House Hunting Guide
Written by Kara Rhian Pugh
(Swansea Student) & Bianca London
Finding somewhere to live can be daunting. There are estate agents on every corner,
all ready to confuse you with 'tenancy this' and 'council tax' that. Our guide is here to
make choosing your new house as easy as pie. First things first, it is advisable to check
if your student union have a housing service as they will only recommend landlords
that they've checked out and trust. Total Students
do provide a house-hunting service
Whilst the standard of landlord cannot be guaranteed, we do provide an option to report
a particular landlord. If a number of students are dissatisfied with this landlord, we will
remove them from our site.
So what factors should you consider when house hunting?
1. Landlords- The main person to contact in the case of a housing-related problem would
be the landlord who should provide you with their phone number and address. Even
though the landlord owns the property, each tenant is paying rent which demonstrates
that they have a right to live there. This then puts certain restriction on the landlords, for
example, a landlord should give 24 hours written notice before entering the house and
carrying out an inspection.
2. The Area- Is the property situated near shops, public transport, the University, student
area with bars and restaurants?
3. Gas and Electricity- Ensure that a copy of a CORGI/Gas Safe certificate signed by
a member of staff is present as well as functioning heating in every room and a fully
running oven and fridge.
The Health & Safety Executive has a Gas Safety Advice
In the event of an emergency call
4. Plumbing- Check the function ability of the taps, showers, drains and toilets
5. Security and safety- Does the property have a working burglar alarm, locks on each
bedroom door and windows? Are there sufficient escape routes, smoke detectors and fire
6. Furniture- Is there sufficient furniture for everyone? This should include a desk and
chair which will remain for when you move in and do they comply with current safety
7. Money- Investigate whether half rent will be charged during the summer if you are not
living there as well as the deposit cost (which is usually equivalent to one months rent)
and be aware of when and how often your rent is paid
8. Housing quality- Are there any signs already of damp or disrepair in the property? Don’t
forget to check the garden, drains and windows for cleanliness.
9. Make sure any negotiation or dispute is in writing. This includes agreements with your
landlord regarding new furniture, redecorating, rent dates and repairs
10. Your tenancy shorthold agreement is a document issued to each tenant by their landlords
which is a fixed 12-month contract stating the terms of the house let . There will not be
an option to leave the tenancy agreement so it is important to make sure you are 100%
happy with the contract, even get your friends or parents to check it over if you have any
11. A Bond or deposit is held before you move into the house and are kept in case there is
any damage or great costs of cleaning up the house and removing rubbish. It is essential
to make sure you know what the conditions of the bond are as there are a number of steps
which need to be carried out to make sure the bond is returned at the end of the tenancy.
These may include removing all rubbish from the property, making sure there are no
marks on the wall, ensuring any broken items are replaced or paid for. A receipt will be
given upon payment of the bond which proves its legitimacy and date of return.
Checklist before you sign
Once all these steps have been taken to find your perfect student house all that is left is to
sign the contracts. Here, Total Students provide you with a quick round-up of everything
we have covered, with this checklist you can be sure of everything you need to know
before you sign that dotted line to ensure you are prepared to enjoy your new student
1 . Research and sort your bills as soon as you move into the property. Get calling
round different companies to ensure the best deals on water, gas, electricity, TV
2 . Make sure you get the best insurance cover to avoid falling into the trap of student
3 . Give your potential property a good external inspection, look out for broken tiles,
rotting timber, damaged gutting and enquire about garden maintenance
4 . Evaluate the internal features particularly the size of the communal areas, the
general cleanliness, heating systems, state of the cooker and fridge and assess for
any signs of pests e.g. slug trails, mouse droppings as well as location and safety
Did you get all that?! We hope you are well prepared to enter the student housing world,
most of your new student property and have another unforgettable year. If you need any
more information visit these helpful web pages:
- Citizen Advice Bureau Housing Guide