Why third years get the best houses

What are the best houses?

The best houses tend to be those covered by the Unipol Codes. They:

  • have affordable, value for money rents
  • have the amenities that you are looking for
  • have landlords that communicate well with the tenants
  • have good inter-tenant relationships
  • are in the location that you want.

How do third year students get access to the best houses

Every year there are some properties that never hit the market. These are houses passed from one group to another through word of mouth. Often second years already in the private rented sector will know other students in a house they particularly like and will sign for this house before house hunting starts.

There is nothing you can do about this and you may turn out to be a beneficiary of it in the future!

It is unfortunate that some third year students learn from poor decision making in their first year and ended up regretting their choice during their second year. However they quickly learn what a bad house is and why it is important to sign up to a Code property.

When we asked them what helped them find a good house they said:

  • When house hunting in your second year don't rush and view a good number of houses before making a decision.
  • Choosing who you live with is so important - are you compatible? Happy to live in a party house? If you need a clean environment now's the time to speak up. 
  • Great property? Then stay where you are!

Unipol says: Of our current tenants over 30% will choose to stay in their current property for another year or move within our portfolio. This avoids the unnecessary disruption that moving home often entails.

Many Unipol Code landlords retain their tenants for consecutive years and often find their name as good landlords is passed from one year’s students to the next. Always ask your friends for recommendations and check the landlord is accredited under the Code.

  • Use Rate Your Landlord to find out what landlords are like -  reviews by students for students (Leeds students only)

buck the trend - you can do it!

  • Work out who you want to live with. Think about this carefully, as you will be living together for a whole year. If there are things that are irritating you now, a year can be a long time.
  • Explore those areas of the city where you think you might want to live. Have a walk around different areas at different times of day and make sure you like the atmosphere and feel safe.

Areas Guide

  • Work out how much you can afford. Don’t forget gas, electricity and digital entertainment costs etc  - this is a common mistake that many students make. Make sure that everyone in the group agrees the budget and sticks to it. 
  • Discuss what you want in the property. Most properties will not tick every box, but your group could usefully draw up a list split into essentials and desirables. 

a quick Q and A session

We asked a few students what they would do differently when looking for a house for their third or final year.  Here's what they said: 

HarryOliviaOrlaHarry Jamson, 2nd year Pharmacology Student: I'd talk more to my housemates about what they wanted in the house. 

Olivia Trenaman, 4th year English Student: I'd look at more properties and not panic.
Orla Walsh, 2nd Year Economics and Politics student: I'd look at more properties and definitely wait for later in the year when i knew people better.

  • Look into the legal aspects of renting – knowing your responsibilities often helps to make your stay in a property stress-free. Your Students' Union is there to help you and will offer a free contract checking service, so that you can be confident the contract you sign is fair. If you are paying a deposit your landlord will need to protect this in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. See:Tenancy Deposit Protection 
  • Take your time. Contrary to opinion there are plenty of good houses left well in to the house hunting season. There is a surplus of student accommodation, which means that you are well positioned to get the right property for you at the right price. TIP: If you leave your house hunting to later in the season you can often negotiate more easily with landlords.
  • Don’t feel pressured. The Unipol Code landlords have agreed as part of the Code to give you 24 hours to seek independent legal advice on a contract before you sign anything. 
  • Don’t believe the myths. Many non-Unipol landlords would have you believe that everyone needs to pay sign up fees - this is simply not true. Plenty of landlords who advertise with Unipol do not charge a sign-up fee. 

So although third year students often have good houses, this does not mean they have a monopoly on them and that you have to compromise. You too could have one of the best houses, if you use the tips above; get to understand the market and don’t rush.

Start Your Search

Good Luck!

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