What to look out for when choosing your next house

Thursday 08-02-2018 - 13:32

Blog by Paola, University of York student

I first got involved in the Student Switch Off campaign during my first year at  the University of York. I thought it would be a great way of campaigning for the planet, and gaining more confidence in talking to others. So, I became a SSO ambassador, doing visits of my halls and encouraging others to take part in the campaign and to be more mindful of the amount of energy that can easily be saved through small changes. Before moving into private rented accommodation in my second year, I didn’t really have any clue how much our bills would be, and we decided to use Glide, who gave us an estimated price based on the property, and then repay you for any under usage at the end of the year. I did however expect the house to be really cold, having been blessed with a fairly modern, and rather overheated, halls of residence. I was also worried about damp and mould, after hearing the routine horror stories about typical student houses. The house we ended up in is in pretty good condition, compared to some of my friends. There is of course the inevitable damp, and the hallway is very draughty, but overall, we’ve been quite lucky, and have a really good agency who keep on top of any maintenance issues.

There are several things that can affect the amount of energy you use, and the size of bills. Here are some of my tips of what to look out for when looking for a private rented student house:

  • Any signs of damp and mould – look out for the tell-tale stains and bubbling wallpaper.
  • Damp or musty smells – or strong air fresheners that could be masking problems.
  • Take into account the energy performance certificate of the property, they’re scored form A (best) to G (worst) and the better the rating, the more energy efficient the property is, so a lower rating can mean a colder house and higher heating bills. (Old properties tend to be badly insulated.)
  • The state of the windows, if they’re double glazed or not – a lot of the double glazing in our house is blown which means the widows leak more heat.

Overall, I’m very happy with the house we’ve found to call home, however next year we’ve decided to do our own bills, as they will work out cheaper than using Glide. In my next blog I’ll be looking at doing the bills ourselves, researching the different suppliers, how to get good deals, and strategies I’ve come up with for saving energy and money whilst living in a student house.

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