As university students enter their second semester, many begin thinking about where they will live during next year’s study. As time spent at university is often the first time that a young adult lives independently away from home, the process of looking for accommodation for their second and third year can be a little difficult as they are unsure on what makes a house a secure and suitable place to live.
When viewing properties to live in, students may be primarily concerned with room size, location and cost, but there are also some other equally important factors that they need to concern themselves with to guarantee that they will be living in a safe and secure property.
Is There a Working Burglar Alarm?
As criminals often target known student houses and accommodation due to the belief that there will be high value items in the properties and that the premises are easier to forcibly enter, those looking for accommodation should check that the properties viewed are fitted with working burglar alarms.
When viewing a property, ask the letting agent or landlord to show where the intruder alarm is situated, and if the premises does not have one check with the landlord as to whether there are any plans to have an intruder alarm system installed. As a quality intruder alarm will protect individuals, their belongings and damage to the premises, it is in a landlord’s interest as much as the tenants to have a residential system, like the Enforcer, installed.
Do the Windows and Doors Close and Lock?
It may be expected that the windows and doors of a property easily close and lock, but with rented accommodation, especially those defined as student lets, windows and doors are often poorly maintained and much easier to forcibly enter from the outside. Windows that are unable to be locked from the inside, or fail to fully close, can much more easily be opened by those wishing to illegally enter the premises, and therefore are a serious security risk in rental accommodation.
Are there Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
Landlords have a legal requirement to fit their homes with working smoke detectors, with a minimum of one detector per floor. These alarms must be regularly tested and maintained to comply with the legal requirements. When viewing a property, students should ask current tenants, the landlord, or the letting agent to point out where the smoke alarms are situated and may even want to ask how they are operated.
Although not legally required in all properties, houses and flats with rooms with fixed fuel-burning appliances do by law have to have a carbon monoxide detector fitted. These detectors must be placed within close proximity to the appliance so should be easily found when viewing a property.
Students who don’t know what to expect from rental accommodation should be aware that landlords and property managers have a responsibility to ensure that their premises are fit for occupation and legally have a duty of care to make sure that the property is safe to inhabit and maintained to a certain standard.