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Flat hunting : 6 things you should look out for

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The end of August and beginning of September marks hunting season. It’s the time when all students come back from holiday and try find themselves a new pad for the upcoming university year. Flat hunting before university starts is one of the most stressful experiences. Letting agents and landlords will often try to bully you into thinking that the shithole you just saw is the flat of your dreams. So we made you a flat hunting 101 checklist to make flat hunting easier for you.

1. Vet the landlord and your roommates

Ask the current tenants what the landlord is like. There’s nothing worse than a landlord that pops around every two weeks to give you lectures on housekeeping and/or never fixes anything.  The current tenants just spent a year in this flat and know anything about him that could influence your decision in giving him money. Also, if you’re not moving in with friends, vet your room mate(s). You will be living with them for the next year. So if you can, check if you get along. While you don’t need to be best of friends, if the person is creepy and weird, it’s probably best to skip that flat.

2. Check the cupboards.

Aside from checking if your things will fit in the room, it’s a good way to search for bugs and mice. Nothing worse than moving in to discover your new flat is crawling with pests. Check for bug traps as well as signs of any unwanted visitors. If you smell bug spray, just assume that there are bugs and move on. If you need to bring a torch and shine a light in the corner of cupboards and under beds, just do it. You’ll look crazy for five minutes, but at least you’ll be bug free for a year.

3. Check if there is living space outside your room

Flats can get pretty cramped, especially in London. So check if there is enough space to eat and study outside of your room. Eating/sleeping/chilling and studying in the same room can get old pretty fast. While this is not a huge problem, keep in mind that you will be living in that flat for the next year, so might as well feel at home.

4. Check water pressure

While you’re visiting, might as well check what the water pressure is like. I guarantee you that it is one of the things you’re landlord will never fix, no matter how many times you tell him to. Unless you’re prepared to shower every day of the year with a leaking shower and put up with extremely bad water pressure, just trust me and do it.

5. Make sure everything works

Including taps, plugs, stove, oven, washing machine, light switches, etc.  As I said before, you’ll be living here for a year. So check everything works or you might find yourself in a plugless hell hole. It might seem obvious, but it’s one of the things that you’ll regret not doing after moving in and discovering none of your plugs work and organising a weird arrangement with your flatmates. So just do your future self a huge favour and check.

6. Be sure you know what you need to pay

Are all bills included ? If not, be sure to know which ones you need to pay on top of your rent and how much it will set you back every month. If you’ve been through a letting agent, check how much that will be. How much are the admin fees? Are they asking for two months rent in advance? How much is the deposit? Be sure to understand everything you need to pay so you don’t get surprised by some fee no one told you about. Ask a few times if necessary, just be sure you know what fees are included and what ones are not.

Happy flat hunting!

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