Deciding on a location

Students like to live alongside students. There is even a specific term for it now, studentification. This is the phenomenon where an area becomes so dominated by privately rented student accommodation that the price of property escalates beyond the reach of the locals. Side effects include the conversion of local shops to fast food joints and a deficit in social capital (Neighbourhood Watch Schemes to you and me).

Now your first reaction may be “bring it on” at the thought of one giant student love-in but there are real problems to consider. Areas with a large student population are manna from heaven to burglars. Not only are students often less careful about tedious tasks such as locking doors and windows but they tend to hoard valuable electronic consumables in their bedrooms. Add to this the failing appearance of a rented house (think rubbish piling up in the front garden, washing hanging out of windows) and the thought of parties going on around you while you’re trying to revise and the love-in may lose some of its luster.

Consider other options. As well as the accommodation available through the university’s Accommodation Office register with some of the local letting agents and see a few properties in non-student areas. Transport links should be one of your main considerations, not just to university but for nights out and the week-end job.

You may also find that Landlords in non-student areas are more flexible when it comes to negotiating the length of your tenancy or the inclusion of a break clause

Before settling on any property, go back in the evening for a second look at the exterior. How safe does it feel? Is the area well lit, would you feel safe walking home at night?

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