Renting for the First Time as a Student? Check out our top tips!
You’ve packed up your possessions, had that last crazy night out with your school friends and managed to persuade your Mum or Dad to do ‘the big food shop’ that will see you through the next few months…in baked beans at least. You’re pretty much ready to start that next exciting chapter in your life – university.
Last week (w/c 21st September) university students across Cardiff began enrolling on their courses and getting ready for the start of the new term. For many students, this will be the first time they will have lived on their own. While exciting, there are also a few challenges to overcome, which don’t necessarily include where to stash that stolen traffic cone *!
Fortunately help is at hand, and we’ve pulled together a few top tips if you’re moving into rented accommodation for the first time.
- Money is tight when you’re a student, and the last thing you want to be doing is paying for the damages caused by the lot who had your digs before you. When you move into your new accommodation, you should be provided with a full inventory and asked to check, sign and date it. If this wasn’t provided, take some time now to make your own, noting down anything wrong with the property including faulty switches, cracked tiles or stained carpets, and be sure to take plenty of photographs. The inventory will be essential when it comes to returning your deposit and you need to make sure it is accurate. If you make any verbal agreements about repairs, also get them in writing, signed and dated.
- You are responsible for your own belongings, so if you haven’t done it already, make purchasing contents insurance your next priority. Student houses are crammed full of electrical gadgets and gismos, laptops, ipads, iphones, bikes – basically everything that will make a thief think that s/he is a kid in a sweetshop. But before taking out your own policy, check with your parents first, as you may already be covered by their house-hold policy, or could extend it for a small cost.
- Your landlord is responsible for the security of the property itself and should ensure that it has good locks on all doors and windows. If a lock is not working properly or breaks, report it immediately. Remember, even the best locks are only effective if you remember to use them so, make sure you lock up properly before going out.
- Report any repairs or faults with the property as soon as you become aware of them. Your landlord should try to complete repairs within a reasonable time, and never leave you without essential services such as gas or electricity.
- No one wants to live next to noisy neighbours and your contract will contain measures that allow you to be evicted for any unreasonable behaviour which causes disruption to your neighbours. Just be sensible! Let your neighbours know if you are going to have a party, keep the music to a reasonable level (your neighbours don’t really want to be able to hear all the lyrics to FKA Twigs’ latest offering) and turn it down after midnight. Ask your guests to be quiet when leaving the property. Yes, it may sound dull, but it will save you a heap of hassle down the road.
- If you do find yourself looking for last minute accommodation, it is best to use a letting agency which is licensed by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the Association of Lettings and Management Agents (ALMA). These organisations encourage best practice in the lettings industry, and you can be sure you are dealing with an experienced and professional agent.
- Landlords aren’t the enemy. Most are professionals who want things to run smoothly and for you to enjoy your time living in their property. Most value an open relationship so don’t be afraid to contact them with any concerns you may have.
- For more advice, check out www.cardiffdigs.co.uk which has plenty of advice on everything from accommodation through to recycling and fitting in with the local community.
Martine Harris MARLA
Head of Lettings