This week is a guest blog written by Anna Romanska who is a Student Project Assistant for the Students’ Guild. Find out what the Guild can do for you and what they are advising students who are looking for private accommodation:
Who are we?
The Students’ Guild Advice Unit is a free, confidential, impartial service that’s here to help you with any issues you might encounter during your university life. One of our biggest areas of expertise is helping you with accommodation, so we thought we’d give you a few tips on how best to go about searching for housing, and what to look out for when signing for a new place.
What can we do for you?
The search for new accommodation can sometimes feel chaotic and difficult, especially if you’re new to Exeter, but a good thing to remember is that there is enough housing available for everyone. A good starting point is to have a look at the University Accommodation website, and make yourself aware of what fees tend to be like around Exeter by visiting Studentpad. You can also check out out housing page on the Guild website for more details on how to protect your deposit, what to look for when viewing a house, and what responsibilities belong to you and your landlord.
We provide a free contract-checking service, so you can email your tenancy agreement to before you sign it, to ensure everything in it looks okay. We’re also here to support and guide you should you have any issues with your flatmates or your landlord, and can provide confidential advice on how to proceed in your situation.
What to look out for
The Advice Unit supports the Guild in running various accommodation events and campaigns that are aimed at helping all students find suitable accommodation. There are also various websites where you can see reviews of landlords in your area, such as movem.co.uk, in order to better help inform your decisions. If you’re a returning student and need somewhere to store your things, make sure you arrange this in advance, and come ask us if you need help figuring out what to do.
Key to-do list for finding private accommodation in the city:
- Don’t hand over any money without being sure of what you’re paying for or without getting a receipt
- Check university and Advice Unit webpages for further information on housing
- Make sure you check the property when viewing it, and ensure there are no damages to the interior or exterior of the building, as well as making sure the gas and electric structures are intact and have been inspected within the last 12 months
- Get your contract checked with us and we’ll let you know if there’s anything you should follow up on with your landlord
- Go on movem.co.uk and see what others have said about your landlord and their experiences living in that property
- When you do move into your new accommodation, take a photo inventory of your place so that you have photographic evidence of the status of your housing should you have any issues with your landlord
- Don’t feel pressured into signing for a new place if you’re not sure of it – that’s what we’re here for! Come and speak to Advice Unit if you have any questions or concerns and we’ll do our best to help you.
Students’ Guild Anna