In a recent SUSU blog post by Vice-President Welfare Sam Bailey, myths surrounding the rush to rent houses are busted in this year’s “Don’t Rush to Rent” campaign.
According to last year’s “Vent About Your Rent” survey, 71.6% of students asked waited until at least January to sign for a house, dispelling the “everyone gets a house before January” myth.
Waiting allows more time to learn what to look for in a house, and coincides with housing events run by SUSU in January. It also allows more time to get to know the people students might be living with and to find alternatives such as SUSU Lettings.
The survey also found that the average rent charged per week by letting agents was £83.28, whereas private landlords charged an average of £75.82 for “cleaner and better maintained houses”.
The myth that all the good houses go first was also shown to be false – some letting agents allegedly release their housing stocks in stages to trick students into thinking there are not many houses left.
According to the findings, private landlords are more likely to wait to advertise their properties and rely on more simple advertising. The more difficult properties to rent, often the lower quality ones, are more likely to be advertised first.
35.2% of students rated the quality of their house ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ in the survey, and 68% of students said that their house had mould or pests during their tenancy. Most students look round three or more houses before choosing, and 38% of students surveyed said that the condition of the house was the most important factor when deciding.
Students do not need to be pressured into signing house contracts, as according to the blog Southampton has a surplus of student housing. Houses are available to let even after Easter, and students can apply to live in Halls of Residence for another year with groups of their friends.
The blog encourages students to get involved in the “Don’t Rush” campaign by providing their friends with information and advising them not to rush. It also advises students to be aware that flyers, spam emails and letting boards are not always what they seem.
If students see anyone flyering in halls they are encouraged to let their halls reception know as soon as possible. Additionally, if students see anyone advertising on campus they are encouraged to call University Security, the number can be found on the back of student ID cards.
Students are encouraged to seek information and advice from The Advice Centre’s housing advice and contract checking service.
Housing Officer Louise Bellamy told Wessex Scene,
It’s always interesting to see what students think of their housing, and their comments on lettings agents. The two big statistics that came out of it were that 1/3 students had mould or pests and 1/5 did not have their deposits protected. We have been working closely with the advice centre regarding this issues and have plenty planned for the rest of the year!
We aren’t doing top five best/worst agents this year as the results are so varied it’s nearly impossible to assess that.
To get involved with the “Don’t Rush Campaign” by contacting VP Welfare Sam Bailey by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or going to the Sabb Office in Building 42.
To view the SASSH (Southampton Accreditation Scheme for Student Housing) -accredited list of landlords and properties, click here.