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Parental Tips Student Accommodation & Housing

Written by Sam | May 19, 2018

As a parent we want the best for our children, we want to make sure they get a home which is secure, reliable, valuable, and fair on price. See our blog on what influences students choosing accommodation.

However, we want them to become independent as well, so how do we guide them towards the right choice? How to spot the tell-tale signs which should make us avoid that house, accommodation, or letting agent? Well below we have given you some quick tell-tale signs on what to look for when choosing or looking at student accommodation and housing:

  1. House deposit – Are they registered to a shame
  2. Not allowing viewings
  3. Consistently bad reviews online and in groups
  4. Bad security
  5. Safe area, look at the street and other houses
  6. Location – is it too far away from the university
  7. High price – Does the rent justify the value
  8. Being forced to sign the contract on the day
  9. Not been refurbished within the last 3-5 years

Types of student housing

Here are a list of the different types of student accommodation you can get, read our full article for a deeper breakdown. Watch our YouTube Video

University halls

Traditional halls of residence are still the most popular choice. In a recent survey of university applicants, more than 90% said they wanted to live in some kind of student halls because it would help them meet other students. When current students were asked about their accommodation, many of them said they were surprised how easy it was to make close, supportive friends in halls, which gave them a support network to fall back on through all the ups and downs of student life.

While many are still run directly by universities and their accommodation team, an increasing number are run by independent companies. Some of these work very closely with universities, and it isn’t unusual for universities to include independent halls as part of their accommodation offer for freshers.

Independent halls can also be booked directly by individual students or groups of friends. These can offer studios and flats in the same block. They are usually en-suite rooms with shared kitchens etc. You can usually get premium rooms which give you more space for you to work in. The best way to find accommodation blocks is to have a look at the University website or head over to social media where you will find them on there advertising their events!

However, the final point of student halls is finding out what is important to your son/daughter. Some can be quiet and close to Universities and others will organise social events for the block. As a trend, you will see more and more independent blocks run events to bring the residents together. This is so that they make friends and get to know one another. Some of the events can be coffee and cake mornings to Fifa tournaments. This is also to engage the students so that they can get to know the team that runs the accommodation on a personal level. It builds up a community and trust. We always encourage you to get involved in these events or days because you never know who you might meet there!

Shared or private student accommodation or housing

For the more cost-conscious, renting a room in a shared house can be a cheaper option, but students then have to add the cost of bills and manage to pay them themselves, so good budgeting is essential. We advise that you look around a view of a lot of houses before you commit to a house. The majority of houses include bills within the rent, however, it is always best to check with the letting agent. If not we recommend this bills management company.

We always recommend that you look at the letting agent or agents beforehand, the last thing you want is to be chasing around an agent for repairs. You want to be able to carry on a normal life without taking on even more stress! To find out the best practice if the house has been damaged or looking not up to standard when you move in – Find out what you can do here

Private houses for students can sometimes be part of accredited schemes through the university or council – the university accommodation office will be able to advise.

Tenancy agreements are usually quite straightforward, but it is very important that you and your son or daughter read the agreement before you sign it. If there’s anything at all that you’re unsure about, check it over with the university’s accommodation office or a solicitor, who’ll be able to spot anything out of the ordinary. If at all possible try and visit the property before you sign on the dotted line.

One of the most important things to bear in mind when renting privately is that your child’s – or, more likely, your own – deposit is protected. Check with the landlord that they’re signed up to a Deposit Protection Scheme. Don’t know what that is? Take a look at our blogs on deposits! Furthermore, if you’re signing as a rent guarantor, make sure you know what this entails: you’ll be legally liable for the rent or covering the costs of any damage. In many tenancies, the “joint and several liabilities” clause will also mean that a guarantor is responsible for the whole property, not just the tenant’s room – something to bear in mind if you don’t know who your child’s flatmates are going to be. Find out more here for more information on Guarantors!

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