When should I look for a student letting?

Since the start of November students have been warned of letting agencies and landlords promoting their student properties for the 2014 – 2015 student letting year. Providing strong informative advice to help prevent tenants making poor decisions each are recommending tenants wait and be sure of their group they wish to share with, not being pressurised in to houses. Understandably this presents potential tenants further options and allows first year students who have recently started University & moved in to halls to form stronger more cohesive groups.

Whilst advice being given presents a strong case for letting or finding a student house share later, second year students from both the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent Universities have been looking earlier. The potential tenants have a competitive advantage having both a cohesive group and experience of previously finding / letting a property, thus looking earlier to gain the house they want for the following year. As many of the letting agencies and landlords point out quality student accommodation and houses are let first with a higher demand for a luxury product whilst the lack luster, tending to be private landlords, present a lower standard at a lesser cost.

As previously discussed over 17,000+ students / potential tenants are looking for houses to call home. With an influx of private developments, student flats and private halls being made available with incentives to stay and Universities suggesting a large availability of accommodation it appears students are, as one landlord puts it, not “beating the rush”. With a 3% rise in applications to Universities throughout the UK, according to UCAS, and tenants currently sharing bedrooms in Chantry halls the numbers do not appear to add up. Southampton City Council have also implemented the Article 4 Planning direction limiting the number of Houses of Multiple occupation / student properties effectively capping the maximum number of houses available, combined with  increased demand on previous years from students for accommodation it appears an accommodation rush is imminent.

Student pub in Southampton

Finding a strong group of friends to share a house with is key, as previous discussed, with student houses being let, an influx of applicants and limited amount of property, waiting is unlikely to allow you to find a dreamy characterful castle a short walk from either University. For potential tenants and students Student Lets would recommend at least looking to gain a better idea of the market and put the wheels in motion for a house to call home in 2014 – 2015.

Student Lettings start in Southampton

With November just having started student houses throughout Southampton are now being made available from all the agencies, private landlords and Universities. You may have seen over the last week people putting their boards up to advertise their student accommodation. The letting season for student houses usually starts the first week of November, and this year appears to be no exception.

It has come to that time of year when tenants have the option to choose to stay in their existing house or move to another. Whilst first year students will be finding groups of friends to share a house with for their second year. Based on the Telegraph’s University statistics (Solent University & Southampton University ) there are over 25,000 undergraduate students currently in Southampton with roughly a third in their last academic year potentially 17,000 people are looking for houses, based on an average group size of 5 that is 3,400 houses.

Agencies and landlords alike have many rooms to fill and houses to show potential tenants with the best usually being let first. To get started decided on a group size, location you would like to rent in and then get booking viewings. Lots of University of Southampton students will be looking for houses near the Highfield or Avenue campus making Portswood an ideal location to rent. Similarly, based on proximity, Solent University tenants tend to look for houses in the Polygon or City Centre. Lettings agencies such as Simply Student Lettings will offer a wide range of properties.

A guide to student deposits.. how to keep it safe!

When renting any house or property in the UK, your landlord or letting agent is required to secure your deposit with a tenancy protection service. On the 6th April 2007 the Government created legislation to ensure all student deposits are protected on the basis the tenants meet the contractual terms of agreement, the house share is returned at the same standard it was provide and all bills and rent is paid.

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Searching for your ideal student house may be stressful, finding the ideal group of friends to share with then placing a deposit to secure the property. Having made payment to the landlord or student letting agency, the sum must legally be registered and protected within 30 days. To ensure your deposit is legally being protected ensure you receive the deposit registration number, various deposit holding companies exist: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview.

Having moved into your new student accommodation you should, between yourselves and the other sharing tenants complete an inventory for the house. Inventories are a report created by either you, the letting agency or landlord to outline the standard of the property. Details within the inventory should be completed, returned within 14 days and then agreed by both parties.

With the inventory sheet or form in hand, ensure you have detailed all issues, marks, stains or damage throughout your student accommodation. Taking photos can provide vital evidence to help protect your deposit, and maybe helpful at the end of tenancy. Ensure you carry out and in depth thorough analysis regardless of how trivial as this will be used to keep your deposit safe and secure.

Prior to signing the contract / tenancy agreement for your student accommodation take a look through the terms as these are legally binding for the duration of your tenancy. There may be additional terms added by your landlord to ensure your student house share remains well kept, cleaned and maintained. Highlighting and retaining important terms, keeping them as a reminder will reduce the chances of a deposit deduction being made.

