contract length, so it’s always worth asking the question.
- What furniture and appliances are included?
Don’t automatically assume that the items you see in the house when you view it are there to stay. Sometimes when viewing a property, some of the furniture you see may belong to existing or previous student tenants.
- Is there car parking or bike storage?
Not everyone will require a car parking space or bike storage, but if you do plan to drive or cycle whilst at university then this could be a real deal breaker. Even if you don’t drive, having a car parking space available can be very useful for visitors. Some city centre areas may even require you to pay extra for a parking space, so asking the question during a viewing can save you from incurring an unexpected cost later down the line.
- What Energy Performance Rating does the property have?
Finding out how the house is heated and what its Energy Performance Rating is, is more important than ever with energy prices and the cost of living being as high as they are, particularly if bills are not included in the price of rent. Ask if you can see the property’s Energy Performance Certificate to check its rating. A rating between A – C is reasonable, anything much lower and the property may have insulation problems and could be a little cold or difficult to heat in the winter.
- How are phone signal and wi-fi strength?
A good wi-fi connection and phone signal are both essential for most students. Asking the question can reveal any known problems in the area.
- What security does the house have?
Crime rates can be higher than average in some student areas, so security systems like burglar alarms and security lights can be a real bonus, but unfortunately aren’t that common in student accommodation. Check if the doors are secure, the type of locks they have, and whether individual bedrooms can also be locked.
For further help or advice on finding a student property to rent in North West England, including Liverpool, Manchester, Bolton and Salford, get in touch with our team of student letting agents here at Student Haus by calling us on 0161 694 6427.