Finding my first student house
People often say that University is the best time of your life. And they're right, on the most part - yet it can be very stressful due to deadlines, exams, missing home, lack of cash etc.. Then to add to the stress, you've got to make decisions about who you're going to live with and where.
I went to Leeds University and stayed in halls for my first year which was OK, but not great. A group of us who lived together in the flat got on really well so we started to search for a house for our second year. Unfortunately, I was away on holiday when they agreed on a house and signed the tenancy agreement so I wasn’t involved in choosing a property. Big mistake.
The house was really really bad. When I arrived with my parents, my mum promptly burst into tears! And my dad immediately phoned the landlord and got him straight round to the property. It wasn’t safe to live in as it didn’t have any wired in smoke alarms, fire doors etc. And it was filthy.
During that year, we had the usual dramas with housemates (nothing new there) so for my final year, we slimmed the group down to 4 and began our search for a house. We discovered that all the good stuff goes really quickly so we had to make a really fast decision about a house we’d viewed and signed the agreement there and then without even reading it! Not very sensible, and me studying law!!!!!
The whole experience of finding somewhere to live whilst at Uni is extremely stressful, to say the least. You’re not really sure what you’re doing and not sure who you can trust. I bet you’ve heard a few horror stories from other students – we certainly have, over the years.
Here at Edge, we’ve been looking after Huddersfield students since 1999 and Jack and I are determined to provide the service and accommodation that we wish we’d been able to find during our time at University.
We understand just how you feel and what you need as we’ve been there ourselves. So we try to make the whole business of choosing accommodation as easy as possible! For example,
All our properties are of a high standard – your mum would be happy to live there! And they comply with all safety regulations.
We look after you – we do actually care about you! Have you read our Facebook reviews? Now scoring 4.9 out of 5 – not bad, eh!
Jack and I both had student loans (still paying them off, of course) so we work with you and your finances when it comes to collecting rent.
Obviously, we’d love to provide you with accommodation but if that’s not to be, here are my top tips for taking the stress out of finding your perfect pad:
• View the property. Even if you’re exhausted and have searched for weeks, inspecting your prospective home is absolutely vital. Without viewing a house you'll have no idea on its suitability, whether the landlord describes it accurately, what facilities are close by etc.
• Ask Questions. It doesn’t matter how silly your question may be – ask. Where is the nearest bus station, shop, or supermarket? Is the house fully furnished? What date does my tenancy begin and end? What happens if a housemate leaves university? Am I allowed posters or pets? Is there anywhere to park cars or store bicycles? Is the property reasonably secure?
• Try and speak to the current tenants – they’ll be more truthful than the landlord.
• What appliances are included? Is there a washing machine, shower, garden, television, microwave, vac? Does the house come with a fridge and freezer – and how big are they?
• What does the rent include? Make sure you are 100% clear on this when you sign the contract. Every house comes with different terms and conditions. Make sure you know whether your property comes with gas, electric, water or internet. A contract that states "all bills included" may not include internet.
• What is the deposit? Check what deposit scheme your landlord is using. Some may ask for rent in advance while others will require a lump sum of money to be returned providing the house is well kept
• Read the tenancy agreement. Read it back-to-front and ask about anything you’re unsure of. Allocate the rooms, double check the rent, and then, if you’re happy, sign on the dotted line.
And my final bit of advice …………
"Remember you’re only going to live there for a year, you’re not buying the place, so don’t get too stressed out."
Good luck and take care.
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