Guest post by Zoe Price
Being a student challenges you in ways you never expected. The academic side of university is tough enough; however, you are also tasked with living on your own for the first time. Of course, you can’t begin to live on your own without a roof over your head. Uni properties are renowned for lacking in certain areas, but you can find the right property for you and your friends if you know what to look out for.
Whether you are a first-time student or you are moving out of university halls for your second year, here is a list of things to look for when searching for university property.
The first item on this list is fairly obvious, yet it is probably the most crucial factor. Try to find a place that is close to the university and local amenities. It is a difficult balance to strike but doing so means it will be an easier time if the university is close to the city centre.
If not, then try to make sure that there are plenty of transport links. It is best to look for property closer to the university and travel out to the supermarket or pub than doing it the other way around. Nobody wants to be rushing for a bus when having to attend a lecture at nine in the morning after all.
2. Internet Connection
It is likely that most of the university work will be conducted online, which is why it is paramount to find a house with a solid internet connection. The landlord may charge extra for broadband, or they may be nice enough to foot the bill. Either way, it is essential to test out the quality of the internet when initially viewing the property.
There is always to option of heading to the university library to carry out some basic computing tasks, like completing a spreadsheet, compressing a PDF, or sending an email to a professor. However, should really be able to submit your work from home. Plus, housemates will also be taking up space in the library if the internet speeds are not good enough.
3. White Goods
White goods, such as a fridge, freezer, and washing machine, are all essential in daily life. However, it isn’t likely that a student can afford these amenities. Some landlords will include these items as part of the property, but it is still worth checking when looking around. Living without a washing machine is doable if there is a laundrette nearby. However, food options will be severely limited without a fridge. Also, make sure to check that these utilities are clean and in working order.
It is natural to feel nervous when living alone for the first time. There is a lot that you need to think about, but safety should never be one of them. A good student property will have enough security features to keep the tenant and their possessions safe while they are studying at university.
Everyone living in the house should receive keys to the property, and a few extra locks on the doors are always a good sign that the landlord has security in mind. Some places even come rigged with a security alarm, so make sure to look for these safety aspects when searching the property.
A house that has been left standing for the summer is going to feel musty. Furthermore, the time it has been empty is perfect for rising dampness. It is easy to spot signs of dampness immediately. First off, the smell alone is enough to trigger a response. Also, try touching the walls and floor. If these are unnaturally cold or wet, then this is a sign that the property is susceptible to a damp problem.
Damp is a normal phenomenon in university properties that have stood empty for a time. However, if left untreated it can turn to mould which can be detrimental to a person’s possessions and their health. If there are signs of damp on the first inspection, it is probably wise to move on to another property.
6. The Happiness Of The Current Tenants
Most of the time, students will not be the first tenant to rent the property they are viewing. As such, those who came before can provide an accurate depiction of the place they want to live. If it seems too good to be true, try and ask the current tenants about the place without the landlord present. If they cannot gain access to these people, try and research the landlord online. This approach will tell them everything they need to know about a prospective university property.
Finding a university property shouldn’t be too hard. It is more about needing to know what to look for. These items should give a head start, so make sure to create a list of things to consider when it is time to look at new properties.