The location, condition and cost of the property are the obvious things which will influence your thinking. Being further from campus may save you money on rent but this has to be balanced against higher travel costs and the time involved in commuting.

There are other factors which can increase your costs or reduce your comfort. For example, an older draughty property may be colder and harder (and therefore more expensive) to heat in winter. Perhaps the water pressure is low? That’s a potential problem if you like a good shower in the morning. Some signs are more serious. Black marks around the doors and windows may suggest that a property suffers from damp, and any mould spores can create health risks.

Don’t be afraid to ask the landlord or agent direct questions about the condition of the property or any repairs that need to be carried out.  If you get the chance, ask the previous tenants about the energy bills – and even what the landlord is like to deal with.

If you don’t know the area well, you can compare local crime statistics on the  Metropolitan Police website and get recommendations on personal safety.

Check everything!

  1. Take pictures and list everything when you move in.
  2. Think about how you’ll carry out your daily routine if living in this property (shower, heating, communal spaces, desks).
  3. Try and speak to the current, outgoing residents about their experiences.

Take time to have a good look

  1. Know what to look for and what questions to ask.
  2. Put any requests in writing.
  3. Speak to previous residents if possible.