For many students, looking for a property off-campus could be the first time they have moved into their own place. So it can be pretty daunting finding one that you know you are going to feel comfortable in. Asking the right questions during a viewing can help make or break that decision, but where do you start? We thought we would help you out with a few ideas to get you going.
What are the Transport Links Like?
Even if you have your own vehicle, you may need to know this for the future or when you have visitors. Having an idea of how regular the public transport is can make life that little bit easier. For example, in Lancaster, there is the central bus station at the bottom of town and buses to the university are relatively frequent (every 15 minutes during the week). However, if you have a stop near your new accommodation, it might be best to know what buses go there and how often because they may not be as busy. It is also a great idea to find out how to get to the local train station for any out of area journeys.
Does the Property Have Parking?
Asking about parking is an excellent idea regardless of if you drive yourself or not. Plus, having nearby parking is a great help when it comes to moving into your new accommodation! If you have family coming to visit, you will also want to know if there will be somewhere for them to park.
What is the Local Area Like?
In Lancaster, there are many different types of occupants and, depending on your social life, may determine if this area would suit you. You can be as general or specific as you like.
Perhaps you want to know how busy the road is? Is your street predominantly students, or is it more family-based? Do you enjoy quiet, someone who wants to know the neighbours? Or are you a pretty busy and sociable person who loves to be in the hustle and bustle of city living? Knowing the area can help you decide if it’s the right one for you.
Where Are the Local Takeaways or Shops?
There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning to find your housemate used the last of the milk and didn’t tell anyone! Knowing how far and where the nearest shop is will help you get that caffeine kick a lot quicker. And of course, who doesn’t need a good takeaway on a Friday night? Knowing the closest ones (and the best ones) will make those weekends off a blessing.
Is There Any Damage?
We have all heard the horror stories of student houses and negligent landlords (not ours, of course). So when you are looking around the property, look for signs of apparent damage or dampness and ask if it is an ongoing issue or if it is being taken care of? Most landlords will make sure their properties are up to date with repairs and maintenance, so they will be able to tell you if it is being fixed or not. Our student accommodation in Lancaster is always kept up to date with maintenance. If you come across a problem, you can report it through our website at any time of day.
Which Utilities Are Included in the Rent?
Some landlords will take care of the necessary utilities. However, it is always best to check what other bills you may be responsible for and if you have the budget to take care of your share of them. The last thing you need is a late payment letter in your first term! We help students get these set up, so if you have any problems, get in touch.
Do I Need Any Insurance?
Asking about the level of cover a property has is always a great question. You are about to share a home with people you may not know, and whilst your new laptop for uni was a great purchase, you would be devastated if someone was to damage it accidentally. Knowing if the landlord has contents insurance may save you a lot of heartache and money.
Is There Any Outdoor Space?
Having a garden may not be a significant factor in finding your new property. However, it is always a bonus to know what is rightfully yours to use. For example, if you are looking into an apartment, there may be a communal yard or a garden belonging to one property.
What is the Deposit Scheme or Retainer?
A retainer is often a non-refundable sum of money the student pays to secure their property over the summer. It ensures that the room or property does not get let out to anyone else before the tenancy starts. At Student Housing Lancaster, we don’t take retainers. When viewing a property, ask what the deposit procedure is, how much it is, and when it has to be paid. You can find all our information about deposits and contracts on our Student Advice Page.
If you are on the exciting journey of looking for your new student accommodation, then get in touch to see if we can find you the suitable space.