Far too many students end up in costly traps when renting. Avoid nasty surprises before you sign your lease agreement by following our advice.

According to our National Student Accommodation Survey, two in five students feel their uni home is poor value for money.

Do not get caught up in the house hunting mania and take your time looking at properties. It’s your opportunity to make an informed decision and not pay to live in a place you resent.

Yes, there’s lots to think about from deposits to damp and bus stop locations, you can never do too much research. Our suggestions below can simplify your life.

Where to find student properties

Local student renting agencies are the ideal first step when you are looking for university houses. However, some students prefer dealing directly with the landlord.

There’s a layer of security when you select an agency because they’ll act as a middleman between you and the landlord. In theory, this will ensure that the entire tenancy contract is done in accordance with the rules. However, remember that the fees may be higher.

If you’re thinking of opting for the landlord option make sure you check with the accommodation services at your university first. They may be able to provide you with a list of approved landlords in the region.

What questions to ask before viewing a house

Here are the top questions to ask when viewing the uni flat or house:

Are bills included?
Do you have a Gas Certificate?
What’s the deal with the Energy Performance Certificate?
Is there a discount for renting during summer?
How do I deposit money and what is the scheme for deposit?
When does the deposit need been paid?
How can we claim our deposit back at time of the end of the lease?
Do you have an inventory list? What furniture and appliances are included?
Is there a garage or bike storage?
Do you have a sample tenancy agreement that we can look at?
Are there any agency/extra costs?

We’ll discuss all the important things to look for when viewing one of the student houses or flats below.

What to look for when viewing a student house

Here are 10 things to keep an eye on while viewing a home:


Regulations on the standards of rental housing are being improved, but our recent accommodation survey found that 36% of college students lived in homes with damp.

Don’t be fooled into thinking damp looks gross. It also smells gross it can cause damage to furniture and clothing and may create serious health problems (especially those who suffer from asthma, hayfever or any other conditions which can affect the way you breathe).

When you’re looking at student accommodation Leicester, check all ceilings and walls. Pay particular attention around windows, corners along with behind the wardrobes. Watch out for smudges on wallpaper, black mould patches and the smell of musky. All of these are signs to look out for, too.

If you move in and discover that the landlord isn’t able to resolve your damp issues, you should do some research on your rights because you could be legally able to sue them.
Pest-related problems

Infestations are a different issue for students living in homes. The most frequent pests are mice, slugs, fruit flies, the cockroaches, pigeons and even rats.

In fairness, it’s usually due to previous tenants leaving food items and bins that are overflowing around. But even so it’s not fair to pay to cover someone else’s mistakes.

Be aware of your kitchen cabinets, work surfaces and around bins. Check for droppings, traps and slug tracks.

On the upper floor, look out for pigeons settling in the attic. We can assure you that they will become very, very annoying.

The property’s location

We all know how important the location of your home is when deciding where to live. The less time it takes you to roll up and head to class, the better, right?

If a house near uni is a little too pricey It’s essential to figure out the distance between properties and transportation facilities that are decent.

However, proximity to university (or an option to get to uni) isn’t the only aspect to take into consideration when looking at areas. When you travel to the screening, keep an eye out for local services like supermarkets, newsagents and pubs.

Security and safety

Unfortunately, crime levels in areas with a high percentage of students are usually high. It is well-known that youngsters who go home drunk in the night tend to open the doors and windows open or forget that keys are locked in the entryway to their home (we’ve seen it happen to us all).

Security is a factor that every student must consider when viewing a house. Find out if the building has an alarm system for burglars and verify that the doors are secure. Check that the main entrance to the building has a secure access, too.

If you’re worried about security, mention this at your rental property’s owner. They’re not looking for any break-ins as well, so they’ll be happy to improve the security of your locks as well as access points.

If you don’t know the region thoroughly, do some digging to determine how secure it is. Houses on well-lit main roads are often the most secure. Quiet areas may appeal to learners, yet they also be a hindrance in terms of crime. But wherever your house is you live, follow our advice for keeping it safe from burglars.

