Accommodation: Looking for Accommodation

  • Find flatmates whose lifestyles are compatible with yours.
  • Use trusted sources to search for a home.
  • The University has a list of trustworthy landlords.
  • Use a Check List when viewing a flat, to make sure you don’t forget to ask / look for something important.

Who to Live with

Choosing who you live with may sound simple, but you will be stuck with your housemates for some time. It could prove costly if you have to move out during the course of the tenancy.

  • Try to share a flat with people you know
  • Consider their lifestyles before you search for a home together
  • People who are fun to be with at social events are not always easy to live with
  • It’s all about lifestyle compatibility, not about how nice they are
  • If you are moving in with strangers, ask them about their lifestyles. It’s in their interest and yours to find compatible housemates.

Searching for a Home

  • The University’s Accommodation Office runs a registered landlords scheme where landlords must provide evidence to show that their property complies with the standards required by local authorities.
  • South Wales Student Pad lists properties that have been registered with the University, around all our campuses.
  • Glamorgan Student Letting is the Students’ Union’s Letting Agency. Cardiff Student Letting is run by Cardiff University’s Students’ Union.
  • Unilife Marketplace – if you want to join an existing house share, you can often find listings on Unilife Marketplace. You can also publish your own advert to tell people if you are looking for a place (or a replacement flatmate).
  • Agencies – Some lettings agencies charge you a registration fee or other charges later in your tenancy. It is very important you check with the agency what its fees are before signing any contracts. Top Tip: ask other students which agency they used, and what their experiences were like. Some lettings agencies don’t offer great service once tenants have moved in!

Once you have found promising listings, it’s time to visit the properties.

Viewing a property

Contact the people advertising the property and ask for a viewing. Try and arrange a time that all potential house mates are able to attend. While you are viewing the property, keep in mind:

Personal Safety:

  • Always take someone with you. If that’s not possible, tell someone where you are going and when you’ll be back.
  • Try and imagine what the area will be like at night. Is it well lit and will there be many people around?
  • Do not give out unnecessary personal details when arranging to view a property.
  • Try to arrange the viewing during daylight.
  • Trust your instincts. If you have a funny feeling about something, leave straight away

Property Check List

Download a Property Check-list and take it with you when viewing a property.

Outside the Property

  • Is it in a good state of repair on the outside?
  • Does it have a burglar alarm?
  • Is the guttering intact?
  • Are there any missing slates on the roof?
  • How about the windows – do they look sound?
  • Do the doors look secure with good locks?
  • Is there a garden? Who is responsible for maintaining it?
  • Is the property licensed? There is a duty on local authorities in Wales to license houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The local authority is responsible for checking standards in private rented accommodation.

Inside the Property

  • Are there any disrepair issues e.g. damp, mould, leaks, exposed wires etc?
  • Is the property in good decorative order?
  • Is it centrally heated?
  • Are there adequate heaters?
  • Are smoke detectors fitted and working?
  • Are there any other fire safety devices?
  • Does the furniture comply with fire safety regulations? Check to see if it has a label.
  • Is the property licensed? Any 2 or 3 storey property that is occupied by 4 or more persons must be licensed with the local authority. Have you seen the licence?
  • Do the gas/electric fires work?
  • Is the Landlord registered and accredited?

If you and your fellow house mates are happy with the property it might be time to move to the next step and discuss Contracts.