7 questions you should be asking at a student house viewing

16th December 2022
Male student studying on his laptop in his student accommodation.

For most people looking to rent a flat or house at uni, it’s their very first experience of the rental process. Some people choose to stay in halls while others like the idea of moving into a student house.

Whatever you choose, it can be an exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking time. There are probably a lot of things you don’t know, and that’s normal! Luckily, there are always people to chat to that can answer your questions and help make the process as smooth as possible.

At Sanctuary Students, our staff are on hand to give you a tour of our properties and provide all the need-to-know information. You can arrange a viewing at any one of our nationwide Sanctuary Students properties now.

Check out the questions you should be asking when viewing a student flat below.

Exterior of a block of flats

1. Does the flat come furnished?

All Sanctuary Student properties are fully furnished, which saves you a big trip to IKEA in Freshers’ Week! Having all your basics covered – think bed, desk, wardrobe and storage – means you can turn your attention to the elements of your room that will give it personality. Don’t forget, if you’re looking to stay in an en-suite room, then you’ll also need to grab some bathroom items.

But remember to consider your communal spaces. If you’re sharing a bathroom, you won’t all need to bring a bath mat! Also check things like fridge and freezer space (is there enough for every housemate?) and see if there’s a microwave, toaster and kettle in the kitchen. If not, you’ll have to bring those with you.

Male student studying on his laptop in his student accommodation.

2. Are bills included?

One of the first and most important things to find out at a flat viewing is if the bills are included. They won’t always be – but they are with Sanctuary Students. Every Sanctuary Students property has all-inclusive bills, which includes gas, electricity, water and Wi-Fi. You even get Contents Insurance included too, so all your personal items are protected. You can learn more about bills here.

When viewing other private rental properties, you might notice that many offer a rent package. Rent packages include all utility bills, so you don’t have to worry about contacting different providers yourself. This is also an easy way to split bills accurately and make sure everyone pays on time if you’re in a shared house or flat.

3. Do I need to pay a deposit?

Often, student landlords require you to pay a deposit when you move into a property. It’s usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent, paid in advance as security against any rent arrears, potential property damage and required cleaning when you move out at the end of your tenancy.

At Sanctuary Students, you can secure your room for just £1! Then you’ll pay for your rent throughout the year in instalments – check out some options here. Instalment plans are available to everyone staying with us, and we recommend paying in three instalments so that they generally coincide with any student loan payments. Get in touch with us to discuss the best instalment plan for you.

A stack of silver and copper coins

4. How long is the contract?

Most student rental contracts last for one academic year, with the option to easily renew at the end of the year. You’ll likely move in at the beginning of September, just in time for Freshers’ Week, but in special circumstances, there might be the option to move in earlier. At Sanctuary Students, you can get in touch to review your options.

It’s also very important to note when your contract ends. It will likely be the early summer months, but finding out that key date is crucial to making sure you move your things out of your flat in good time – especially so nothing’s left behind in a last-minute rush!

5. Is there parking?

If you drive and are looking to bring your car with you to uni, it’s a good idea to find out if there’s somewhere you can park – before the day you’re meant to move in! Some Sanctuary Students properties have a private car park, whereas others may only suggest on-road parking on streets nearby. If this is the case, you might need to buy a permit to park on particular streets or in certain areas.

Luckily, all Sanctuary Student locations have excellent public transport links to the local university, shops and other essentials. Additionally, many properties have accessible and secure bike storage – good news for cyclists!

A car park with a barrier and 2 cars parked

6. Who should I talk to if there’s a problem?

When renting a student house or flat through an estate agent or other accommodation provider, you’ll likely secure the tenancy with a student estate agency. This means they will be your port of call for any questions throughout your tenancy.

At Sanctuary Students, there is a range of avenues where you can find help. If it’s an on-site issue, you can report it to security staff that are available at most locations or to staff in the admin office. If it’s an issue specific to your rental circumstances, you can contact us here. And if it’s something concerning your mental health or well-being, all students staying with us have access to the free, confidential Health Assured helpline on 0800 030 5182.

7. Who are your neighbours?

In a student house or flat found through an estate agent, it’s particularly important to ask about who lives in your neighbouring properties. For example, if you’re in a quiet, family-friendly area, you’ll have to consider what’s fair noise-wise – especially if they’re working full time or have small children.

At Sanctuary Students properties, you can rest assured that all nearby residents are students. However, this does still mean it’s important to be respectful of your neighbours and remember that everyone will have different expectations – especially when it comes to noise around the property. On the other hand, the friendship possibilities are endless when surrounded by so many people in a similar situation to you – so it’s time to put yourself out there and make some friends!

3 students in a group having a conversation

Learn more about managing your money when staying with Sanctuary Students. As a student at one of our properties, rent includes your bills and can be paid in instalments. Get in touch with us to discuss your options today.

Need somewhere to stay over the summer? Sanctuary Students offer summer accommodation – not only to students, but to the general public too! Take a look at where you can stay and what rooms are available for happy, safe and affordable accommodation over the summer months.