Tuesday, 6 May 2014

London Student Accommodation Search Tips



Hello fellow students!

Hope you’re doing well!

Although this is a tad irrelevant to non-London students, it’s the start of the house-hunting race in London for next year’s students and I thought after going through the process last year (and again this year) I’d share some of my top tips from personal experience!

I am by no means an expert but this year has definitely been eye-opening and I hope I can offer advice to you if this is your first time house-hunting in central London as a student or just wanted another insight! These tips are aimed at people looking to rent from the private sector.


Before you sign/start the hunt:


  • Groups of 4 or less if you want to live in Zone 1 comfortably and affordably – having more means the landlord has to have a special licence (hassle) and it’s unlikely you’re going to find a property with 5+ equally sized bedrooms in Zone 1.
  •  Check out the estate agent’s reviews – DO NOT be completely scared off by a couple bad reviews but definitely check these out for a rough reference, you have to deal with these people for one year so if you see terrible reviews, step with caution!
  •  Be willing to compromise – space vs. location is always a huge battle, make sure you discuss this with your potential flatmates; agree and stick with it or you’ll have trouble agreeing.
  • Research safety and crime occurrence in areas online– there is a reason why some areas are cheap. 
  •  Ask people in the year above if any are going to leave their accommodation – they can often be more reliable as they can honestly tell you about the property’s management and pros and cons.




When you view the potential property:

  • Is there security? Locked gate, flat buzzer/lock, functional locks in property, etc.
  • Is there a social space? If there is no living room, the person in the biggest room needs to be willing to share space on special occasions OR a sit-in kitchen space
  • Check storage space: be realistic – 2 kitchen cupboards won’t be enough for a 4-person household
  • Keep an eye out for old appliances, mouldy bathrooms, broken glass, faulty lights, etc. – make sure you agree to have things resolved before move-in if needed
  • Be sure to keep note of room sizes if unequal: you may need to negotiate this with your flatmates
  • Natural light: if you prioritise this, make sure to keep note of it
  • Bills: ask how much it is to heat and power the house, no point in going for a huge house if it will cost you a fortune to heat when snow comes in!
  • Check where the nearest supermarket, bus stop, station, launderette and post office are – you’ll be thankful if you are aware before you spend a whole year there.
  • Confirm what furniture will be provided
  • Try and look past dirty flats – when professionally cleaned and personally decorated, they can be dramatically different.


Hopefully this hasn’t been too intense but this will help your hunt for accommodation this summer!

Here are a few photos of my room and university room this year for general inspiration!

 



Hope this helps all the house-hunting students in London out there - I'd love to hear about your tips if you have any, after all I've only done it once!

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