With you and your friends all sharing a house together, cleaning is likely to be an issue as each person has their own standards of cleanliness. Being students the most common deposit dispute is cleaning, many tenants now choose to use end of tenancy cleaning services to ensure the property is to the same standard as originally provided. Some students, trying to be a little more frugal, may attempt to clean the accommodation themselves whilst saving some money, make sure you aim to return better than you found it aiding a full deposit return!

University Accommodation in Southampton

Students starting to study at the University of Southampton or Southampton Solent University should be ready to enjoy three years of studying, enjoying themselves, sharing experiences whilst gaining essential skills required after graduating. Having enrolled at either University institution students should be willing to broaden their horizons, initial accommodation such as private or University halls will shape a first year, from studying to partying and finding a social group to share a house with.

Students housing has constantly improved in quality, no longer simply having the option of living in squalor a wide variety of properties ranging from simple to the equivalent of a 4 / 5 star hotel exist. Taking time to research and find a desirable student house share, will ensure second and third year Southampton students manage to find properties they desire. Finding your Southampton student accommodation you want to live in, share, and enjoy may take time.

Large modern kitchen for 7 people with two fridge freezer, 2 ovens, 2 hobs, 2 sinks.

Southampton student accommodation – Highfield

Having moved from another English city, new students will build friendship groups, gain independence and, having completed their first or second year of academic study, will seek to find a student house to call a home. Some students may choose a flat, where a house share or similar student accommodation, does not appeal, Southampton offers a wide variety of housing, those of higher quality tend to be taken first!

After University or private student halls, such as Gatley, Romero, Mercury Point, Glen Eyre, Chantry, etc the option of finding a larger house with living room and garden are quite attractive. Southampton offers a few key student accommodation areas including the Polygon, Inner Avenue, Portswood, Highfield and Swaythling.

The following types of student accommodation exist:

  • Private University halls, open to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and international students
  • University / Institution provided flat shares, for 1st year and international students
  • Private rented student accommodation, such as houses and flats
  • Private student flat developments

Private rented student accommodation.

Private student lettings in Southampton tend to offer more abundance of space, facilities that make a house feel like a home. Higher quality more desirable Southampton student lettings tend to offer double beds, tumble dryers, dishwashers, spotlights provided by landlords who care for their properties using a full service maintenance team. Smaller student accommodation landlords tend to offer more favourable rents although maintenance response times may lack.

Private student flat developments.

More recently student flat developments have been appearing throughout Southampton with large landlords and developers investing in properties in the City Centre, St Mary’s and the Polygon. Whilst these house / flat shares offer exclusive student accommodation prices tend to be slightly high and space is a premium.

Southampton student accommodation investment.

Southampton offers over 26,000, between the two Universities, to both under and post graduate students, making competition for finding the ideal Southampton student accommodation vast. Joint with reasonable housing prices and large student numbers, investors have found houses of multiple occupancy (those offered to students and professionals looking to share in Southampton) to deliver favourable returns on their investment, thus increasing student accommodation variety.

University student lettings

Whether you are a looking or have moved in to privately rented student accommodation in Southampton, all tenants share similar concerns, the quality, value and facilities your new student house offers. Southampton student lettings offer a wide variety of properties, ranging from a single bedroom flat in London Road (the city centre) to a 9 double bedroom student house (in Portswood or the Polygon). Similarly student house shares ranging in price, dependant on the quality of the property and its location, tenants can look to spend a little more whilst gaining more space to study.

With 38% of undergraduate full time students, as researched by the telegraph newspaper, choosing to live in private rented accommodation, moving away from home and gain independence demand for properties in the private rental sector has rapidly increase. With student place applications having increased by 3%, according to UCAS, finding a student house has become increasingly competitive, with the best Southampton university accommodation going first. When looking for a house to call a home, students should look for well-maintained accommodation in a good location.

University of Southampton students tend to look for houses in the Portswood or Highfield areas, both being in close proximity of areas to study, local facilities and nightlife. Those Southampton Solent University students looking for accommodation are more likely to choose a city centre, Polygon or Inner Avenue location, similarly being a short walking distance to study whilst being close to friends. International students looking for accommodation during the summer, studying to gain English literacy skills, tend to stay in University institution accommodation.

The University of Southampton tend to offer their Archers Road and Glen Eyre halls throughout the summer, allowing international students to settle in Southampton and find private student lettings for their first semester. When looking for privately let student house shares, ensure your deposits are secured by a UK deposit scheme (such as MyDeposits), an inventory is completed and returned to the landlord or letting agency to aid your deposit protection. Remember to look after your University student accommodation as your own home and abide by contractual terms to ensure a full deposit return.