Spooky season is here. And no, I am not talking about Halloween, because that’s nothing compared to what you’re about to go through these next couple of months. House hunting can be both scary and stressful, especially if you haven’t done it before. Therefore, I am here to safely guide you through this season’s terrifying events with four simple, but crucial steps.
Do not stress
In my opinion, this is the most important point of them all. Now I know things are a bit different this year, but as someone who started house hunting during a global pandemic, finding housemates was incredibly stressful and hard. Being a late house hunter sucks, but in the end, it’s better to be a little late and actually like your housemates, rather than end up in a house full of people you dislike. Trust me, there will be good houses for months to come. Hopefully, you’ll have made good friends both in and outside of the halls, but if you haven’t, don’t worry, they will come! And if you are completely lost, fear not. Flatmate services like SpareRoom are practically made for you. So don’t stress.
Choose your area wisely
It’s easy just listening to what everyone else has to say on this subject, but you should really try to get your own opinion on this. A lot of the first-year student accommodations are in Woodhouse and Headingley, but before you start your second year, you’ll have to pick your own area. ‘Everyone’ will try to convince you to move to Hyde Park, and as long as you know what you’re getting, there is nothing wrong with that. However, do some research on the other areas too. The four main student neighbourhoods in Leeds are Woodhouse, Hyde Park, Headingley and Burley. There are good things about all of them, but no matter where you end up you will need to make sacrifices and always rememeber to be careful at night.
Is your landlord a company? Check reviews. They don’t have any reviews? Be. Careful. I’m here to tell you, based on personal experience, that there are landlords out there which are truly just a scam. I won’t drop any names, but they are out there. If you find as much as one negative review about them that doesn’t sit quite right with you, confront them about it. Do not trust them blindly. And if you are unfortunate enough to end up with an awful landlord, don’t stop nagging at them. You have the right to complain. As students, we often hear that we just have to make do with vile flats and dirty carpets, but we don’t. You are paying for that property, and if you have rats or mould, getting rid of it is their responsibility. Their only purpose is making money off students, so get your money’s worth!
Finally, viewings are essential when it comes to house hunting. Again, speaking from personal experience, photos and video viewings are not to be trusted. You need to go there and, bear with me, smell all the bedrooms. Yes, that’s right, take a good sniff in all of the rooms, because if they’re damp and mouldy, you will smell it. Also, if something about the property seems a bit off, don’t hesitate to try and contact the previous tenants. I know for sure that if someone tried to contact me about my current flat, I would happily advise them to stay away.
Good luck and happy house hunting!