Feature Student Property Uncovered
Essential advice from experts in the Leeds lettings market to help you find your new student home
Nicola Brown, Unipol
Finding the best student property for you and your housemates can be a nightmare. Not only do you have to find the right place, but you have to make sure you’re in the right area and that you are not going to get ripped off. With that in mind, we ask student lettings professionals for their advice and tips.
This unique Leeds charity was established in 1975. We spoke toNicola Brownabout how they have been successful in raising standards of student accommodation in Leeds.
What is it that Unipol do and how do you benefit students?
Unipol is a not-for-profit housing organisation with charitable status. Unipol are part funded by the universities and student unions and our trustees are drawn from them, ensuring we keep students’ interests at the centre of what we do. We are all about quality and promoting standards through the Unipol Code and are committed to keeping students safe and offering them an excellent selection of quality landlords, agents and properties.
We want students to be able to access our website easily, which is why we launched a special mobile version of it. So now students can house hunt on the go. We are always trying to find new ways to give students the best advice, so we have produced a number of short videos on The Unipol Code, Deposit Protection, getting ready to house hunt and tips on avoiding being a victim of burglary. All these are available via Youtube or our website. We are also working hard nationally to promote professionalism in student housing through training and accreditation.
What kind of properties do Unipol offer?
Unipol offers everything from single rooms in shared properties and large developments to whole properties ranging from one bed up to 15 beds. Advertising over 15,000 bed spaces a year means there is plenty of choice. We advertise properties from our own portfolio and many more from quality landlords across
What should students do to try and ensure that their house hunt is successful?
Be prepared, take their time and get their contract checked before signing anything. Look at plenty of properties and make sure they choose a property covered by the Unipol Code which will offer peace of mind and advice if anything goes wrong.
How can they avoid the pitfalls associated with house hunting?
Follow the advice above and don’t forget there is not a housing shortage inLeedsthere is a surplus of good quality accommodation. Students who leave their house hunting until later in the year can still secure good houses. All the best places don’t go first. Often students that sign up for houses too early are actually signing for properties left over from the previous year! Wait for the official house hunting start date (14th January) when over 12,000 bed spaces are released on to the Unipol website for students to view.
What should students take into account when viewing a house? What questions should they ask?
Students should take a copy of the house hunting checklist available in our house hunting guide and on the website to their viewing. This will remind them what questions they need to ask and what to look for in the property. It is also good to try and talk to the current tenants if they get a chance.
They should ask: how do the landlord or agent deal with repairs? Was the house ready on the first day of the contract? If not, was the landlord or agent helpful and proactive in sorting any problems? Is there anything beyond the control of the landlord or agent that would be useful to know?
Whatever happens students should not panic; they should plan what they want and decide who they want to share with. The articles below are well worth a read and Unipol are here to help and will be happy to answer any questions they may have or they can always call in and see us.
House Hunting 2012
Why do 3rd years get the best houses?
The Unipol Code
Check if your landlord/agent is signed up!
An independent letting and property management agency which specialises in finding the right lets for students and professionals throughout Leeds. We asked director Tesh Parmar (pictured left, alongside his father Ash who started the business 26 years ago)about their success and their tips for finding the right student property.
What kind of properties do you offer at Abbey Homez?
Here at Abbey Homez we offer a variety of student properties based in the LS6 area. We own a handful of properties ranging from three bedroom contemporary apartments to seven bed houses. Some of our houses are next door to each other so we are able to let these as 12 or 14 bedrooms.
Why should students let a property from you?
Abbey Homez is a well respected family company that’s been established in
Which areas of
I would say the LS6 area has to be the most popular area as it is close to University and the bars and shops of Headingley.
Is there any advice you would give to students so they can ensure theirhouse hunting is successful?
After the Christmas break it’s a very busy time for both students and landlords and those that want a decent property should get looking straight away, rather than putting it off for a later date. Chances are your dream house is out there and you don’t want to let it slip by!
Always look for reputable landlords, and ensure they are members of well-known Landlord groups like RLA, Unipol and LLAS.
If you are looking for a house which has three or more bedrooms then chances are it will need a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license – make sure the landlord has one for the house you’re viewing!
If there is a group of you looking then try to view the houses/flats together – as opposed to viewing it in separate groups, this not only saves time but allows you all to make a quick decision.
If you like the property you are viewing then the chances are someone else who views it will too, so get it before it’s gone!
Most of all, enjoy it! It can get tiring traipsing from house to house but it will be worth it in the end.
How can they avoid the pitfalls associated with house hunting?
