1. Start Looking at Student Houses Early
This is one of the biggest points on this list. Easily put, all houses are up for rent in December/January prior to May 1/Sep 1 of the upcoming rental year. There are a limited number of nice houses, and the groups that look at student housing before others are going to find the best quality properties and the best landlords. It’s as simple as that.
2. Have Your Deposits Ready
Many students look at several houses in the same day, and find one they really like, but a few of their friends don’t have the last months rent to pay for the deposit. When showing a house to a group of prospective tenants, all of the tenants who want to take on the house need to have the full amount of the deposit. For example, if you are 5 people paying $500/bedroom in a house, the rental agent needs $2500 from the entire group to sign you up. If you wait a couple days to organize your friends and the deposits, the rental agent may have found a more prepared group to rent the house.
3. Understand Who You Are Looking At Houses With
A lot of the time student rental groups acquire about properties, and say “we want to see 5 bedroom and 6 bedroom houses at Western or Fanshawe.” This is a little bit frustrating because I know the group is not very serious in renting and instead kicking tires on a lot of houses. The best advice here is to narrow down who you are living with and going to look at houses with the intent on signing on to a house that fits your needs.
4. Negotiate The Price of Rent And Other Amenities
The price of rent is never set in stone. If you look at a house and think the price of rent is a little too high, look at similar houses for rent on the same street or area and find out if the price is actually a too high, or if it is a fair rental price. If it is very early in the rental season, and you have done some research and are confident you can negotiate the price of rent per month (or other things like access to a garage or internet access) you will not lose anything by simply asking the Landlord or rental agent.
5. Ask If Utilities Are Included
Students are usually looking for at least all of the utilities included. At Western University and Fanshawe College, utilities all inclusive usually means water, electricity, and hot water rental. The owner is also on the hook for the mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. Utilities usually do not include cable and internet, which are two amenities that almost all students need. Students need to figure out is they can have the owner include cable/internet, or figure out how much it would cost per person, per month to have pay for these amenities out of pocket each month.
6. Ask Information About The Landlord
If the Landlord is not showing you the house that’s available for rent, it’s always a good idea to ask questions about them. Questions concerning such things as how many rental properties the person owns, does the owner live in the same city as the rental property, and what are their plans (if any) for the rental property in question for the next year. These are all good questions to ask to feel out the Landlord and understand the relationship that you may have with this individual.
7. Look At Several Houses
Prospective tenants need to look at several houses and find the right fit for themselves and their group. Usually a group of tenants will search online for houses, find 5-10 that may be the right fit and go and check them all out in a 1 or 2 day span and settle on a house. It is not wise to only check out 1 or 2 houses, and settles on one, with half the group seeing the house and being expected to put a deposit down. Looking at several houses allows prospective tenants to understand what is available, how much a house is worth, and finding the best fit for yourself and your group.
If you have any questions or want to check out properties that are for rent around Western University or Fanshawe College, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.