How to Find Your Student Accommodation

If you’re off to university and moving out of your parent’s place, then you will surely be looking for a student flat or house to move into and call home. And in this guide, we’re bringing you all the important details about how to find accommodation and make sure that your move is a smooth one.

What should I do before my student property search begins?

Everything starts with your budget, which dictates your affordability. Remember to think about other costs associated with a home – such as broadband and utilities like gas and electric – when you’re working out your monthly rental budget.

If you’re moving in with friends, ensure that your budgets all align. It’s also worth considering who you want to live with, so think about the kind of lifestyle you currently lead and how that fits in with your studies.

Are you aiming to be super diligent? If that’s the case, then choosing your best friend who loves to party may not be the best option. Take into account yours and your friend’s values and qualities, and make a decision based on how well those match.

How do I find student accommodation?

Most people search for their next home on the major property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla. Here, you can find hundreds of properties on the rental market, including those listed by Mashroom.

One of the best ways of filtering through potential homes is by setting yourself and your soon-to-be flatmates a few clear search points. The basic ones include the number of bedrooms and, of course,  rental cost. However, don’t forget about the property’s location.

Choosing a spot close to your place of study or other essential amenities, such as supermarkets, public transport, or parking options, is equally important and can make your life a lot simpler. Especially if you wake up late for class after a night of partying.

five university students working together on a laptop

What does Assured Shorthold Tenancy mean?

The most common rental agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST). It acts as a contract between the tenants and the landlord, clearing stating the conditions of the rent within the agreement.

A typical AST lasts for 12 months and usually has a six-month break clause, which allows you or the landlord to end the tenancy early. After the 12 months, you can renew the agreement if everyone is happy or let it go onto a rolling contract.

Once in the rolling phase, you can leave the property at any time as long as you give the landlord one month’s notice. The landlord can also end the contract, but they need to provide at least two month’s notice.

What does guarantor mean?

Most students will be asked to provide a guarantor. This is someone – usually a relative – who is legally bound to your rental agreement in case you default on a payment. In other words, a guarantor is someone who will jump in and cover your rental costs if you can’t.

What does security deposit mean?

When entering a rental agreement, you will also be asked to pay a security deposit. If, at the end of your tenancy, the landlord finds significant damages within the property, they may withhold some of the deposit to cover reparation or replacement costs.

A deposit will be the equivalent amount of five week’s rent and must be legally held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. The landlord is bound by law to notify you of the scheme they use within 30 days of receiving the security deposit.

Are there any benefits to renting as a student?

A major perk of renting as a student is that you will not need to worry about paying any council tax. All you will need to do is register with the local council as students so that you won’t be charged. This means that the only bills you need to cover are electricity, gas and broadband.

Many companies have new joining offers every year, so your best bet is to have a quick search to find what deal will best suit you and your mates.

Another cost you may have to take into consideration is a TV licence. If you watch live television, online or on a TV, you are required to pay.

black graduation cap with orange tassles on pile of books

What do I need to do on moving-in day?

You have finally found your place and are ready to move in. But what happens now, and how do you ensure a smooth move?

The first thing you should do when you’re in your new place is check the inventory. When receiving your copy of the contract, you should also have received an inventory list of the items found in the property.

Make sure that all items listed can also be found in the property and that they are in the same condition as described on the inventory list. Once done, send an updated list to the landlord. Also note down and take photos of any damages you find. This will help if, at the end of your tenancy, your landlord claims money from your deposits for damages/marks which were previously already there.

If you’re sharing, there will be some household items where it will make more sense for the entire household to buy them together, e.g. toilet paper or washing up liquid. Rather than taking turns and forgetting whose turn it is next, setting up a kitty where everyone pays in the same amount every month is an easy and fair solution.

Moving into a new home is exciting, especially if it’s your first time living independently. Being organised will make the move even easier, leaving you to think about your studies and an exciting new life of independence.

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