This is the time of year where everyone starts stressing over where to live the following year. I remember signing the contract on my first shared house and I was a tad nervous and apprehensive – had I just signed my life away to these landlords?!? (I can get a tad melodramatic during big decisions such as these). Signing for a house is a big deal though, when you need to concentrate on studying at your shared home, you don’t want the house you’re in to be falling apart around you and you don’t want to be renting of landlords who will rip you off or be unreliable.
Here are some things to consider when you’re thinking of signing off on a house:
1) Estate Agents or direct to Landlords? – You have two main options when looking to rent a student house, that is whether you go via an estate agent, or go directly to a private landlord. In my experience private landlords are the way to go, I’m sure there are some very good estate agents but there are agency fees involved and I feel there is less of a personal relationship between the landlord and tenants with an estate agent (as estate agents will have many student houses, a private landlord will only have a few). Cardiff Met has a list of approved private landlords, that’s how I went about getting my first student house.
2) Are bills included? – Last year I lived in a house where all my bills were included (heating, water, electric, gas, wifi etc), this year none of these bills are included. I was paying more last year because bills were included but I was never cold as we didn’t think much of turning on the radiators when we needed them. This year, when bills aren’t included I’m probably paying a similar amount as I did the year before, so maybe I had a better deal last year… hmmm.
3) Location – is it close to uni? Is it close to town? Where’s the nearest place for your food shop? All things to consider.
4) Finally, the people you’re living with – they say “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” but I wouldn’t apply this to your housing situation. It would be a nightmare to end up with people you just don’t get on with, of course you may think you get on with them, then you end up living with them and find that the opposite is true… Just try to be as wise as you can with who you’re living with and you should be fine!
In Cardiff, no matter how late you leave it, there is always accommodation going, so there’s no need to rush the decision, however the best houses will go quickly… Anyway, hopefully these tips will help when the time comes to sign off on a house though.
For more info and advice on student housing check out this helpful website – http://www.accommodationforstudents.com/info/student_guides.asp