What You Need to Know Before Signing for a Student Property
Signing for student accommodation in Sheffield can be a daunting task, and if you’ve never had to do anything like this before it can be difficult to know where to start.
A lot of student letting agents in Sheffield will be keen for you to sign with them so they may gloss over questions you have or persuade you to sign for something you’re not actually comfortable with. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to know before you sign and the questions you should be asking.
There’s a Huge Range of Prices
A lot of students will end up signing for houses which can cost between £70 to £80 per week. In any other city this would be pretty reasonable and an average rate, but in Sheffield it’s really not necessary. Paying this price will usually ensure you live in an ultra-modern newly fitted house (if it isn’t reasonably newly refurbished then don’t pay this price), which suits some students well, especially if they have this kind of budget. If you shop around though you’ll find hundreds of houses, in just as good nick for sometimes half the price. In second year most students pay far more than in third year simply because they didn’t understand what was normal in Sheffield. You can find perfectly good houses from as low as £45 a week, although these tend to be a little further out. Houses in Crookes start from around £50 a week. The advice is to shop around as much as possible and don’t assume that a higher price necessarily guarantees anything extra.
Talk to the Current Residents
The best way to find out about a house and about the landlord or student letting agents in Sheffield is to ask the people who live there. A house can look great from a ten minute whiz around, but upon investigation you might discover that the landlord is really slow at fixing things, or there are actually lots of hidden problems which aren’t immediately visible. Good questions to ask residents are:
- What’s the landlord/letting agent like?
- Have you had any recurring problems in the house?
- How much are bills on average?
- Have you ever been burgled?
- Why did you choose this house?
- Why would you recommend or not recommend living here?
Talk to the landlord or letting agency
As well as talking to the current residents you need to check out a few things with the landlord. First you need to establish what kind of contract you are signing for. Generally you’ll sign for a contract where everyone is jointly responsible for the rent of the house, meaning that if one of your housemates move out, you’ll all be responsible for the rent. If they’ve signed the contract then they are also legally responsible, but make sure you all do end up signing the contract at the same time to avoid any problems. Signing all together is pivotal, especially if you’re signing early on and don’t actually know each other that well yet. You’d be surprised by how many people end up in a sticky situation because someone hasn’t signed the contract and then decides they don’t want to live there anymore.
Another thing to ask about is the deposit. Establish how much it is and when they would need it paid, and make sure you record the state of the house immediately when you move in. Some agencies and landlords seem to take great joy in taking large chunks out of students’ deposits for minor work. They do this because, since you’re only a student, they feel they can, and often do get away with it. Any problems, take photos and tell you landlord via email, so you have a concrete record of recording everything wrong from the off.