We the Students

Mar 10

Being independant living in student accommodation

Before living in University halls I had never lived away from home. It was a bit of a shock to the system as I had always had my parents around to sort out my messes (literally). There was always food in the fridge and loo roll in the toilet and the bills weren’t really any of my concern. Arriving with a select handful of the worldly goods I had managed to accumulate so far (including a traffic cone from a rather interesting night out after A levels ended!) I unpacked my belongings into the statutory bedside table and desk drawers. I filled my kitchen cupboard with basic essentials which would ‘prevent you from starving’ such as pasta and tinned spaghetti. That was it – I was home! The great thing for me about living in halls was the freedom that came with it. Our campus was very near the fresher’s bar and we had loads of drunken nights where we could just stumble across the path to get home.

Now that I have moved into my own student house I have experienced a bit more responsibility in terms of household duties. When you move from halls into a privately rented student property the first hurdle is finding flatmates who you will enjoy living with but who are also responsible enough to pay their share of the rent and the try and keep the house in some sort of order rather than completely trashing it. So those drinking buddies who thought it was hilarious to put the shampoo in the fountain or to re-write the warning signs on the uni hall doors may not be the ones you want on a joint tenancy with you.

Ultimately when you sign up for a tenancy you are promising that you will keep the Landlords property in a decent condition and adhere to a set of requirements that they specify – these might include no smoking in the building, you may have to employ the services of a window cleaner and you probably won’t be aloud pets in student lets. As long as you adhere to these conditions and return the property in a similar condition to when you moved in your Landlord will probably be happy – providing you have kept to your rental agreement in that time!

There are various types of tenancy that can be taken out, different let times and terms and different types of agreements which will differentiate between you being obliged to pay the full rent regardless of number of tenants occupying the property, or the Landlord being responsible for finding a tenant with unique agreements for each person living there. These are things that you can discuss with your lettings agent and landlord at the time of choosing a property. It is important to consider that these terms will last the length of your contract – so don’t enter into the agreement if you cannot adhere to it for the full term and don’t agree that you can pay the full rent if you have a member of your potential household who is a little unreliable. In this situation it would be far better for each person to have an individual contract with the Landlord for their portion of the rent (per room) which would not leave you having to stump up for their portion if they decide to spend it on a night filled with booze and dancing!

Being a student should be fun (and you should learn!) and having tenancy issues or big financial issues can really put a dampener on that, so consider this when committing to a contract – you don’t want to be the one trying to sort out a big mess because you chose the wrong flatmates.

 

Feb 02

Student accommodation landlord advice

Let me tell the students what we the student accommodation landlords are up against!

The standard of student accommodation in Nottingham has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. It is no longer enough to supply a room with a bed, todays students (and more importantly their parents) expect standards to be much higher than before. As a Landlord of four properties I have had to up my game to secure tenants year on year. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still money to be made on student properties if you purchase them at the right price. But it is a difficult market and the competition is tough. Recent new developments of purpose built student apartments with all mod cons are a big draw for the youngsters and the security they provide appeals to worried parents. Competing with these is a full time job.

I have had to make some fairly pricey improvements to each property to ensure they comply with current legal requirements and those laid down by Unipol. However students being students, I am always concerned that the money I spend will be a waste if in a years time I have to perform repairs again. With this is mind I am always on the look out for good quality fittings at a price I can comfortably afford, this way I wont be too angered if I have to replace it all again. Most Landlords will request a deposit before they allow tenants to move in. This is kind of your safety net should there be any serious damage or blatant vandalism to your property. You are perfectly within your rights to retain the deposit at the end of the agreement if the property is not left in an acceptable state, but you do have to make some allowances for general wear and tear. As you are renting to students you will probably need to be rather lenient with the standards you expect they are, dare I say, little more than kids. There will be a lot of drinking and partying and things will get damaged and broke but you should still demand and expect a certain level of respect for your property.

With more and more student accommodation in Nottingham becoming available it is vital you keep your property up to date to stand a chance of finding tenants each year, but keep a keen eye on your bottom line so you do not over spend and risk ending up out of pocket.

Oct 02

Finding the right Student Accommodation

I’ve been a student in Nottingham for two years now and so far I haven’t had a problem finding accommodation. I was in halls for my first year at Nottingham University on the Clifton campus then last year I was really lucky because I was staying in the spare room with my friend at her parent’s house. But this year it’s all change. Her brother is back from overseas so they need the room back and that leaves me a house hunting student in Nottingham.

