Tips for finding a student house during the pandemic
Haven’t signed a contract for a house next year? Don’t panic! Even though viewing accommodation for next year may be different to normal, it’s important to prepare as you normally would.
Here are five helpful tips on how to get the most out of a house viewing during the pandemic:
1. Do your research into which estate agents are the most reliable. You can find extremely useful insight through your peers, so talk to everyone you know! Get in touch with your student mentor and look through public forums on social media to find reviews from other students. You can also find many offers for joining an existing house in forums on Facebook, as there are many advertisements.
2. Be sure not to settle for the first house you see. Consider several options and browse houses from different estate agents. Also, think about the bigger picture - is a house right for you? It’s important to be confident in your decision, alongside a strong group of friends that you’ll be happy with! Also, regarding the pandemic, find out which letting agents are willing to negotiate on fees and allowances due to Covid-19. Another option to consider is staying in halls - the university offers options for both undergraduates and postgraduates, which may be another thought if you’d like to go through the university.
3. Creating a checklist can be really helpful for comparing the pros and cons of each house that you view. Things to keep in mind alongside fees are location, security and safety, good insulation, water supply, general condition of the house, internet speed and more. You can find a helpful template for a checklist on ‘Save the Student’.
4. Many estate agents are providing virtual tours of houses, but there is still the opportunity to view houses in person if you would like to. It is important to adhere to the relevant safety measures if you decide to attend an in-person viewing. It may be beneficial to nominate one member of the group to view the house in person, taking a video recording to share with the rest of the members.
5. Prepare a list of questions that you want to know from the landlord before you visit the properties. Some questions may include: is parking available, are bills included, is there the opportunity for sub-letting should tenants need to move out, options for summer rent, how does the deposit scheme work and more. If you’re unsure of anything, ask! Also, make sure to get any terms agreed in writing before signing the contract. For example, if a landlord promises to re-decorate, ensure this is conveyed in writing or included within the contract.
Finding a student house can be a special and enjoyable time in your university life and it’s important to make sure you’re satisfied with all aspects of the process. Don’t stress out too much - if the first house you decide on doesn’t work out, there are many options out there. One of the landlords I visited said there’s always more student housing than students in Cardiff, so don’t worry about properties selling out! You can find more tips on websites like ‘The Uni Guide’ and ‘UniPol’. You can also go to the Student Union’s Help & Advice team for support. Happy house hunting!
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