Things you might not have considered when moving into a new student house
Moving out of the comfort of your student halls of residence, or from your family home, and into rented accommodation for the first time can be an exciting experience. You may have planned it all to the last detail, but there are certain unexpected issues which can crop up from time to time.
Check appliances and electricals
Most student renters might not think to check the wires because they are out of sight, and behind walls, and you won’t usually have the chance to do it yourself—you want your deposit back, don’t you? When you and your friends have settled on a new place, make sure you talk to your landlord about when the last time the wiring was checked, and for a copy of the certificate or report confirming that the electrics meet the UK national standard.
Household appliances can be one major cause of accidental electrical fires in UK homes, with faulty electrics being responsible for roughly 6000 fires annually, so be conscious of how old your fridge or microwave are when you’re viewing. All sockets in the house should also be double checked for faults. If you see burn marks, or the sockets feel hot, get your landlord to call a registered electrician straight away. In their guide to hidden hazards in the home, home safety experts Security 201 also highlight the importance of not overloading sockets or plugging one adapter into another, two other extremely common fire risks.
Beware of damp
Regulations for rented housing are improving, but many student houses are still plagued with damp and mould. The musty smell and creeping patches on your walls may not be noticeable at first, so be vigilant, as damp and mould in any room of the house could potentially lead to long-term respiratory problems.
You can take steps to reduce damp in your student house by checking all walls and ceilings, and around windows. Check behind wardrobes and draws, as landlords often use furniture to try and hide any damp which already exists; you should also look out for flaking wallpaper or paint.
If possible, ask your landlord to install or check on extractor fans for your kitchen and bathroom to help prevent the buildup of condensation, or a dehumidifier for any affected bedroom. Opening windows for ventilation can also help reduce the problem.
Make sure your house (and your room) is safe
Security is something all students should take seriously, and it is extremely important that you check all the security systems in your house are working. Crime rates in student cities and towns is a serious problem, as there is risk is of robbery and other crime, when students are drinking and forget to secure their rooms or the house. Before you go for a night out, make sure all the windows and doors are locked.
But a good security system isn’t the only type of alarm you need to make sure your landlord has installed. Every student house should have one smoke alarm on each floor, which you should test on a regular basis. If your house doesn’t have one, you are within your legal rights to ask your landlord to install one.
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