Flat Hunting

When to look for a flat:

  • Some landlords may ask you to decide to sign on for the following year or start advertising early. However, tenants have between 28-90 days from the end of the fixed term to confirm their intentions for the following tenancy. Check your contract.
  • There are a lot of flats out there, so don’t sign up to the first dark hovel you view. You have time to shop around. Try not to get sucked into feeling the pressure in April – starting to flat hunt around August will be just fine. Shop around and find a flat that meets your needs.
  • You might still want to sign up early – you’re an adult and can make your own decisions – just keep in mind the people you are signing with. While living with your homies from first year might seem like a great idea now, relationships can change. Changing a flatmate after they sign on is difficult. You might learn that Dave can’t budget and never has his share of the rent, and then what are you going to do? Classic Dave move, though. You should have known.

Key Quality Indicators:

  • Is it warm? If not, then why not?
  • Are the windows double glazed?
  • Is it dry?
  • Is there any mould anywhere?
  • What’s the water pressure like?
  • Is it noisy?
  • Are the rooms all the same layout/size? Would you stagger the rent because of this?
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Is there nearby parking if you’ve got a car?
  • Does it come furnished (even partially)?
  • Any leaks?
  • Have you checked out your potential property manager/landlord? 

Does it meet the Healthy Homes Standards?

  1. Does it have a fixed heating source in the main living room?
  2. Is the insulation sufficient? (the landlord must supply this in the tenancy agreement and the R value should equal or be greater than: ceiling R 3.3 & under floor R 1.3)
  3. Do you have sufficient ventilation? (There must be openable windows in the living, dining, kitchen and bedrooms. Also, the kitchen and bathrooms must have an extractor fan).
  4. Is there adequate storm water drainage and a moisture barrier under the floor to prevent moisture coming into the property?
  5. Are there no unreasonable gaps/holes in walls, ceilings, windows, skylights, floors or doors which could cause draughts? If the fireplace isn’t usable is it closed off?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions come and see OUSA Student Support to get this sorted.