Becoming a student is one of those rites of passage in life where you finally start to learn about who you are, how to look after yourself, and encounter all those real-world situations that only you learn how to solve through experience.
Of course, apart from the philosophical lessons, becoming a student means that you’ve got to spend time in student accommodation! If you decide to go straight to a student house, here are some important questions to ask before moving in to make everything easier and as seamless as possible!
1. Double check about the rent
Questions to ask your landlord or student housing company are
How much is the rent – and when is it due?
Is there a penalty or fee if the rent is late?
What is the penalty for breaking the lease?
How long is the lease?
How much is the deposit?
How and when is the deposit refunded?
What utilities does the rent cover?
Under what circumstances may the landlord enter your appartment?
Should all roommates sign the lease?
Is a renter’s insurance required?
Are there any scheduled maintenance visits that must take place?
They might sound complex and complicated and just a little overwhelming but see if you can go one by one and tick each off as you know the answer. Why not keep a little written note for each answer jotted down in the back of your journal, planner or diary, so you always have the answers there when you need them. This is especially helpful if you are considering different student properties or going to see each one!
2. Get the Landlord’s permission first
Double check with your Landlord or housing company with any changes you wish to make beforehand! When redecorating or customising a space it is great to use materials like contact peel and stick paper and removable wallpapers, as you can then remove them when it’s time to move out again. Just check your landlord is okay with this – and if there are any changes you should not make! PS definitely check out these college apartment decor ideas on a budget for tons of cool student accommodation decor ideas and inspiration!
3. Be clear on what is happening with garden and yard maintenance
If you have an outdoor space or yard or even garden path, double check with the landlord what your responsibilities will be as a tenant. This could be caring for and tending to fast growing grass and weeds and pruning bushes and shrubs – or even to ask your landlord if you are allowed a few outdoor plants of your own, as a little gardening can offer amazing stress relief and give you a break to clear your mind when you are overwhelmed. Suss out with your landlord how much freedom you can have – even a hanging basket or two can contain a miniature garden you can care for and tend to, it’s so emotionally rewarding!
Suss out if your landlord will cover costs such as garden repair, grass trimming and tree felling, but also if they provide items such as a rake, a hand trowel or fork, garden gloves and any gardening tools you may need to use. Also check with the landlord if you should use weedkillers or not (if they are used to using chemicals you could even recommend an environmentally friendly version!)
4. Consider the safety and security
One of the biggest concerns with any student is the level of crime rates in student accommodation. If you are moving in with friends, it’s important to make sure that everybody feels secure in this environment. If your accommodation is in an area with a higher crime rate – or even if not – it’s a great idea to look for things such as alarm systems and safety catches on the windows when checking out student accommodation. Also consider if your landlord is receptive and willing to make extra changes to ensure you feel safe in your living space.
5. Get in touch with previous students who lived there before
This is a great idea if those students are willing to give you the lowdown on what you can really expect and what to avoid i.e if there are any strict neighbours who demand peace and quiet at all times, which neighbours are friendly to approach and what facilities are nearby in the area. You can get a really unique and realistic insight as to what it’s like living there!
6. Suss out parking
It’s a great idea to suss out parking before you commit to moving in – not just where to park near your accommodation but parking spots around the area and near your college or university too! This is an amazing question to ask a previous student if you get the chance!
7. Questions to ask your fellow tenants
One of the greatest parts of university life is meeting and possibly living with all different kinds of new people. If there are any changes you would love to make, check out your fellow tenants beforehand, get to know their tastes and ask around to ensure that everybody is on the same page when it comes to the living space and any communal areas. It’s always important to think of others’ needs above your own decorating desires – try to embrace any differences as part of the experience of meeting new people! – it’s all about finding a common desire that everyone is happy with to create a space where everyone feels comfortable!