Guide for Students - Before You Start Searching
Before you start searching there are a number of things you need to consider, such as where you want to live, if you want to live with others and what you can afford. Below is a list of various things to consider:
• Who will be paying for your housing - you or your parents?
• Will you need a part-time job?
• Will your scholarship cover your expenses?
• Housing options vary in price, so which one can you afford?
• Work out your expected annual budget for housing, travel, food, bills, entertainment, uni expenses and fees.
• Consider the difference that the distance from the University makes to your budget. Living closer to Uni may cost more in rent, but you may save on travel each day and vice versa. Don't forget that increased travel time may take away your time for study or part-time work.
• Do you rely on public transport? If so, consider living in accommodation on the main public transport routes.
• Will you look for part time work? Think of where you will look for work and how you will get to your workplace.
• Is being close to a shopping centre important to you?
• Would you like to be close to the beach or another place of interest?
• If you do not have a car, make sure that you can get to the University by public transport. Information about train services and buses are available.
• If you have a car, you can park it at the University. You will need to purchase a parking permit .
• Riding a bicycle is a great way to save money, help the environment and keep fit!
• What sort of space are you looking for? The layout of your accommodation is important, particularly if you are sharing with others.
• Do you wish to have your own room? Do you need a quiet place for study, access to a computer, good lighting?
• Are you willing to share bathroom and kitchen facilities.
• Do you want meals provided?
The people you live with largely influence the atmosphere in your new home and it's important to remember this when deciding who will be suitable to live with and whether you will get along well as housemates.
• Who do you want to live with?
• Do you want to live with several people, or only one or two?
• Do you want to share expenses, cooking, meal times and social activities, or would you prefer more privacy?
• Do you want to live in a family situation, or with friends?
• If you are looking for a rental property or share accommodation: how much time will you need to look for a place?
• Do you have references ready?
• Do you have the money for bond and the first month's rent?
• Do you know where and how to look for a house or flat?
• Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
• Do you have friends who also want to establish a house?
Questions to ask
Before you look at moving into a property, it is a good idea to think about all the questions you need to ask and the information you require from the agent, landlord or share house tenants. You will probably be surprised at the things you think of when you write the list of things you want to know. Here are some examples of questions you can include in your own checklist:
About the Property
• Is your property still available for rent?
• What date is it available?
• What is the exact address and how do I get there?
Rent, Lease and Bond
• How much is the rent per week?
• Does the rent include utilities - is the cost of water, electricity, phone, internet included?
• Do I have to pay a bond? How much is it? When I leave, how is the money refunded to me?
• Do I have to pay rent in advance? If so, how many weeks?
• Are there any other charges?
• What is the type of lease - fixed or periodic? I will only be here for a few months - is that OK? What about the lease arrangements?
• How much notice will I have to give if I want to leave?
• Is the place furnished with kitchenware, fridge, tables, desks, TV, lounge, washer, dryer, phone?
• Is the bedroom furnished with a bed, desk, wardrobe, linen, and pillows?
• What will I need to buy before moving in?
Location and Security
• Is the property within walking distance of the University?
• How close is the bus stop that goes to the University and how long is the trip?
• How close is the shopping centre where I can buy food and other groceries?
• How safe is the neighbourhood?
• Are there good locks on the doors and windows?
• Is there a place to park my bike or car?
Share House Living
• Can you tell me about the other people living in the house?
• What parts of the house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room) are shared and by how many people?
• Will it provide the right study environment or will there be too many distractions?
• Will it provide social interaction with other students?