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Student renting checklist

First rule. If you want to live somewhere nice you'll need to start looking before the end of the first year as the best accommodation gets snapped up quickly.

Unless you can get a September to September contract, you may be asked to pay a retainer over the summer holidays, particularly if you live in an area where rented accommodation is in short supply. If you do pay a retainer, make sure you get a receipt for it. This money won't be refundable.

There are a few rules that will be helpful as you view your potential dwelling. The first and most important rule is that you actually look at the property you want to rent yourself and not just take your mates word for it. In this way you can see if it suits you as well as your housemates and can point out to the landlord any items that need to be replaced or maybe just repaired. You will not be held responsible for any of these problems at a later time. Here’s a brief checklist:

  1. Is it close to public transport if you need it?
  2. Is the property heated adequately and will there be enough hot water for the number of people in the house? Has it got and EPC?
  3. Are there enough facilities provided for the number of people who will be sharing the house? For private study and communal watching of TV etc.
  4. Is the property free of damp or mould?
  5. Is the furniture adequate?
  6. Look at all the appliances to make sure they work properly. If there is not a washer or dryer in your unit, make sure the area they are in is well lit and only accessible to residents who live in the building.
  7. Check all electrical items are working and also all sinks, baths, showers etc are working.
  8. Is the property secure?
  9. Check outside and look at the roof tiles, drains and pipes, windows and perimeter fencing. Is it all in good condition?
  10. Are smoke alarms fitted? In larger houses are they linked together and are there fire doors and adequate fire escape routes.
  11. Is the area convenient for your studies?
  12. Does it feel safe, particularly at night?
  13. Check for any evidence that there may be unwanted rats and the like.

Finally, don't rush the inspection.