The best student properties are picked up early, and in order to get a good deal, you need to start looking during your first year at university. While it is important to decide whether you will be living with friends at a rented home or whether you will be staying at a private hall, any property you shortlist needs to be viewed before you put your name on the contract. If you are renting collectively with friends, it is important that everyone is present at the viewing and agrees to rent the place.
You need to make a few preparations before you go to view a property. You should make a list of all the addresses you will be visiting in a day and make sure everyone in the agreement is present for the viewing. Take a camera with you to take photos of each property for comparison later, and make a checklist on your notepad for key points.
First, you need to consider the location of each property. It should be in a suitably low-noise area and close to public transport hubs. There should be a marketplace at walking distance and the locality should be safe to walk to and from your university or the market.
After approving the location of the property, you should look into the number of rooms it offers and whether they meet your requirements. Any furniture or appliances that come with the property also need to be inspected properly to make sure everything is in working order and complies with local laws.
The safety and security features should be your next concern. You should check whether the property has passed a gas inspection within the last 12 months and has fire detectors and emergency exits. Moreover, the windows should have locks along with the front and back doors. You should also check if the rooms have enough plug sockets and if they are all in proper working condition.
You also need to note down details about the exterior. Check for rotting wooden frames, broken grills/fences, tiles and weak walls. If the property has a garden, ask the landlord who will be responsible for tending to it. You should also ask the landlord about any repairs that appear necessary.
Finally, before formally entering a contract, you need to establish whether the landlord has a proper title to the property. The property itself should also be approved by the local development authority and should not violate any laws. You also need to go through the terms of the contract; including any security deposits you need to make and your rights over the property, before you and your housemates agree to the arrangement.