Letting season has begun and viewings are in motion, but before you jump in to sign for a property there are a few things you should consider. Only you and your group will know when you’re ready to sign for a property, if you decide to do it early, great! If you take a little longer to decide, not to worry, there will still be plenty of properties available. We’ve put together 10 tips to help with house hunting to help you find the house that’s right for you.
Make a list of all the things you and your friends want in your new home. Do any of you bring a car to University? Will you need parking a space? Do you need more than one bathroom? Are there good transport links? Do you need the house to be within walking distance to your University? Or if the list becomes endless, why not make a list of what you don’t want in a house? Most importantly don’t forget your budget. Not everyone can afford the same rent, find out what’s the maximum your all able to afford because your tenancy is a legal document and once it’s signed you’re all liable to pay, failure to do so can result in further action being taken.
(2) Don’t Forget The Bills!
It’s important when working out your budget that you consider bills on top of the rental amount. As a student, you may be exempt from paying council tax but utility bills, internet, TV licence all need to be factored in. There are companies such as Huddle and Glide that offer packages to students to save the hassle of sorting bills and some agents may offer bills inclusive packages (it can be argued that this can work out more expensive), but it’s worth looking into which you would prefer.
There are plenty of student letting agents in Leeds, have a look online, ask friends and fellow students who they have rented from and if they would recommend them. Also look out for the Unipol Code logos, members of Unipol have their houses inspected to ensure they are of a high quality and meet code standards. It’s for your own benefit that you find a Landlord/Agent you can trust.
(4) Arrange Viewings
Don’t just look at photos, it’s important that your group arranges a day and time your all free so you can actually see the house. We understand you have lectures, seminars, placements etc that get in the way, but don’t worry it’s possible to view a property more than once.
(5) Ask questions
If you’re unsure about anything when you are viewing the house, don’t be shy; just ask the person showing you around. The more questions you ask the more comfortable you will feel about the house. If you think of a question you forgot to ask in the viewing get in touch with the agent, they will be more than happy to help you.
Student areas can have higher burglary rates so safety and security are a must! When you’re looking around properties, check if there are window locks, door locks, a burglar alarm etc. Don’t be put off if there are extra security measures in place, it’s for your own benefit. That leads me to our next tip…
Landlords will cover the building insurance, but unless stated in the tenancy agreement it’s the tenants’ responsibility to have the personal items covered. Sometimes students are covered by their parents’ contents insurance but it’s worth checking the policy and getting cover if you need it.
(8) Hidden Costs
So you’ve found the perfect home, your all excited to go and sign for it, you get to the agents office and find out there is huge deposits and signing fees to pay, sometimes this can total a large sum most students can’t afford! Most agents charge deposits and signing fees, so find out in your viewings how much you will need to pay upon signing, if there are any hidden costs and check it’s within your budget so when you go to sign for the property you’re not left shocked and disappointed.
(9) Repairs & Promises
If any repairs are needed on the house, this will be the time to discuss them with the Landlord/Agent. If you’re promised a new TV, a refurbished bathroom or anything else just make sure whatever agreed verbally has been written in the contract, don’t just take their word for it!
(10) Be 100% sure
A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, breaking the terms will result in legal action. Once signed, you have committed yourself until the end of the agreement. It’s likely you will have a joint tenancy agreement, so if one of your group members breaks any terms you will all become responsible. Therefore it’s important that you are signing for the right house with the right group, don’t rush into it. Some agents have a draft tenancy agreement on their website which can be accessed from your own home, take your time to read over it – you can also ask your Student Union or Unipol for advice and to proof read it if you’re unsure.
Happy house hunting! 🙂