13 questions to ask a student landlord before moving in
If you’ve decided that you’d prefer to rent private student accommodation from a landlord whilst studying at university, you’ve come to the right place.
The SPCE team have probably been to more student house viewings than you’ve had hot dinners! That’s why we’re best placed to arm you with all the best questions to ask your prospective landlords before moving in.
Take note of the following questions to ask about renting your dream student digs and avoid any costly, unforeseen issues later in the student year:
- Is the landlord accredited by your university?
This is one of the most important aspects for any student renting private accommodation. It is always best to choose a landlord that’s signed up to the code of standards of your university. The university should have a list of all accredited private landlords to give you. Alternatively, you can register for the new SPCE app which will feature private landlords who are rated and reviewed by students like you, putting you firmly in the picture!
- Is your tenancy agreement a fixed-term contract? If so, how long is the term?
Check the dates of your proposed tenancy agreement carefully. Discuss with your landlord the length of your contract to ensure it covers the length of the academic year at the very least.
- Will the rent be inclusive of any bills?
In order to find out whether your rent is good value, ask the landlord whether the rent is inclusive of any bills such as electricity, gas and even other services such as satellite television.
- Is there a deposit required? If so, how much and will it be protected?
Some private landlords will demand deposits from students before moving in. However, landlords don’t have the right to spend your deposit money. If you are seeking an assured short-hold tenancy, the landlord must place the deposit money in a government tenancy deposit scheme. Some lettings agents will also hold the deposit money securely until you move out. Make sure your landlord surveys the property with you before moving in to create a legitimate inventory of the accommodation.
- Will existing, visible damages be repaired prior to moving in?
Inspect the Student property carefully and extensively. It’s recommended that you bring along a family member or someone that knows what they’re looking for to discover any signs of damage or severe wear and tear. If you spot any leaks, cracks or breakages, ensure the landlord agrees in writing to fix all visible damage before moving in and redecorate and replace furniture if necessary.
- Does the property have any history of damp or infestations?
Unfortunately, some private student accommodation still suffers from severe damp and black mould problems. Damp can be a nightmare for students; not only does it look and smell foul, it can pose serious health risks, which is the last thing you need when you’re studying hard. Be sure to check all walls and ceilings for flaking paint or wallpaper, as well as any black mould patches.
- Does the property have fully functioning fire and carbon monoxide alarms?
Ensure the property has working fire and carbon monoxide alarms to provide peace of mind and safety in the property at all times of the day and night.
- Whose responsibility will property management fall under?
You can expect to have the responsibility for undertaking minor tasks such as replacing light bulbs but you should neverhave the responsibility to undertake major maintenance tasks. Landlords should carry out significant repair work themselves, but it’s important to set expectations before you move in.
- Is it possible to talk to the present or most recent tenants?
If you find that the landlord does not want you to speak with present or previous tenants of the property, it’s possible they might be hiding issues from you. Transparency is key at all times when it comes to renting student accommodation. It’s a frustration we know all too well as former students ourselves. That’s why the SPCE app allows student tenants to review and rate their landlord, giving future tenants the full picture of the tenant and the property before they even visit it in person.
- Does the agreement have to be signed right away?
Do not be under any pressure to sign the tenancy agreement immediately. A respectable landlord with a decent property will never be desperate to make you sign right away. However, time will be of the essence if it is a genuinely good deal, as you won’t be the only student to have noticed the property!
- Who is the immediate point of contact in case of any problems?
It’s important to establish a clear protocol for contacting the landlord or any other person in the event of emergencies inside the property.
- Who will have keys and access to the accommodation?
For security purposes and general peace of mind, you should be made aware who will have keys and access to your accommodation. This may include the landlord themselves and other cleaners and maintenance professionals. It’s important to ascertain whether these individuals will be allowed to enter without your permission. You should also insist that the locks are changed prior to moving in as previous tenants may also have a key.
- What will be required to get your full deposit back at the end of the contract?
Discuss with your landlord the terms of the deposit and its return at the end of your tenancy agreement. A reasonable landlord should expect some wear and tear on the property and will review the inventory created at the start of your tenancy agreement before deciding whether the deposit can be returned in full or with deductions. With our upcoming SPCE app, students never have to fear about deposit abuse. We manage room-specific and separate shared space deposits for our private landlords to keep things fair for all parties.
At SPCE, we’re all about finding 21st century solutions to traditional student accommodation problems. Our service provides more than just a great place to stay during your studies, it’s geared to creating an enjoyable student lifestyle that you all deserve!