The process of moving into student accommodation for the first time is one that is so long winded and demanding that it can be natural to try and rush things through. After all, what you’re effectively looking at is four walls and a roof that will keep the rain off you for a period of time while you study the subject of your choosing.
Of course, realistically, student housing counts for a great deal more than just providing a shelter from the elements as it’s difficult to give your studies and indeed your social life in general full focus if you are largely unhappy with where you live. As such, it’s more than worth taking the time to make sure you do it right in order to prevent the prospect of facing anything unfortunate far down the line.
So for those who are prepped and pretty much ready to move into their student housing in Newcastle, here’s a quick rundown of a few tips from the pros on how to do it right:
1 – Read Your Contract
First and foremost, it is entirely inadvisable to even consider finalising the deal without first having studied the contract at length. This doesn’t mean just glancing over it at the office and nor does it mean taking the landlords word for it that everything is above board. The moment your signature is on the document, you are bound by each and every one of its terms and conditions from front to back. And if you don’t know exactly what kinds of terms and conditions a contract contains, how on earth can you be happy to put your signature to it?
2 – Make an Inventory and Have it Signed
Assuming there are at least some bits and pieces within the building, chances are your landlord will pen an inventory detailing these items for the both of you to sign and agree to. This is basically their way of covering their own backs against loss and damage, but is at the same time of crucial importance to tenants. With both signatures on the inventory, a landlord is then unable to falsely claim anything was in fact in the property when you moved in, when you yourself know very well it was not.
3 – Question Early Contract Termination Conditions
Still on the subject of covering your own back, it’s never a bad idea to speak to your landlord before moving in about exactly where you stand should you wish to end the contract early. Technically speaking, this should be included in the contract itself, but it’s still worth bringing the subject up just in case.
4 – Know Your Responsibilities
Never forget that tenants have a certain level of responsibility when it comes to the various duties involved in keeping the property in good condition, though exactly what you are and are not expected to do will vary from one contract to the next. Some landlords expect their tenants to do pretty much everything and then there are those who demand next to nothing. From cleaning to gardening to disposal of rubbish and right through to minor repairs, make sure you know exactly what is expected of you before agreeing to the terms.
5 – Demand Safety Certificates
One of the most crucially important checks to make prior to moving into any accommodation, student or otherwise, is that of the safety of the building’s gas installations. Building owners and landlords are required by law to have their gas installations inspected and tested on a regular basis and to retain the documents they receive in order to verify this. As such, a reputable landlord will understand the importance of these documents and produce them without being asked – those to the contrary may skirt around the subject indefinitely.
6 – Ask About Appliances
A quick check but an important check nonetheless, be sure to ask about the appliances within the property in terms of when they were last replaced, when they were last serviced and what kind of condition they are in a generally. When for example you come across the cheapest of appliances like kettles, toasters and microwaves that clearly haven’t been replaced since the early 1980s, this speaks volumes about the kind of landlord you are dealing with.
7 – Identify and Record Damage
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to give the place a comprehensive inspection from front to back and top to bottom in order to look for any signs of damage caused prior to your arrival. If and when you do come across any obvious damage, be sure to record it either by way of taking a photograph or writing it down in order for the landlord to then acknowledge the fact that this damage was not caused by you personally.