Moving into a student house in your second year of uni can be daunting when you compare it to living in halls, where bills (and food if you opted for catered halls) are usually included in the monthly rent.
However, instead of living with people you don’t have anything in common with or don’t enjoy being around, you get to pick who you live with. For example, Caro Lettings allow groups of 4 or 6 friends to stay at their student houses in Liverpool.
When you rent a student house, there’ll be fewer people running around and making noise. This can be a real boon for medical students who have different shift patterns and workloads from students on other courses.
Sharing a house with a small group of friends will allow you to get the peace and quiet you need when studying for an exam or trying to get some sleep ahead of your new placement.
But the last thing you want to do is shell out on a place you resent and dread coming home to after a hectic day.
What to look for when viewing a student house
Although you could take a virtual tour and look at photographs online, viewing the property in person will allow you to make an informed decision as to whether it’s the perfect place for you and your uni pals. It’ll also give you the opportunity to ask the landlord and current tenants any questions you have.
Something else to be mindful of is that you don’t need to go alone. Some accommodation providers, such as Caro Lettings, allow you to bring friends and family along when viewing their student houses in Liverpool.
Whilst it gives them a chance to have a nosy at where you’ll be living for the next year or so, it’s also good to have at least another pair of eyes and ears – in case you miss something.
Let’s take a closer look at what you should be keeping an eye out for when wandering around a student house.
- Damp, mould and mildew
Though it might be the last thing on your to-do list when viewing a student house, you want to pay close attention to the walls and ceilings – particularly around the windows and behind wardrobes.
Flaking paint or wallpaper, black mould patches, and musky smells are all tell-tale signs of dampness.
If you spot any of the above signs, make sure you mention them to the landlord. In most cases, they’ll sort the damp issue ready for you to move in. However, if you move in and the problem still hasn’t been sorted, it’s worth researching your tenant rights as you might be able to sue them.
Infestations are a common problem in student houses – usually as a result of the previous tenants leaving food out and not emptying the bins.
We’re pretty sure you don’t want to pay for the former tenants’ squalor, so be sure to inspect the kitchen cupboards, worktops and around the bins. Look for traps, trails and droppings as these indicate there are pests, such as rats, mice and slugs.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for fruit flies in the kitchen, as overripe fruit and rubbish bins appeal to them.
Upstairs, listen out for squirrels, pigeons and rats scratching and nesting in the loft. Though you might not physically be able to see them, the sound alone can be mighty frustrating!
- Water supply
Let’s face it, when you and your mates move into a student house, the bathroom is going to be used several times a day. And poor water pressure simply won’t cut it.
When you view the property, give the taps a quick test and make sure there’s more than a trickle. You may as well check the toilet flush while you’re there too, and ask how the shower works.
Other things to look out for are damp patches and possible leaks in the bathroom or around the sink in the kitchen. If you spot either of these things, be sure to flag them up as water damage can be dangerous and costly.
- Electrical appliances and white goods
In most cases, kitchen appliances such as toasters, kettles and microwaves are supplied at student accommodation. Almost all student houses in Liverpool (and elsewhere) will come with white goods appliances, like fridge freezers and washing machines. However, some electricals may belong to the existing tenants.
With that said, it’s worth finding out what’s included in the tenancy agreement and inventory so you know what you need to provide yourself.
As you wander through the different rooms, don’t be afraid to check the appliances are in working order. And be wary of loose wires and dodgy-looking sockets – these will need fixing before you move in.
It’s probably the last thing that springs to mind when you view a student house, but you want to assess how well-insulated the property is.
A quick rub along the walls inside the property with your hand should do the trick. If it feels cold, this is a sign that it’s poorly insulated, which could eventually lead to damp spots in the walls.
Finding this out early on will help you to make an informed decision on a property, and you could save money on your energy bills as a result.
- Furnishings and fittings
A cosy L-shaped sofa and chaise lounge seat might be the selling point during the viewing, but these may disappear by the time you move in. Find out what furniture and fittings are included in the tenancy agreement to prevent disappointment.
Most student houses come with a desk and chair in each room – perfect for studying. They also come with a double bed and mattress. If possible, test the bed to make sure it’s comfy and check the mattress for broken springs.
Caro students benefit from an LCD TV in their room, as well as a TV and comfy settee in the living room. On top of this, super-fast Wi-Fi and bills are included in the rent.
And there you have it. Look out for these six things, and you won’t go far wrong when house hunting at uni.
If you’re unsure about anything or if something doesn’t look quite right, don’t be afraid to speak up. That’s the whole point of arranging a viewing so you can get a feel for the property and have your questions answered.