Be organised – if you make an appointment with a landlord or agent try to arrive on time…Good landlords won’t just let to anyone and first impressions do count. If you are late then it might just say something about future rent payments (that’s a joke!).
Do your research before you go on viewings – make sure you know your ideal location. Do you want it to be close to University or is the distance to your nearest bar more important?
Make sure you have picked the right people to live with – sharing a house isn’t easy and requires teamwork. Once you have found your ideal house then setup a rota to decide who hoovers up and who does the dishes (it’s not ideal but someone has to do it!)
What should students take into account when viewing a house?
The most common questions that we get asked are: what are the energy bills like? Does it have broadband? How far is the train station? And so on…
My advice is to ask any of the previous tenants of the property any questions, as they have first hand experience of living in that house. Most of the time previous tenants are more than happy to answer questions.
07792 256 674 / 07803 902 510, www.abbeyhomez.co.uk
Providers of stylish en-suite student accomodation at a reasonable rate with a staggering number of benefits to students, it’s no surprise Carr Mills are a popular choice for students. We speak to Kirsty Landa about the secret of their success and her tips for house hunting.
Can you tell us a bit more about your apartment blocks?
We have four apartment blocks for student accommodation and within these we have cluster apartments comprising of four, five, six and seven bed apartments. All students have their own en-suite room and then share the kitchen/living room area. We make sure all the kitchen/living areas have a TV, leather sofas, two ovens and hobs, two fridge-freezers, the usual microwave, kettle, toaster and so on, and plenty of cupboard space for all their things. Also our kitchen/living areas are very large in 95% of the apartments, with just a couple with slightly smaller areas. There is of course also the internet which is provided by Ask4 and I can confirm they are a really good company.
What do students like about the apartments?
I think it is the independence of having their own space – their own en-suite – but also the social aspect of the living areas so that they can chat with the others in the apartment, as well as having enough space in the kitchen/living area to have guests round. Also I feel that Carr Mills is a really friendly accommodation and although we do insist that all students be kept within their own age groups – for example first years with other first years and post-grads with other post-grads – they also have the sense that they can chat around the complex with the other students, regardless of age and year group. I feel we are fairly family-feeling as an accommodation.
What kind of services do you offer there?
We have the TV and leather sofas and so on, on-site laundry open 24/7 (payable) the large kitchen/living area and, of course, all your bills included so you don’t need to worry. I think until you come to even visit Carr Mills you cannot actually appreciate in words the feel that we have, especially as a student accommodation.
What should students do to try and ensure their house hunt is successful?
Make sure no matter where you choose to live it is Unipol accredited – this just gives you a little extra support and also regulates the place you are living in. Also have your tenancy double checked and make sure that you take a full inventory – this covers your deposits, even down to the small matter of blue tack or cracks and marks on walls or floors etc. Just make sure you are not rushing into things as no matter how many times you are told that places are running out, that is not normally the truth so don’t rush into something just because you feel you have to make sure it is right for you.
How can they avoid the pitfalls associated with house hunting? What questions should students ask when viewing a property?
Make sure you understand about rental prices, if any discounts are given, whether all bills are included, if there is internet there and if so the speed and the provider, any rules about guests, how long the tenancy is for (why pay for something if you are not going to be there for say six weeks at the end of the contract), if there’s any room for leeway on that length, what security is in place, smoking regulations… To be honest the list is endless, but if you stick to these sorts of questions you are bound to have practically everything covered and of course if moving into a house make sure that you will not be liable for any of the other students rents if they fail to pay.
Buslingthorpe Lane, LS7 2DG, 0113 262 0662, www.carrmillsleeds.co.uk
Posted on Tuesday 3rd January 2012
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Comments on Feature: Student Property Uncovered
Comment by Lizzie BuxtonPosted on Mon 27th Feb 12 2:33 pm
I used to use Unipol when I was a student and it helped us out a lot. We made a lot of mistakes with our first house and suffered for it (no boiler, mold, break ins). Of course it made us really question whether we wanted to go it alone or move back into halls (which are expensive). Unipol was great and since then have only used landlords listed under them. I would say one thing to look out for (and this applies mostly to those who stay in Leeds over the summer) is to find a solution before hand to conflicting moving dates. It happens every year students are left out with all their stuff and nowhere to go until midday the next day when you can retrieve your keys. Last summer my housemates and I where in the same situation and wound up putting our belongings in a self storage facility. We searched for student storage uk and found some pretty cheap student deals. It is definitely something to think about. It is cheap and generally makes moving day that little bit less stressful.
Hope this helps some more Leeds students.