Make sure you check that the house is fitted with fire alarms, extinguishers, and fire blankets. And, if you’re in an HMO (house with multiple occupation) the property must be emergency exits marked.

If you’re living in a group of three or more students, the landlord will have to comply with strict HMO rules. Although it’s legally binding, these regulations can be hard to enforce. They are there for your safety and security. It’s best to check up on the details of what they cover via the internet or contacting your local council.

White goods and electrical appliances

Do not be afraid to verify if appliances are adequate and functioning properly. Be sure to understand what’s contained in the tenancy agreement and inventory and inventory, too. For example, the washing machine probably will be included, however the microwave may belong to the current tenants.

If you notice anything that is concerning, make sure you flag it to the letting agent or landlord. If required, you can have a few words added to the tenancy agreement which ensures the landlord will address these issues before you move in.

It’s also important to make sure that there’s enough kitchen equipment to cater for the whole group. If you’re moving in with six people and there’s only one fridge-freezer, this probably won’t work.

Also, be cautious of any dodgy-looking plug sockets and cables that appear to be exposed or loose. These are extremely hazardous and should be addressed before you even move in.
The water supply

If you’re surrounded by a bunch of students who use the bathroom multiple times per day, poor water pressure does not make for a pleasant household. While watching take a quick turn to ensure that there’s more than a small drop.

It’s also a good idea to check the toilet flush to make sure that it’s operating just as it should.

At the same time be on the lookout for damp patches or possible leaks. Water damage is very costly and can be dangerous.

Fittings and furnishings

As stated above, make sure you have an accurate understanding of what’s in the inventory and what’s not. A beautiful leather sofa may be a draw, however, it could disappear when you move into.

It’s also worth noting that estate agents have recommended that landlords letting to students should provide each tenant with an appropriate desk and chair (if they market the property as a student residence).

If you are able to, take a look at mattresses for damaged springs. They can be dangerous and uncomfortable after a while.
Make sure that the home is well-insulated.

It’s no secret that energy bills are among the highest costs for a student (if you don’t include them in the rent you pay). It is important to ensure that your home is properly insulated can make an impact of PS100s in bills throughout the year.

Your primary concerns should be double-glazed windows, safe doors as well as a reliable heating system and a lack of drafty areas – these are easy to verify.

Check your walls within the property as well. If they’re cold, that’s a sign that the insulation is poor (and can eventually cause dampness within your walls). Doing these checks will allow you to save money on your energy bills.

Inspecting the roof for insulation can be a bit more difficult since it involves a trip into the loft. Your best bet is to simply ask the owner how well the insulation is.

It’s also not a bad idea looking at the roof from outside to check if any tiles are missing. If they are missing, it could cause leaks throughout the year.

Refrain from freebies and tricks

There are landlords who offer freebies like huge TVs or no bills for utilities throughout the whole year in order to lure you into. Be wary of gestures. Despite seeming like amazing deals but the landlord could use these extra perks as a reason to rent the property at a higher cost.

This doesn’t mean that this is the norm but. You just have to be knowledgeable. A good TV is right and fine, but should it be adding more than PS400 to your monthly rent then you’ll want to consider buying your own.

Talk to the current tenants

Nobody knows better of what a house is more comfortable to live in than the current tenants. They’re likely to provide an honest and truthful report, since they have nothing to gain (or lose) by telling you any other story.

You can gain some perspective by asking the simple inquiry: “What are the best and worst features of this house? “.

If the landlord’s not in the middle, they might inform you of something the landlord might have overlooked or is trying to cover up. If they seem happy and content, that’s the best proof you could get.

As the residents of this house of horrors discovered after speaking to previous tenants after moving into the property, having a chat with them before moving in could help you avoid some stress down the line.

Make sure to take photos and videos during your viewings so that you can get an opinion from family members or friends. This will aid you in making choices later.