Student Guides and Advice for students seeking Accommodation Information provided by My Property Guide
Student's Guide to Private Rented Accommodation
If you are about to enter the world of private rented accommodation for the first time there are several important decisions to be made; where to live, who to live with, how much to pay, and so on
Types of accommodation available
These are buildings owned by the university for the purpose of housing students. Due to their limited availability "halls" are generally only available to first year students.
Living in halls give students time to settle into their new environment and make friends before moving into privately rented accommodation in their second year.
Establishing your accommodation budget
The cost of private rented accommodation varies considerably between university towns. A survey by www.accommodationforstudents.com in March 2007 showed the average rent for student accommodation to be £60/ week although this encompasses large regional variations. London is the most expensive area for student to live at £102/week with the cheapest being Crewe at just £37/week.
Deciding on a location
Students like to live alongside students. There is even a specific term for it now, studentification. This is the phenomenon where an area becomes so dominated by privately rented student accommodation that the price of property escalates beyond the reach of the locals. Side effects include the conversion of local shops to fast food joints and a deficit in social capital (Neighbourhood Watch Schemes to you and me).
Starting your search
Your starting point should be the University's Accommodation Office. The best of these will provide you with a list of local Landlords and Agents that they are happy to recommend. Unfortunately they are unlikely to have enough properties to satisfy the demand so you are probably going to have to go out and house hunt with the masses.
Selecting a property
It is essential that you view a good selection of properties before making a decision. Put a couple of days aside for the viewings and take notes so that you can compare and contrast later. Because it's a fast moving market agent's details tend to be fairly sparse on rental properties. Compensate for this by taking some pictures to accompany your notes. Take one copy of the checklist below for each property that you're booked in to see.
Securing a property
A financial commitment will be required by a Landlord before a property can be reserved for you.
The Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement is the automatic or default form of tenancy for most residential lets. What defines this type of tenancy is the fact that the Landlord has a right to get their property back at the end of the tenancy.
The dilapidation deposit is not the same as a holding deposit although the holding deposit that you have already paid will normally go towards making up the dilapidation deposit.
Who to share with
With a bit of luck you will have been living in the University's halls of residence for a year before you have to make this decision. During that year you will have hopefully developed a network of friends that you can leverage to find the ideal group of people to share with. Even then it is a difficult decision. Just because you enjoy sharing a drink with someone in the university bar doesn't mean that you'll gel as housemates.
Student Accommodation Quiz
So, you're about to enter the world of student property for the first time and think you have the wherewithal come through unscathed. Before you brave the storm test your knowledge with our Student Accomodation Quiz. The quiz covers all aspects of the student property arena from the basics to tricky legal issues.
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