Congratulations! You’ve got in to your first choice university and next September you will be embarking on a new student career. You have so much time to sit back and relax between now and then…
Don’t miss the boat
Mistake number one so many students make is to sit back and relax once their place on a chosen course is confirmed. This isn’t the time to take a chill pill and go on holiday for months. You have to dive in to the accommodation-hunting pool straight away, before all the best apartments and houses get snapped up. Leave it too late, and you could end up living in a rat-infested shoebox.
Budget break down
Be realistic about what you can afford. It’s not just the rent that needs covering, consider food, books and study stuff, bills, Wifi, travel and socialising – it all starts adding up pretty quickly. Speak to the accommodation officers at the university or college where you are headed and they should be able to supply lists of approved landlords and rental options as well as costings and availability for student halls as well.
Location influences availability and if you are in a city like London where the student population is high, you’ll need to be extra resourceful and on the ball. Focus on areas of the city such as south London where rental costs are relatively lower and the vibe is more student biased. One place that attracts students is the Camberwell and Southwark area. For student accommodation Camberwell offers great choice of all-inclusive rentals where all bills are included in the rent. For budgeting, such arrangements are easier to manage and student accommodation Camberwell style is centrally located with great amenities and modern, quality living quarters.
Know your flatmates
Don’t agree to share a flat or house with people you don’t know. How can you possibly guess if somebody is going to be a serial washing-up avoider, death metal devotee or that person who takes three hours in the bathroom every morning? You don’t. Only share living space with people you know well enough to be able to shout at/negotiate successfully with, when they over step the domestic mark. Got it?
Don’t be hasty
Student housing is in such short supply, the temptation to snap up the first thing you see is hard to resist. When you act swiftly without careful consideration it usually turns bad. You need time to read the small print of any contract, ask pertinent questions about bills, fixtures and fittings. Will the microwave still be there in September? Is that damp patch indicative of other problems? Is the water pressure man enough to cope with multiple students taking showers every day? What’s the internet speed like? It’s a really smart idea to take photos as you view a place as a good aid memoire, but also as proof of what was there and included in the deal at the time of viewing.
Don’t ignore the neighbours
You will be living in close proximity to others, so check them out if possible. If there is household rubbish and old sofas piled up outside their door, perhaps look somewhere else. If possible, chat to current tenants of the place you are considering as they should give you a fair reflection of what it’s like. Ask them to outline the pros and cons of living there and you could learn something useful.
You may find the perfect place to live, pay the deposit and sign the tenancy agreement – only to find that it’s miles away from the campus. Or that it’s in a crime hotspot. Make sure you thoroughly research locations, public transport routes and just how much time and money it will take to get you into lectures. Is there any parking for your car or do you need an expensive permit? Is there a supermarket close by? Fantastic student accommodation doesn’t hang around – if you find the perfect place for you, play devil’s advocate and ask a lot of questions of the landlord. It might not be quite the deal it seems…
Finding the perfect student accommodation is not a simple task, but you will get results if you start early and are thorough and methodical in your research. Whether it’s a single bedsit, house share or communal, purpose built apartment you need, avoid making these common mistakes and success will be yours.