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Our Top 5 House Hunting Tips

If you've lived in Uni accommodation for your first year you may be really excited to be moving in with your mates next year, or perhaps slightly unsure as you’re going to be sharing with strangers. 

Where you live can make all the difference to your student experience. You may wish to take some time to think in advance about: 

  • Who you’re going to live with 

  • Where you’re going to live 

  • How much you can afford to spend on rent and utilities 

  • Is the property legit? Watch out for scammers – particularly  targeting international students. 

 

Here the Students' Union Advice Centre team offer their top 5 house hunting tips:

 

Your housemates 

Think about who you’re going to share a house with - the wrong housemates can make life very stressful, affect your health and your studies. Getting out of a contract can then be very difficult. 

Try and find people with similar lifestyles and interests to you - do you like staying in or going out? Do you like a tidy kitchen or aren’t you too bothered about washing up and putting things away – it’s best to find these things out before you sign a contract with people... 

 

Starting the search 

Once you have your group of tenants, you need to find a property.? The two obvious choices are:  

  • University/halls see here.

  • privately rented accommodation?  

There are advantages, and disadvantages to both so you need to look into what suits you best, either individually or as a group. It’s important that you start looking fairly early in Term Two. Many landlords begin to advertise at this time of the year and the Students’ Union also holds a Housing Fair this term.  

 

Where to look? 

  • As well as the University's Student Accommodation and Letting Agencies, speak to friends in other years or if you’re local, family; look online at letting agents and take the time to look in shop windows. Talk to other students to find out if they know of a good landlord or take a walk around the area you want live in and see which agents are advertising there. 

  • Most landlords rent out their properties through agents. It’s important to know how much you are going to be charged in arrangement fees by the landlord or agent, and that they are going to manage the property properly. 

  • If you’re unsure about how your prospective landlord / agent deals with you then think about choosing another one. If the initial communication isn’t good, then ask yourself the question: ‘how are they going deal with me if something goes wrong?’  For example, if they won’t let you have a copy of the contract before you sign it to get it checked at the Advice Centre then ask yourself: ‘Why?’. 

  • If you have any questions make sure you ask them, and if you’re not happy with the landlord/agent’s reply, look for somewhere else. There will be other accommodation available. 

  • When you visit a property, ask questions. Try and visit as many properties as you can, talk to the current tenants when you are viewing the properties as they may have a different perspective to the landlord or letting agent. 

  • You can collect a housing checklist leaflet from SUAC which should give you some ideas about what you need to know.? Any reputable landlord won’t mind discussing issues around security, damp, whether or not the property has a smoke alarm or anything else of relevance. 

 

 Rogue landlords and scams 

  • Unfortunately there are a small number of landlords who take advantage of all students, in particular targeting international students.  This is why it’s important that you are aware of your rights BEFORE you part with any money and/or sign a contract or agree to anything.  This is especially important when you are using social networking sites to find accommodation and we are keen to help students avoid problems, If you are having problems with your landlord/agent please?contact SUAC

 

Where to live? 

  • Check out the SUAC student area guide to Coventry on our website.

 

How much is it going to cost? 

These are the things you need to think about and budget for: 

  • up-front costs 

  • rent 

  • utilities 

  • transport 

  • food 

Check out this handy tool: The student calculator