Finding private student accommodation abroad can get stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Before you sign the lease on the place of your dreams, make sure you know all the specifics. Ask your landlord these questions to avoid any ugly surprises later!
- What does the rent include?
Every tenant deserves to know exactly what they’re paying for. The rent of most purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is inclusive of all utility bills – gas, electricity, water, and Wi-Fi. Some may even cover access to the gym, games area, private cinema, parking, and meals. Having a rough idea of your expenses ahead of time will help you not only create a realistic budget but also stick to it.
- Who is responsible for fixing things?
Even if all household fixtures are in working condition when you move in, it’s possible for things to break down over time. It’s important to confirm ahead of time if the landlord is committed to getting repairs done and will cover the costs involved during your tenancy. If you live in a PBSA, the onsite maintenance team will usually take care of repairs free of charge. Of course, if you damage something deliberately, the cost will be adjusted against your security deposit (which is only fair).
- How safe is the accommodation?
Check for standard safety features like smoke alarms, CCTV, and secure door entry. Many private student accommodations have swipe card access and an onsite security team for good measure. They may even offer contents insurance as part of the rental agreement. Don’t forget to check with the neighbours for a general feel of the area! If you’re planning to book a room from overseas, schedule a Skype viewing of the property first. Many student accommodation providers personally visit each property as part of the verification process before recommending them, so it may be worth your while to contact them first.
- How close are the necessities?
A great accommodation is one located near shops and public transport so you don’t have to travel far for the essentials. Be sure to check with your landlord on where the nearest stores are, and if they offer student discounts. You will save a lot of money (and time!) if you live within walking distance of farmer’s markets, pharmacies, and stores like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Poundland, Asda, and Wilko.
These questions will help decide whether a student accommodation is right for you in the long run. Don’t be afraid to add more to the list – it’s better to clear the air ahead of time than have regrets later. Most landlords will be happy to address your concerns and help put your mind to ease. Good luck!
By: Yashodhara Trivedi is a Senior Content Strategist at University Living, a global student housing provider that helps international students find quality student accommodation in 130+ cities around the world. Learn more at www.universityliving.com.