Monday, 12 May 2014

The state of student accommodation

Well, if you thought students have an easy life, think again.

These days students are borrowing thousands to pay for somewhere to live to do there studies. Sure unipol etc have come up with a few rules for landlords to adhere to but these are just some rules and do not cover the overall condition of a house.

I think when you are paying 50+ for a room in a house you should be expected to get a nice kitchen, nice bathroom and some decent decoration. To many houses are simply thrown together by some handyman from bristol.

I mention Bristol as that is where I live and I shall name and shame my property. It is in the student quarter of the city and on a main road, about half way up. Thats all I will give away. Would you want to rent this place? No is your answer. Why not? Because the furniture looks like somebody else has already thrown it out. The kitchen looks like it was taken from a caravan and the bathroom, well I never knew you could ever buy a sweet in dark brown. That is not sarcasm either the bath, sink and w/c all match in dark brown.

Now I think all landlords with ageing properties no that one day these things will need to be modernised. Why not do it now, if you do not I hope your house does not rent next year!!

A decent handyman in Bristol is not hard to find, with all the sales on at big builders depots bathrooms and kitchens have come down a lot in price. So do yourself a favour and stop being tight!!

Friday, 7 March 2014

A little help choosing your student house

When looking for a student property there are going to be several factors which you need to consider before choosing the perfect house.

Initially, the most important thing is affordable rent. You could find the best property in a lovely area with the most wonderful surrounding which suits you perfectly but if the rent is extortionate you are not going to be able to afford that as a student! Work out your budget before you even view a property. Don’t visit properties with higher rents than your budget – if you can’t afford it on paper then you can’t afford it in reality and you are likely to get yourself into a mess trying to maintain a standard of living which is beyond your capacity.
So once you have narrowed down the field in terms of price-range, you will likely have several areas which are available to you as properties usually are in trends depending on the area – most 3 bed semis in a certain area will be a similar price etc. You will find that you sometimes get more for your money in reduced standards – IE – the decor may not be very modern but the living space is slightly larger, often the equation of rent is based on the property that is offered in total – not just size. That is why you will find that you sometimes get a very large housing opportunity that is much bigger than others in the area but there is peeling paint and the odd stained carpet. The Landlord is choosing the reduce the rent rather than pay to remedy the repairs to decoration, this will obviously be of benefit to you if you are on a tight budget and are not too concerned with busy wallpaper.

The next thing to consider is how you will travel. If you have a car, this makes things easier but do consider petrol costs on a regular basis – if it a 20 minute drive each way to your campus, you are going to be spending a fair amount on fuel each month. If you do not drive then you are going to need to look into bus routes in the surrounding areas. Don’t just consider getting to campus. How will you get to and from libraries, Doctors surgeries, the local supermarket and of course getting to and from those late nights out in town? Look at bus routes and times – especially if you are coming from an area where buses run all the time, as this is not always the case and they may not run all throughout the night or on Sundays!
So when you have considered how near you will need to be to University and how you will get there, you should have whittled down your potential areas a little further. You will be left with one or two areas with affordable houses for your budget. Now you need to consider the houses in this area, make appointments to view some and work out what you will be getting for your money – and if you have to compromise, what the most important things in the house are! For example, a small garden area would be acceptable but would 1 bathroom in a house of 6 students? If you have to choose between a large garden and two bathrooms, which is going to benefit you most in the long run. Consider that you will use the bathrooms every day (hopefully) but how often will you use the garden? If the weather is good you could just as easily go to a local park or pub garden!

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A word from MUM about your student accommodation

Since my son moved to Nottingham to study at university last year I have tried my best to keep my beak out of his business and let him get on with things in his own way. But as any parent will understand this really is easier said than done, especially when everything, despite their independence they still seem to come knocking when they need more money!
Well next term he will be moving out the halls of residence and into private student accommodation. I think this is quite a big deal, and there are several points to consider before making this important transition. Well I must be over thinking it or something because although my son is excited about the move and has already worked how who he will be sharing with and how wild the partying will be, he has gave little consideration to the financial aspect of the move. So I will be heading down to Nottingham at the weekend to hopefully give him a gentle nudge in the right direction. The university seems to be a good place to get some initial advice about how much the rent should be, and where the bulk of student accommodation is etc. Then I think we will do the rounds of some local letting agencies, i’ve already contacted a couple online and arranged some viewings at some potential properties.

Hopefully my son will appreciate my input and not just think I am interfering. But I need to know he is safe, not getting ripped off and fully equipped to manage in a student property.

Monday, 6 January 2014

choosing student accommodation

If you are looking for student accommodation, you will usually have several options; halls of residence (a room in the university halls, although, in many cases these are limited to first year students), a room in a student house (where you rent 1 room in a house directly from a private landlord), a student house (you and a group of other students rent a house and you are responsible for the entire rent regardless if one of the other students vacates the property) or living with your parents (perhaps not the coolest solution, but certainly more financially achievable if you are within commuting distance of your university).
When making your choice you need to consider financially which options are open to you. If you are living in a privately rented house you will need to pay for not only your accommodation but bills (which are not usually included in the rent) such as gas and electric, council tax (although this is sometimes included so you would need to confirm this with each individual landlord you meet with regarding renting a property), water rates, TV license, and of course other day to day costs including food costs, clothing and health and beauty costs. Although this may seem daunting remember that you will be in shared accommodation and will be jointly responsible for bills – council tax usually comes in around £140 a month (depending on area)  and will be discounted for students, you will then be splitting this amount by the number of people renting rooms in the property. Again, the same with household bills such as heating etc. But you will need to consider how you arrange any differences – if you go home in the holidays but others stay so how will the bills be worked out for this period? Will you just split all the bills evenly or will you work out usage amounts for specific times and split them? You are going to be relying on all members of the household jointly being responsible and none of them refusing to pay any bills. How will you overcome this situation if it arises?

Living in a student house is slightly more complicated as it involves making a rental agreement for the house. You would be responsible for finding and replacing any member of the household who decides to leave, so if somebody drops out of uni half way through the year, you would be responsible for finding somebody to pay their share of the rent and live in their room – if you can’t then you would be responsible for finding the extra cash (between those living in the house) to pay the shortfall!
If you are living in university halls there is usually a one of monthly fee which includes all costs. Quite often there will also be a cleaner who services the property too which will be an added bonus! If you are a quiet, hard working student, consider that not all students will be quite as diligent. How will you manage if there are students being loud and partying while you are trying to work or sleep and how will this impact your studies?

If your parents live within commuting distance of your university, this will certainly be more than likely the cheapest accommodation you will find – which will give you more time to study rather than trying to work to find the money to pay your bills. You will probably not have the freedom you would have as a student living away from home so consider what you want from your time at university and what is most important to you.

For great quality student accommodation in nottingham take a look here at shields student homes