Moving into student accommodation for the first time is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most important steps any young person will make in their lives. Some find it the most thrilling and exciting prospect imaginable while others can’t think of little more petrifying – life changes really don’t come much bigger than this. As such, it’s imperative that the right decision be made when it comes to choosing from the properties on offer. After all, these are the four walls that will play a key role in everything that happens throughout the student’s time at university.
According to the experts at www.findspace.co.uk, there’s very little of greater importance than asking the right questions prior to signing any contract. Chances are most of the important stuff will be covered by the agency you search through, but if any of the following questions are not answered in full, you need to be sure to ask them directly:
It’s a good idea to find out how experienced or otherwise they are when it comes to letting properties out to students. In some instances you’ll find that the property owner is something of a veteran and has decades of experience doing what they do. By contrast, others will have only just started out and this may be their first ever time letting a property – this latter example obviously representing the less desirable choice. Find out how experienced and capable they are before making your decision.
This is an exceptionally important question for the simple reason that the rent as quoted rarely tends to be the full amount you can expect to pay per month. From gas to electricity to phone lines to Internet and so on, you need to be wholly aware of not only what you’ll be paying, but what is and isn’t included in the rent. Again this should be made clear and will be in most instances, but if there’s any uncertainty or grey areas at all, it’s a good idea to ask outright what is NOT included in the rent.
In certain instances it can be an absolute godsend (in a financial sense) to opt for an all-inclusive deal. This is where the monthly rent is a little higher than normal, but also covers all other bills across the board. This can be extremely useful because a) you always know what you’ll be paying each month and b) if you’re the type that uses a lot of electricity or gas, you’ll get great value for money. Not all landlords and property owners offer these kinds of deals, but it’s always worth asking just in case.
A crucially important check to make is that in regard to insurance. It’s pretty much unheard of these days for a property owner not to be insured up to the eyeballs with all manner of coverage, in order to cover both themselves and their tenants against all eventualities. There are however those that are not insured to the highest possible extent and there will of course always be those who flout industry regulations with no insurance at all. If it’s not made obvious and verified, be sure to ask.
Just as landlords usually ask new tenants to provide references, the same should also be the case in reverse. It’s important to know what you are getting yourself in for by speaking to those who have already rented from the landlord in the past. They’ll tell you the full ins and outs of what they were like and indeed how the property was – any landlord with nothing to hide will be more than happy to put new tenants in touch with references.
Last but not least, there isn’t an honest or responsible landlord in the game that would ever try to push or pressure prospective tenants into making a decision. There are two reasons for this – the first being that they should acknowledge the importance of the decision and allow as much time as necessary. In addition, if their property really is an absolute winner, there’s nothing to gain from rushing tenants as surely there will be a long line of other prospects ready and waiting to move in. So even if you’ve pretty much already made up your mind, it’s a good question to ask as a bit of a test, if nothing else.