Spring Clean!

April signals the beginning of spring and is the perfect time of year for both landlords and tenants to check the general condition of their property. Here’s how to ensure everything is in tip-top shape and ready for summer.

Spring cleaning tips for landlords

If the property or any outbuilding is timber clad, have a look at the exterior woodwork and take the opportunity to get any damaged areas repaired, then treated or repainted.

As the weather gets warmer, there is a greater risk of infestations. To prevent pests coming into a property, it is advisable to check the roof for any slipped tiles, rips or tears. Also make sure there isn’t any crumbling brickwork or holes in the exterior walls, in particular check airbricks and ventilation covers along with historic gaps/holes from old plumbing systems.

The boiler and heating system may have been working overtime during the colder months, so to help mitigate future issues consider undertaking a timely service of the system.

If the property has the benefit of air-conditioning, get the units checked now so they are fully operational when the temperatures rise.

Gutters and downpipes should be cleared of leaves and debris, and check that drains and soak-aways are clear and free-running. If not, check your agreement with your tenant as it is likely that they will share some responsibility for having them cleared.

If you have opted for a management service, your agent is likely to undertake these checks on your behalf. Check with your agent.

Spring cleaning tips for tenants

Unless gardening services are included in your rent, now’s the time to start thinking about maintenance. Particularly, clear the lawns and borders of obvious weeds before they take hold. If you have patio or garden furniture, it is likely to need cleaning and, if made of wood, re-oiled to make it look smart in time for outdoor entertaining.

If you have an outdoor pool, now is the time to open it up, top it, clear any debris and make sure the chemicals are level, so it is in full working order by the summer.

As a tenant, you should always keep an eye on the property and report maintenance issues to your landlord or agent in a timely manner. If in the course of your spring clean you happen to notice anything untoward, make sure you report it in writing so that action can be taken.

How to Choose Accommodation for you Second Year of University

Securing the right accommodation can have a major impact on your university experience though, so be prepared and start your search early.

Find out how to get organised, where to look and what to keep in mind with our handy guide.

Know your options

After first year, when the majority of students live in university-owned halls, there are various different options available to you. From rented, shared accommodation in private housing to living in the increasingly popular private halls, it is important to consider what will work best for you.

If you’re looking for a bit more independence, renting a property with a group of friends could be the best option. However, beware of a few potential pitfalls. It is essential to rent from a reputable estate agent. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for students to face complications with landlords when it comes to paying the bills and fixing repairs. Make sure you ask your university or students’ union for a list of recommendations if you’re unsure.

If you don’t feel comfortable signing contracts for shared accommodation or keeping on top of your bills, private halls are the ideal solution. The great thing about living in halls is that all the paperwork is handled for you, meaning you can cut out on any potential problems from landlords or letting agencies.

Work out your budget

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, certain options may not be practical. If money is tight, living by yourself is obviously not the most sensible option. Don’t forget all the hidden costs from bills, including internet, TV licence and every student’s nightmare: the central heating.

Teaming up with friends for a shared rental allows you to split the bills and potentially save some money. You need to keep in mind the initial admin costs though which really can add up, as well as any damages that may incur a hefty bill from your landlord.

Some areas of the country are notorious for poor student rental experiences, so if that’s something you are worrying about, private halls might be the perfect match. Dispelling the myth that private halls are super pricey, there are plenty of affordable options in many major cities across the country. These student housing companies often take care of your bills for you, also providing a nice little internet package included in the price of your rent.

Pick the people

Avoid those petty arguments about whose dirty dishes have been on the side for the past week by carefully picking the people you want to live with. There’s no denying that student properties can get a little bit on the messy side, so try to avoid this by ensuring that the people you want to live with will all abide by house rules.

Choosing your friends early on can be scary though. Often the start of the new calendar year is when students secure their accommodation for second year, and if you’re still not feeling settled or haven’t built a strong friendship circle yet, this can be daunting.

Private halls have a fun community vibe which can offer a great way to meet new people and make some amazing friends. This is also a bonus if you’ve been living at home for your first year and are looking to move closer to the university for their second year.

Check the location

You may have found the ideal house share or flat but if it’s miles away from campus it will make that morning commute to lectures a bit harder. Whether you’re at university in one of the UK’s major cities or somewhere slightly smaller you’ll need to know your way around.

For those with a fear of missing out who like to be in the middle of things, private rentals are normally situated close by the university. If you’re looking to save on costs, living a bit outside the centre may help but you’ll need to make sure there are strong transport links to get you in on time.

It’s also worth thinking about the positioning of the property. If you’re a light sleeper or you’re easily distracted, you might not want to live somewhere that’s on a busy and noisy main road or close to train tracks.

Check out the local area too. You’ll regret not having a supermarket just down the road when you run out of milk or bread in the morning.

5 Decorating Tips for Renters!

Here are our top five ways to make your rental property feel more like home, where the only limitations are your imagination!

1. Removable wallpaper

Who knew removable wallpaper was a thing!

Easy to apply, remove, reposition, and reuse without leaving damage or residue, contact paper is a top tool for any renter wanting to jazz up their home. Available in a never-ending selection of colours, styles and patterns. Either use it to cover entire walls, or get creative and use it to add simple accents.

If you’re fed up of your housemates conveniently forgetting whose turn it is to do the washing up this week, chalkboard versions are also available!

2. Washi tape

This little Japanese gem is a must-have tool for every creative renter out there.

Super cheap and available in all the colours of the rainbow, it’s easy to remove and re-apply without leaving adhesive residue or destroying the surface it has been applied to.

3. Wall Stickers/Decals

Add movement with a tree, or show off your playful side with a wall decal. Unlike some of the other rental-friendly decorating ideas out there, these are a great option if creativity isn’t your strong point as all you need to do is figure out where you want to position your sticker.

4. Fabric

If you’re fond of texture, you could also try using fabric as an alternative wall covering that will also be super hard wearing. There are endless step-by-step tutorials out there explaining how you can create this look yourself, otherwise you can also purchase pre-adhesed version as well.

5. Command hooks

Last but by no means least, Command hooks are an item every renter should have at hand.

Easy to put up and take down, use these nifty hooks to hang your towels, bathrobes, coats and bags without the need for nails or screws. Genius!