Moving away from home for the first time to go to College or University is an exciting time in anyone’s life. Students who are moving into University furnished flats or Halls of Residence may find that everything they need to live comfortably is provided for them, but the increasing number of students attending College means demand often far outstrips supply when it comes to getting accommodation. Students moving into a privately rented property have to deal with far more in terms of organisation, securing the tenancy and furnishing the house.
Finding a House
Every town with a large student population has a lot of student accommodation available, but the competition for the best places can be intense. Students should start their search well before term starts. Universities and Colleges can help by providing a list of landlords and agencies which are happy to let property to students, and getting together with a group of friends can make finding a house easier and the rent cheaper too. Students who are prepared to rent for a whole year rather than just the duration of their course excluding summer breaks are a more attractive proposition for landlords too. Consider renting in areas which are not traditionally popular with students as there will be more accommodation available than in the streets adjacent to the Uni. A flat which is a 5 minute bus journey away may be far better than somewhere within walking distance in terms of facilities and décor.
Although some agencies and landlords are happy to let property to students with few checks, most will ask for character and financial references. In many cases, parents will have to act as guarantors on the rent as the student will have limited income of their own. All of this paperwork and reference checking takes time, so get the ball rolling as soon as you find a property you like. When several students are sharing together and lots of references are being requested, managing the process is essential so that everyone knows what is required of them and what the deadlines are. Keep in touch with all parties and the letting agent at least a couple of times a week so that problems are dealt with quickly and all that remains to do at the start of term is to pick up the keys and move in.
Some student flats are ready furnished, but it can be a better option to take an unfurnished property and furnish it yourself. Put the word out to friends, family and colleagues that you are looking for furniture, and you will get offers of beds, desks or even a painted wardrobe. If you have the budget to buy new, stick to classic designs and styles which will last through your college career and beyond. A good quality painted wardrobe will still be looking good when your own kids are ready to start their university studies. Websites such as Freegle or Freecycle, where users can offer their unwanted goods to others, can provide rich pickings for students and their parents trying to furnish a flat or house.