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Things to look for when renting a student flat

16th May 2023

Moving into a student flat and no-longer living on campus is an exciting step. Like with anything in life, you must take certain precautions when renting a student flat and doing so could save you a lot of money and …

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Images of young men relaxing in a student flat.

Moving into a student flat and no-longer living on campus is an exciting step. Like with anything in life, you must take certain precautions when renting a student flat and doing so could save you a lot of money and hassle.

In 2021–22, 2,182,560 students studied at UK higher education providers, and all these students need somewhere to live. In this blog, we at Now Storage evaluate things to look for when renting a student flat.

Is it in a favourable location?

The saying ‘location, location, location’ should be at the forefront of your mind when renting a student flat. Are you near important local amenities such as a doctor’s surgery, hospital, shops, gyms etc? How easy will your journey be to university?

If you are keen on sports and involved in university sports teams. How long will it take to get to training from your flat? If a flat is located far away from where lectures are held and has poor public transport links, you may want to give it a miss since this could be a real pain.

Even if it costs you a tiny bit more in rent per month for a student flat in a more convenient and desirable location, you may find the price hike proves to be worthwhile. In addition, some student flats will be in neighbourhoods with much lower crime rates, and this may be something to consider.

Image of a student using public transport.

Do your friends live nearby?  

In life, friends are important special bonds, and the friends you make at university can last a lifetime! So, it could be sensible to bear in mind whether your friends live nearby when renting a student flat. If your friends live locally to you, meeting up with them and spending precious time together will be that bit easier.

Image of a happy student group of friends.

Are the rental costs fair? 

Undoubtedly, how much the rent costs will be one of the determining factors in your decision on which student flat to rent. It is best to break down rental fees into per-month fees. You need to consider the whole package when considering whether the price of renting a student flat is reasonable or not. 

Weigh up things like whether household energy bills are included in the rent (especially crucial in the cost of living crisis), and if the house comes furnished with useful items you will use daily like beds, sofas, dishwashers, washing machines and so on. Assessing the overall package from the landlord or letting agent will give you a better idea of whether renting a particular flat is fair money-wise.

What are the conditions of the tenancy agreement?

Most student rental tenancy agreements are ASTs (Assured Shorthold Tenancies) and fixed-term with a start and end date that stipulate when the rent must be paid by tenants each month. Protect yourself by keeping a beady eye out for all of the small print in the conditions of your tenancy agreement. You don’t want to commit to signing up for tenancy rrangements that are unreasonable or won’t suit you. 

You may want your parents to have a look over the conditions of your tenancy agreement before you sign up. If you know anyone experienced in working in property law, even better!

Decide whether to use a letting agency or have a direct arrangement with a landlord

Another big decision will be whether to work with a landlord directly or use a letting agency. The benefit of going with a letting agency is that they will have contacts with tradespeople who can carry out property maintenance swiftly. Another advantage of using a letting agent is that they act as a go-between between you and the landlord, therefore, you won’t have the awkwardness of having to communicate back and forth with the landlord and having them wanting to visit your flat all the time. 

On the other hand, a direct arrangement with a private landlord can also work a treat, especially if they are attentive to your needs and easy to get on with. Think about what will work best for you and your flatmates. 

The state of repair of the building

When you first have a tour to look around a flat, be observant and take a good look at the quality of the building, moving into a flat with structural issues is unsafe and it will cause you constant maintenance and repairs headaches. Does the roof or the bricks of the flat look unstable? In that case, try finding a student flat in a higher-quality building that is not falling apart. 

Is the flat well maintained?

Seeing evidence of a flat being well maintained by a landlord or letting agency is definitely a positive indication. Just remember, the day-to-day more basic maintenance of the flat in terms of keeping a lid on the household mess, and preventing mould from developing by opening windows will be up to you as the in situ tenants, whereas the major structural repairs and general wear and tear related maintenance of the place will be the landlord’s to sort out. 

Is there damp for instance? Damp and mould can really harm your health and cause respiratory issues, it can also make your home stink something rotten. Hereby, before taking on a flat, you need to gauge whether there is proof of excess damp and mould that the landlord needs to take care of asap.

Does the plumbing work? 

Being able to wash your dishes and take showers to clean yourself is a basic need when you move into a flat. Therefore, plumbing issues in a student flat can be a real annoyance. Try making sure the plumbing works properly before committing to moving into a student flat.

Image of plumbing work.

 Is the flat well secured? 

You will no doubt want to live in a safe and secure environment in your student flat, and part of this is making sure that the house has alarms for when no one’s in and that all external doors (including the front door) and windows are adequately secured. 

Not all student areas are lovely, so if you know that certain types of crime such as theft and burglary are particularly high around where your student flat is located, then you also ought to take it upon yourself to take the necessary precautions, and of course, check doors and windows are locked.

Is the place big enough? 

You may be looking to live with quite a few flatmates under one roof. It is not unheard of for student flats to be made up of tenants of 6 or more students. If this applies to you, then you need to think about whether the place will be large enough to accommodate you all. How large is the kitchen space? Is there sufficient space in the bedrooms or do you think they are just a bit too pokey?  

Are your future flatmates a sociable bunch? Then you may also want to have spacious communal spaces such as a lounge area. So, try looking to get a flat with a big lounge space you can all chill out in.


Owning a car and driving when you are still a student can have many advantages and will help you to bring big supermarket shops home without a problem. Being eligible to have a residential parking space with your student flat can therefore be a great bonus. Try putting questions about parking to the landlord or letting agent. 

Outdoor space

Having an outdoor space at your flat is a blessing since not all student digs have one. After all, it is nice to have some fresh air and a pleasant outdoor area to chill out in now and then. See if you can find a student flat with ample outdoor space.

Storage options

You don’t want endless clutter and a floordrobe to start taking ahold in your student home. To prevent such situations from developing, try looking out for flats that come with suitable home storage options. Sensible storage solutions may include having things like built-in wardrobes, hooks, pigeon holes, draw dividers, under-bed storage, and so on for you to use.

Hire a self storage unit as an alternative

Sometimes, you can have too many possessions in a student flat, and storing everything can get difficult. Perhaps you take part in a sport with hefty equipment which takes up a lot of space or you simply have tons of study books. Does this sound like you? Hire a self storage unit with a respected provider that cares about customer service and prioritises security like Now Storage to overcome your student storage conundrums. We operate self storage facilities at 15 locations across England and Wales, including places with large student populations, such as Reading and Cardiff.

Get a quote to learn about the competitive rates we offer to hire our self storage units. You can get in touch with us today to discuss student storage by telephoning 0808 506 8569, sending us a message on our online form, or reaching out to our website’s live chat.


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