By Katie Lewis
There are plenty of student letting agencies in Cardiff, with lots of different types of properties, so don’t panic if you haven’t signed a contract yet. Look into what the different companies or private landlords offer and make sure you check online reviews. One of the best ways to learn about different agencies is by talking to other students who have experienced student housing before. You have probably heard some nightmare housing stories, but there are also lots of reputable companies offering a good standard of housing.
Make sure you’re realistic when you’re on a house hunt. The chances are your budget isn’t going to get you your dream house, so be prepared to make sacrifices and prioritise what you need most from the house. If you’re a large group, you might want to prioritise communal space and look for a larger kitchen with enough storage and cooking space for everyone. Some student houses have bigger gardens, if you want to throw society parties, and some houses have en-suite bathrooms if you’re not up for sharing. There’s nothing wrong with viewing multiple properties until you find what suits you and your housemates, so don’t rush into signing a contract. Make sure when you’re on a house viewing you look out for things such as mould and damp, dodgy windows or doors and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The house must provide you with a good standard of living so don’t cut corners when it comes to basic safety.
Also, I’d advise you to really think about who you want to spend your tenancy with. Although you might get along with certain people, can you imagine living with them 24/7? If you haven’t found anyone you’d like to move in with- don’t stress- you have plenty of time to sort things out. Give It A Go have organised Flatmate Speed Dating on the 7th February which is a great opportunity to find your new housemates. This event will also give you the chance to speak to the Housing Action committee, who can discuss the ins and outs of moving into a student house.
Don’t be afraid to ask the letting agent questions about anything you are uncertain of. Check with them that your deposit is protected by a legal protection scheme and thoroughly read through any documentation you sign like your tenancy agreement. If you decide on a house but are unsure of any terms of the tenancy contract, you can get it checked for free through Student Advice, who work independently to letting agencies.
Happy house hunting.