Property Voices: Tips for renting your first student house

Chloe Vialou-Clark. Picture: Chloe Vialou-Clark

Chloe Vialou-Clark. Picture: Chloe Vialou-Clark - Credit: Archant

Finding a student house to rent can be tricky, as Chloe Vialou-Clark discovered when she left St Albans to attend university in Leeds. Here’s what her experience of the student rental market has taught her.

You've done it. You've got your place at university and you're on your way. But now it's time to tackle the student property market…

When I left home for the first time, I was like any other fresher. Itching to get out and exercise my new-found freedom and show my parents that I was indeed capable of living on my own, including doing my own washing!

Your first year living in university halls is one thing - if you're lucky you'll get your en suite and live on campus - but moving into your own house is a whole other ball game. So, from one student renter to another, here are some helpful tips.

Firstly, it's never too early to start looking. Speaking from my own experience, the student property market gets booked up months in advance. If you want that spacious kitchen and cosy living room, it's time to Google your options.

Universities often host housing fairs and you can pop into letting agencies at any time. There's nothing worse than that last minute panic, so get a group of friends together and start browsing.

Never sign for anything you haven't already seen. Between imminent university deadlines and nursing a particularly painful hangover from the night before, it may be very tempting to miss your viewings for a new house. Don't take your chances! It will require traipsing around a fair few hovels to find somewhere you like.

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Our tour guide advised us one afternoon: "Sometimes, you only need to see one room to decide. Let the place speak to you."

Looking around the unpainted, damp basement kitchen we were currently standing in, it was definitely wheezing, "get out while you still can!" rather than, "buy me!".

Once you've found a place that you're happy with, make sure everything works. Check your appliances and take photos of any marks or blemishes when you first move in. There's nothing worse than putting up with an already-leaky shower for a year and then being charged hundreds for the repainting of the bathroom's walls.

Don't be afraid to ask your landlord to change something in your house. At the end of the day, you're paying (often eye-watering amounts) to rent the property, so it's important that you're happy with its condition.

Finding your own student house may seem like quite a daunting prospect at first, but it's completely worth it once you move in the following September. I've had so much fun living in my student house. We've enjoyed cooking meals together, going to house parties and hosting movie nights. It's great when all your friends live just two minutes down the road.

The thing to remember is that you're not alone. You can get advice from your parents, estate agents or university reps that will all have experience and know what to look for.

And if the pile of dirty dishes is stacking up a bit too high, you'll be able to go back home, even if you are carrying a heavy bag of washing!