Written by Beatrix Matyas from Student Furniture, providers of stylish, high-quality furniture for student accommodation.
Whether you’re a first-year student, flying the nest for the first time, or you’re leaving student halls for bigger and (hopefully) better things, looking for accommodation can get a bit overwhelming. Specially if you don’t know what you’re after! We’ve put together a list of the most important things to look for on your hunt for the best student accommodation out there.
Location, location, location
Probably the most important consideration when choosing your accommodation is its location. The perfect house won’t be so perfect if you have to travel for ages to get to your morning lectures.
It’s likely that accommodation on campus or very close to uni will be the priciest. Therefore, check out where has the best transport links if you’re working to a tight budget. When you go to view your potential new digs, keep an eye out for nearby shops, doctors and pubs. Having these things on your doorstep will make life easier on a day-to-day basis.
In a survey conducted by Student Furniture, more than 87% of students said that a good wifi connection was more important to them than hot water. Having a good wifi connection in your accommodation will save you from taking up permanent residence in the university library. Who doesn’t love to work from the comfort of their own bed?
You should also consider the benefits of a good wifi connection for your extracurricular activities. No one wants to be cut off halfway through their Stranger Things binge, do they?
Your biggest outgoing, after your rent, will be bills, so consider finding accommodation where they are included. If this isn’t possible, make sure you have an idea of how much bills are likely to cost before you sign the contract. Although the landlord may not be able to give an exact figure, they should be able to give you a fairly-accurate estimate based on the previous year’s bills.
Space + furniture
So you’re in a great location, have a good wifi connection, and your bills are included in the rent. Where are you going to put all your stuff? It seems like an obvious thing to mention, but make sure you consider space and furniture when searching for student accommodation.
Be clear on what furnishings are included and how much space for storage you’ll have available in your room and in shared areas. Ensure that your room will come with a wardrobe, drawers, and a desk. The living room should have a TV included.
A double bed may sound like a luxurious extra in student accommodation. However, keep in mind that a larger bed can easily double as a couch in case the living room becomes too crowded. You may be content with a single bed when you move, but you never know when a double might come in handy further down the line. Consider this: there’s one living room for everyone in your household so what happens if more than one person has friends around the same night?
Bathrooms: sharing’s caring?
This is a really important thing to consider. If you’re a first-year student, you might be used to sharing your bathroom at home. But… are you comfortable doing the same thing with a couple of strangers?
More seasoned students tenants will already know how they feel about shared bathrooms. For those moving in with friends, this may not be an issue. Just make sure that you all agree on cleaning rota to keep your bathroom looking presentable.
Finding your dream flatmates
There is nothing that strikes fear into students like the possibility of living with a nightmare housemate. Even if you’re moving in with your mates, you probably won’t get on with all of them all of the time.
If you’re looking for accommodation on your own, ask the estate agent if they know who your potential housemates could be. See if they can tell you a little bit about them: are they freshers, postgrad students…? This way you can spot any potential red flags before it’s too late. After all, if you’re looking for a quiet house to cope with your final year exams, you may not want to find out that you’re stuck with three freshers for the year.
Even if you choose to rent with friends, consider the implications of living with these people for the foreseeable future. Are they renowned party animals? How clean do they keep their current accommodation? Will they pitch in with any shared chores? If they don’t in their current situation, they’re unlikely to start any time soon.
Mind your Ts and Cs
When you find the right accommodation, read carefully the fine print of your tenancy agreement before you sign. It will save you a lot of hassle in the long run, and it will be much easier to dispute any issues you have before signing, rather than further down the line.
Creative control: how much can you customise?
There is nothing worse than living in a bare room for a year, so ask your landlord about how much creative freedom you have with your space. Make sure you cover basics such as sticking up posters and putting nails in the wall. Most landlords are happy to let you customise your room but it’s best to double check before you go wild with the blue tac.
Security (personal and shared space)
The last thing you want to be worrying about is the safety and security of your belongings. When you’re considering accommodation options, look for properties that have an up-to-date security system, and locks on all individual rooms as well as the main entrances.