A LANDLORDS GUIDE TO VIEWING AND SECURING A HOUSE.

1.Rent

Rent is usually displayed as a weekly figure but is paid monthly. Be realistic about what you can afford. Work out the monthly figure.

If you pay less rent you can afford to put on the heating. Why be cold?

2. You pay a premium for being close to the University

Remember you will pay a premium for any houses close to the University, for the sake of a 10 minute extra walk you may get a house £15 or £20 per week cheaper that is £780-1000 per year!! That is a lot of money. Plus you get the exercise free!

Consider not living in a hovel, a year is a long time to live somewhere squalid, move further out and find a nicer house. Landlords can get away with not doing repairs and charging higher rents for those properties closer to the University.

 

3. Central Heating

There has been a move away from putting on the Central heating and using small electric heaters, in my opinion this is a very expensive way to heat your rooms. It is better to put on the heating for an agreed period of time and to heat the whole house. As an experiment as a student we switched off everything in the house but an electric heater and we watched the meter whiz round! It is a lesson I have never forgotten.

 

4. Old Housing Stock

Much of York is old housing stock, with single skin walls. That is why I feel it’s better to move further out or keep it heated they will be colder. Factor bills and heating costs in with your rent. My tenants seem to pay about £32 per month for all bills.

 

5. UPVC windows

Only 5% of heat escapes through the windows so UPVC windows nice though they are, they do not keep a lot of heat in. If you have a house with an attic conversion chances are it will be well insulated and the house itself will be warmer as heats not escaping through the roof.

 

6. Be realistic

You need to be realistic about what you are looking for. There is no point looking at 10 houses and rejecting them because they all have one small room and no one wants the small room. You have to accept that that is how houses are built, it’s rare for all the rooms to be large, and usually there is one small one. Someone has to have the small room, but make sure they are given a reduction in the rent which is more than reasonable and saves that person that little bit of money that makes all the difference.

Remember this is a student house, it’s not something out of House & Gardens!!

 

7. When to look

The University are famous for saying there is a lot of student property look in February or as late as possible, yet I start letting slowly and steadily at the end of November and am always finished before February. They are the organised groups who come by word of mouth know what they are looking for.

Sadly despite what the University say there is not sufficient housing in York to accommodate all the students each summer after clearing there are students living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation. That is why the agents can put up their prices to £90/100 per week because some students will have no choice but to take them. The same with the damp hovels, because sometimes that will be all that is left.

 

8. Areas to live

DO your research on the area. Tang Hall and Melrosegate are high crime areas, and not somewhere that you would want to be walking about in at night. And although they seem to be close to the Uni they are infact quite a walk in each day, it doesn’t appear far because they are a direct route in. Bishopthorpe Road, is a lovely area to live with parks good shops, closer to town and over the millennium bridge is closer than some houses in Tang Hall. Acomb a long way from the Uni, but has a direct bus route straight to the Uni. Also if you go out in town, go shopping or work in York, so remember you have to get there too.

 

9. Agents v Private Landlord

Agents do not have the best houses!

Agents rents are always more expensive because you have fees to pay.

Agents as a whole have a bad reputation for repairs. Use your gut instincts if they are disrespectful, to you, the customer, when you are trying to let a house from them, then maybe you ought not to go with them. The same with a private landlord, if you don’t like them on meeting them, then don’t take the house, you have to deal with them for the next year. You have to talk to them about rent, being late with your rent! Maintenance, moving in, bills etc.

 

10. Get your group to turn up

There is little point 2 out of a group of 7 turning up. You are not going to be able to make a decision. It is a waste of the landlords time. You are also going round someone’s home, they have hopefully tidied up in preparation of your visit and if you want to go round again then they are imposed upon again. Think about this because it’s going to happen to you next year. Then nice houses are scares it also gets to the stage of having to make a decision on the spot, and 2 can’t do that. You need at least 5 of the 7 to turn up and the other 2 need to give the consent to agree without them looking round.