Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tips for choosing student accommodation

Ok so you have completed fresher’s year, you are now not the newest additions to the University campus and it’s time to spread your wings and fly (drunkenly) to a privately rented, shared house. You will be entirely responsible (with the other stooges) for choosing your new pad and top of the list is room for a giant paddling pool in the garden so you can have topless diving competitions with the cheerleading girls. Other than that you haven’t given much thought to what is needed from a house, after all Mum and Dad have always been responsible for such tedious concerns and it has not been something you have had to consider. Until now that is!

So what do you need to look for when choosing student accommodation?

Firstly, consider that student accommodation is usually somewhat cheaper than your everyday accommodation for working folk. Why is this? Usually the standard of property is perhaps not adequate for those who work all day to put a roof over their heads and they want more from prospective housing! So you may find the decor isn’t great, the mod cons aren’t up to scratch and the garden rather than being laid to lawn would be more suitable for mud wrestling.

With this out of the way, knowing that you will be picking from houses which offer good value for money (they are liveable but not palaces!) what do you need to look out for.

Structure is always quite high on the list – is there a roof, walls and a door that locks? Are there unbroken windows? Does there seem to be any concerning cracks in the walls or tiles missing from the roof that are going to cause you problems when you are actually living there and realise that the bucket on the landing is not a water feature!

Central heating should be a priority. If you are looking at houses over the Summer months before term starts in September this may not occur to you but I am quite certain you will become aware of a lack of heating by about November when you are freezing, sat wearing all of your clothes under a quilt.

Running water – both hot and cold is ideal. Assuming that at some point you will want to wash and hopefully wash a few dishes (at least give them a rinse before reusing them!) A lack of hot water or even intermittent issues will cause you some upset in the long term. Cold showers are not nice at the best of times and after all, you will need some warm water to top up the pool you are installing in the garden to encourage the Ladies over!

Electricity without too many exposed wires is fairly important – fires are not ideal so any sort of exposed wiring needs to be seriously considered! Electric shocks aren’t great either. Lighting is important if you intend to do at least some study whilst at Uni and often students live nocturnally which would put lighting quite high on the list.

Does the toilet flush?
Do the windows open?
Is there carpet?
Does the oven work?
Is the kitchen completely filth ridden or can you work with it to prepare food without being seriously poisoned?

Obviously it may come down to picking some of the above, depending on the quality of the private student housing in your area – in which case you will need to prioritise based on order of importance. I would suggest starting higher up the list and avoiding bigger concerns first! Now, time to decide where you are going to park the pool!

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