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What to look for when renting a house

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First year is behind you, as are the days of sharing a flat with 12 other people with odd sleeping patterns and loud speakers. Finally, you get to move into a nice house with a group of friends and enter the wonderful world of student housing.

Looking round properties can be a drag, but it’s important that you pick the right place or you’ll regret it for the rest of the year. Here are our top things to look for:

1. Double glazing

Not very glamorous, but ask the letting agent which windows are double glazed, as you may not be able to tell. Not only does double glazing help keep some of the noise out, but it also keeps a lot of the heat in, saving you money on heating your house during those long winter months.

2. Damp

Nobody wants a damp home, and although it can be treated, it’s definitely something that you, and the letting agent, should be aware of. Spotting damp can be quite easy: look for wallpaper that’s peeling away a bit, are there any visible signs of damp patches? You can probably tell if a house has damp from the smell, if it’s musty when you walk in then that should be a warning sign.

3. All inclusive

When viewing a house, ask the letting agent what furniture is included. The huge plasma screen TV in the living room might belong to the existing students and if you have to buy lots of furniture the house might not end up being as much of a bargain as you thought.

4. Location, location, locations

If you’ve lived on campus the previous year, you might not know some of the other areas of the city too well. Before you go viewing properties, check the area out on Google maps. Where are the nearest shops? Is there a cash machine nearby? How can you get to university from the house and what bus routes are near? Renting an amazing property is all well and good, but if it’s going to take you two hours to get to lectures and the nearest shop is a mile away, your dream house is going to very quickly become a nightmare.

5. Green fingers

If the house has a garden, who is responsible for its upkeep? This should usually be the landlord, but it’s a good idea to check. Gardens are great places for BBQs in the summer, but if you have to get down on your hands and knees and weed the flower beds it might not be worth it!

6. Safety conscious

How secure is the house? Student houses can be targets for burglars as they know each student is likely to have a laptop, iPod, phone and possibly more. Can you lock the downstairs windows? Is there a chain or bolt on the front door? If you have a back garden, how secure is it? This also goes for any outbuildings like sheds where you could leave a bike. Have a look for yourself, or ask the estate agent.

This might all be boring stuff, but a bit of extra time looking round the properties now could save you a real headache later in the year. Happy house-hunting!




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