As a pioneer in student housing, we want to share our knowledge and experience. That's why we organised a webinar in which we revealed 10 essential tips & tricks to help you in your search for student digs!
Think about the location and your budget: would you rather live near the nightlife or close to the campus instead? Who will pay for your housing? What's the maximum price you would be willing to pay?
- Do online research by visiting general online search platforms such as www.student-rooms.com or joint search platforms such as www.kotatgent.be.
- Contact your educational institution for more information.
- Talk to friends or acquaintances who have already found digs.
Head out into your student city, making several appointments in advance. Take your time to explore both the room and the building. Make a list of questions at home so you are well prepared. If possible, be sure to chat with one of the current tenants too. And sometimes landlords offer virtual tours, so take a look online!
It is important to find out who owns and manages your favourite room. Is it someone who runs the room(s) privately or professionally? What service does the person or company offer? How quickly can the manager take action if something goes wrong? The fun factor can be important too: are activities organised in the building? Is there a community? How many people live in the building?
Do your digs comply with the Flemish student rooms decree? This decree is an important regulation that specifies the minimum size of a room, the availability of natural light and the presence of the correct facilities.
There are also very important rules relating to the fire safety of student housing. For example, technical installations must be inspected and at least one alternative escape route must be provided. Make sure you get enough information about this.
Check out your first choice to see if the rental price is in line with the market: is the price all-in or are there any additional costs? These might include running costs, internet, waste disposal and the inventory.
What do you get in return? Is the room already painted and furnished or do you have to do this yourself? Which shared facilities are on offer? What is the service like? Is it an old building or a new one? All these things need to be taken into account when comparing different rental prices!
Read the rental contract carefully (including the small print)! Since 1 January 2019, there has been new rental legislation which states that rental prices must be all-in with the exception of variable costs such as water, energy and telecommunications. The termination options have also become more flexible than before. The security deposit for new contracts after January 2019 is two months instead of three and must be paid into an account. So never pay the deposit in cash!
Read the house regulations and actively monitor the inventory check. This will save both you and your landlord a lot of headaches. Also check what the repair costs would be if something is damaged.
Hold your horses when it comes to the move! Students often arrive in their new student room with far too many things, only to discover that there's not enough space for all their furniture and other items. So just take the essentials with you at first, measure your room properly and only look for a chair and other items when you're actually living there.
Think about your mobility, too. Get a bike or rent one. Most student cities offer this service. In addition, you can often buy public transport passes at a discount rate through your educational institution.