If you’re like most university students, the freshman year is spent in the college’s halls of residence where you hardly have any choices in terms of roommates or amenities. Come the second year and you now have to move out and look for your private accommodation.
At this point, you have sufficient knowledge of the neighborhoods, a significant number of friends, and probably some source of income from side-hustles. This means you can choose who to live with and where to live too.
So how do you make the whole process of looking for a student-friendly apartment easy and stress-free? Here are five key pointers and tips to consider before making this very important decision.
Be mindful of who you choose to live with
Most of the students’ apartments you’ll find today come with annual contracts, meaning you’re likely to live with the housemates you choose for all that period. While this may not seem like a very long time, the story will definitely turn different if you’re stuck with incompatible and nightmare roommates.
It’s often said that you can never truly know a person until you live with them, and this is exactly what you’ll realize if you decide to co-rent an apartment with a friend or classmate. Try to be extremely careful with whoever you choose and look beyond the friendship you share.
Are they someone you’d enjoy conversing with for hours on end without getting bored? Can you trust them? Are they capable and willing to pay their bills on time? If you have some doubts about any of these critical questions, then it’s likely you won’t have fun living together.
Decide on the ideal apartment
Assuming you’ve already sorted the issue of housemates, it’s time to decide on what your ideal apartment would look like. What amenities are you looking for? Do you want to live in an area populated by your fellow students or are you looking for quieter and more exclusive accommodation?
Sit down with your would-be housemate(s) and create a checklist of everything you’d ideally want to find in your next house. It’s also important to discuss how much you’re willing and able to pay at this point as this can help you narrow down on the available options and thus make your house search much easier. You may also want to consider living a more minimal lifestyle as it would greatly decrease the costs of living for you and your roommates allowing you to afford better accommodation while still having money for essentials. Here a guide to how to live minimally.
Use a reputable letting agency
If you’re moving to an apartment within a student area, chances are high that your college through the student union body has endorsed several letting agents and landlords. Living in apartments managed by these companies will mean you’re less likely to get into unnecessary troubles in the long run.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for a house further out of the student zones, you’ll need to conduct your own due diligence to ensure you don’t fall into the hands of rogue agencies. While at it, be sure to carefully read their tenancy agreement and any other legal-binding document they may give you to sign. If unsure of some sections or clauses included in the agreement, then consider seeking clarifications from advisors or the student union – don’t sign anything until you’re completely satisfied.
Talk to the current tenants
Before making any payment and signing contracts, you should visit and inspect a few apartments to compare the amenities provided in each and a few other aspects like location and security. However, for you to get the actual feel of the place, a good strategy would be to ask the current tenants about their experiences and opinions. For example, if you’re moving to a student area, asking older students about their thoughts on existing residential places could be a great idea. This way, you can easily gather reliable information about the landlord, the apartment itself, and even the neighborhoods.
Also, during your viewing, don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have on general repairs, safety measures put in place, and parking among others. Getting clarifications on these issues beforehand will help you avoid needless issues and fusses with your agency or landlord.
Inquire about the deposit policy
Usually, deposit money is meant to cover any damages or non-payment of rent. Depending on your state, this money should be released to you within a given period after your tenancy period elapses.
To protect yourself from dishonest agencies and landlords, you may want to take pictures of the apartment when moving in. Use them as your reference in the event you’re sent a bill for unwarranted damages and compensation claims.
What are some of the challenges you’re experiencing while looking for a student-friendly apartment in your locality? We’d love to hear your feedback.