You see, when I was staying at my friends parents house I just paid them a flat rate every week and that was it. I didn’t have to think of anything else. But now I’ve realised I don’t really know how real student living works! I did live in halls in Nottingham Uni for a year but somehow all the close friends I made didn’t live on campus, they all lived in Nottingham already so being a student looking for accommodation was never really a conversation we had. Now I’m thinking about splitting bills like gas, electric, water, TV license etc. Will I have internet access? Will it be included in the price or is it extra? How many other students do I need to be sharing with? If it’s a house with only two or three other students will I be able to afford my share? Maybe I need to be looking at a larger student house where the bills will be split 6 ways, but then with a bigger house comes bigger bills so it that even really cost effective? Will I end up increasing my hours at work? Would I just be better off forgetting about student accommodation and renting a little studio flat on my own? Who knew being a student looking for accommodation was so stressful?!

By this point I’m feeling a little overwhelmed so I did what any strong independent self sufficient young woman does in a meltdown moment. I rang Mum. She wasn’t home so I turned to good old Google search. ‘Student accommodation in Nottingham’ brought up a whole host of websites and letting agents. First on the list is www.studyinn.com Look’s great. I’m very tempted. They offer deluxe studio, deluxe plus and superior studio apartments in Nottingham from £125 per week if you’re on your own or £62.50 each for two occupants sharing. Gas, electric and utility bills are included but TV license is separate. You book these Nottingham student rooms from September this year to September next. However, you don’t pay for these luxury lets on a weekly basis, you can choose to pay the whole lump sum in one go or in two, three or four instalments. Either way you need to be able to get your hands on a pretty hefty lump sum at some point or another. Even if you go for the four instalments option you still need £500 up front. The next payment is £1,900 (which is due before the agreement start date) then by the end of November the next instalment is due at a massive £2,400!

Something is telling me that One needs a rather loaded Mummy and Daddy in such situations. I’m thinking along the lines of a more traditional student accommodation option. Maybe a shared semi with original 70’s kitchen and olive green bathroom suite? Back to Google it is. I decided to localise my search. I know exactly what area of Nottingham I want to be in so I browsed www.shieldsstudenthomes.co.uk clicked on the student tab, put in my Nottingham post code and Bob’s your uncle there it was. A four bed semi, within the area of Nottingham that I wanted, within walking distance of my campus, a 12 month contract, available now, £58pw, Perfect. Since when has student living had anything to do with luxury apartments anyway?! 

Sep 26

How to Choose a Student House in Nottingham

Are you searching for suitable student lettings in Nottingham? Finding the ideal place can take some time and effort, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Read on to learn the most important factors you should consider when on the hunt for student homes in Nottingham.

5 Important Questions

There are some essential facts you need to be clear about to ensure the student home you end up with is a good choice. Here are five of the most important questions you should be asking your potential future landlord.

1. What is the total cost of renting? You should find out if electricity and water costs are included in the monthly bill or not.

2. What comes included in the student home? Rooms might be completely empty, partially furnished or fully furnished. Ask to see what is included so you can plan ahead and make any necessary purchases.

3. What are the full terms? Carefully read the terms of the agreement before you actually sign it.

4. Is it a shared rental agreement? If you are going to be sharing the house or apartment, then you should get to know your roommates.

5. Are you free to leave whenever you wish? Usually you can freely leave as long as you give a months notice. It is likely that there will be a minimum duration for the rental, so make sure you aren’t agreeing to stay more than you need to.

House or Apartment

Renting out an apartment is in most situations much simpler and hassle free. There will be fewer things to worry about and the security is usually better. But maybe your not too keen on getting student apartments.

A student house offers much more privacy and freedom, though it does also introduce a whole host of issues. Each room should be carefully inspected for any potential problems. Check all the appliances, running water and electricity outlets to verify everything is in working order.

Practical Points

Identifying a good student home in Nottingham which meets all your requirements is about more than just how much it costs and the details of the rental agreement. You must take look at each case in a practical manner.

Transport

If you will be using public transport, then find out the locations of the closest bus stops and train stations. Figure out how long it takes you to reach your place of study or work.

Safety

Finally, don’t forget to take safety into consideration. Check out the neighbourhood in the morning and at night, to see if you are happy with the area. Getting to know your neighbours is also a good way of finding out more information.

By following the above points, choosing a great student house in Nottingham will be easy and simple.  For more great tips visit my other blog 

http://studentaccommodationnottingham.blogspot.co.uk/