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How To Spot a Bad Student Room
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How To Spot a Bad Student Room

Written by Sam | December 6, 2020

The standard of student accommodation is getting better because of the amount of PBSA coming to the market and some key letting agents raising the standards in their area. Our article might help you decide which one is best for you, Student Accommodation Vs Private Rented.

However, in some places they don’t have enough student accommodation so it effectively becomes a race to the bottom for student accommodation and the ones at the ‘bottom’ charge similar to the ones at the top and students are effectively forced to pay these rent’s because there is little other option.

Alternatively, in a few cities, there is an over supply of student accommodation, one such area is Sheffield. However, there isn’t enough good quality student accommodation and then we enter the race to the bottom again, just like above. The price stays the same but the quality and service diminishes.

There are ways you can spot a bad student room if you are hunting for one this year, here are my top tips.

Top Tips To Spot a Bad Student Room

  • The bed – A place where you will spend a lot of time, make sure the frame is well put together and it isn’t falling apart.
  • Mattress – Something you can change if you want, however, again like the bed, you spend a lot of life sleeping (roughly 6-8 hours) so it’s important to have a good mattress
  • Room size – For me, a good room is an adequate size, HMO’s need to be a certain size if they fall within a certain area of an area (article 4 area). If the room is small it can feel claustrophobic and means that you can’t fit a good desk in and lack storage space for all your belongings. If they are a reputable landlord, they will stay away from small rooms or turn them into something else.
  • Bad furnishings – A bad bedside table, a wonky wardrobe, and a shoddy table show that not much care has gone into the room. These items can be from a charity shop or upcycled to reduces costs and waste, however, if they are very poor quality they will fall apart and shows signs that corners are cut.
  • Locks – This will keep your room secure and safe in the event of anything bad happen, many locks can be used on the doors, however, a good quality lock will fill you with trust when you lock it, a bad lock will do the opposite and your possessions. You can extend this to the doors as well, for a good lock, you need a good quality door and vice versa.
  • Layout and design – The room needs to make sense and not just have everything shoved in and limiting the amount of space you can work in. It should fit like a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Finally, windows – The brightness of the room will affect a lot of emotions and behaviours. Being in a dark room for a long time can have some bad effects because you will lack vitamin D and a badly fitted window will make it cold for you. Double glazed is pretty standard but if it is a naturally dark room that doesn’t get sunlight, make sure there are ways to enhance the light that does come in! Windows are also a source of ventilation, this will stop your room from becoming damp or condensated.

What Happens If The Rest Of The Accommodation Is Perfect?

If you are living by yourself in a studio, then this decision relies only on you. Personally, I would turn it down and find something else that suits me a little bit more.

You will need to take in to account the amount of accommodation left, price range and location.

If you are living in a group and the rest of the house is generally in good condition but your room isn’t, suggest to your friends that you keep looking.

This situation can crop up a lot and that is because a lot of houses have this one room that many landlords struggle to know what to do with or what they can fit in. Sometimes it can be an odd shape, different size, or smaller than the other rooms.

If this is the case, don’t be afraid to continue looking and keep that one on the backburner. The property can be designed the same all the way through and that is really good, but the design and space are important factors.

If the room is good quality but not quite right, keep it saved for later because it shows the landlord has made a good effort to make the room quality through design and furnishings which is better than the landlord making no effort with the room.

How To Spot Bad Student Accommodation

This ties in with the part above about spotting bad student rooms. In terms of the spotting bad student accommodation, I would look at a few key aspects:

  • Bathroom / En-suite
  • Kitchen
  • Living space

The reason why you want to check these areas because you will be spending a lot of time in them.

Bathroom – you will want to make sure it is cleaned well if the house is vacant and everything works with a good design. The last thing you want is a faulty or dirty bathroom. A lot of the time, landlords can try and cram an en-suite in to make the room more attractive and achieve higher rents.

Kitchen – If you have 8 people in the accommodation and a small kitchen, it’s going to be a struggle. Make sure that the kitchen is appropriate for the amount of people in the house and it has good quality appliances like a cooker, fridge and freezer with the appropriate fire safety precautions.

Living Spaces – These are the living rooms. Again you want enough places for all of you to sit at the same time, if not, I would be hesitant, I would also look at the quality and design of the spaces. Are they bright, welcoming, and furnished well? If not again, I would look for something better. It doesn’t have to luxurious, just a good quality standard with sturdy furnishings.

I have done a more in-depth article on How To Spot a Bad Student House. This will help you with spotting bad student houses and accommodation and goes into a lot more depth. In this article, I want to help you to spot a bad room.


There are a few key items that I would look for when searching for student rooms either in a group or as an individual. By doing the research in the first instance and attending viewings where possible and if you can’t asking for a video tour will show you a lot more than the virtual tours.

If you find a house is 99% quality but the one room you are looking at isn’t quite right but still quality, make sure you save it for later or ask to see if the landlord has any more houses available.

If you want to know how to spot a bad student letting agent or landlord to help you narrow down the search before you start viewing, this article might help because it goes into more detail. How to spot a bad student letting agent or landlord.

To know what to do next, don’t forget to follow this step by step guide to get your next student accommodation.

Discover. Trust. Review.