select
|

Checklist for choosing student accommodation

With matric exams now under way, the next major step for many learners will be leaving home to attend college or university – and finding somewhere to live while they complete their studies.
 
“And for the majority, this will probably not be a room on campus in an official residence, as SA tertiary institutions are woefully short of accommodation, says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.
 
Indeed, the latest available statistics from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHT) show that there is only enough on-campus accommodation for one out of every five tertiary students, he says, and in spite of sizeable private sector investment in off-campus student accommodation in the past few years, the actual backlog of student beds at universities around the country is estimated at well over 500 000.
 
“In practical terms, this means that tens of thousands of students are forced to look beyond purpose-built students units every year, and rent flats or rooms from private landlords. And unfortunately,there are no set standards yet for this type of accommodation as regards safety, facilities, noise or good management, so students and parents need to have their own checklist of things to consider when making their choice.”
 
The items on this list, Schaefer says, should include:

*Distance from campus and access to reliable public transport. Students often try to stretch their budgets by renting accommodation further from campus, but unless they have access to a regular shuttle service like the “Jammie” buses in Cape Town, or quick and cheap access to campus via public transport like the Gautrain or the new Bus Rapid Transport services, they can easily end up spending more on transport than they are saving on rent – and spending too much time commuting instead of studying.
 
*Security. In an unfamiliar town or city it is especially important for students to check that the area they are considering is safe, clean and relatively quiet so that they will be able to sleep and study comfortably. Shops and entertainment venues should be close but not too close, and the house or block of flats they are looking at should also have good security measures and procedures in place to ensure their personal safety and protect their possessions. Many students return home late at night which makes this even more important.
 
*Building management. There is no doubt that student accommodation works best in blocks of flats or houses that have been built or specifically converted to meet student needs - and where there is strong property management enhanced by the presence of an experienced on-site caretaker or “house mother” to constantly address maintenance, safety and counselling issues. Good landlords who target student tenants will also be familiar with 10-month leases and schedule major building maintenance for the “empty” months of December and January. Many will also provide low-cost/ free storage for students’ belongings during these months.

*Single or shared rooms? Some students like sharing dormitory-style rooms and bathrooms with their fellow students, others like sharing a flat or a house in which they have their own room, and yet others prefer to have a space that is entirely their own, even if it’s tiny. Their choice may also be influenced by cost, with shared accommodation generally being cheaper – and providing company. But whatever they choose, they should make sure that there is a quiet place in their house or block where they can go to study.
 
*What furniture is provided?  Ideally, student rooms should be semi-furnished, with beds, desks, built-in cupboards and lockers for valuables all provided, and students only having to bring their own linen, kitchen utensils and perhaps a small fridge. In a shared house or apartment, the study area, dining area and lounge should also be furnished, and there should be a working stove and fridge in the kitchen. On-site laundry facilities are also most useful and a fast Internet connection is essential these days, preferably Wi-Fi.
 
*Boarding or self-catering? Students are notoriously bad at feeding themselves because they find meal preparation too time-consuming or because they just forget to budget for food, and many studies have linked poor academic performance to poor nutrition. So many parents prefer communes and student apartment blocks where the rent includes at least one good meal a day prepared by trained staff. But even if they choose this semi-boarding option instead of self-catering, students should always check the state of the kitchen and the equipment provided before deciding to rent.
 


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 22 Nov 2017
      Most people know of the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) and that levies must to paid to fund its operations. In this article the experts at Paddocks will address some of the issues that are causing confusion.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      While sales have noticeably slowed in most sectors in most Cape town suburbs, the security estate sector in Constantiaberg has bucked the trend by remaining buoyant, with sales by August this year already surpassing total sales in 2016.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      The end of the year is fast approaching, and so are all the travellers, tourists and holidaymakers. For those who live near or own a property in a holiday-hotspot, the festive season also brings with it an abundance of short-term rental opportunities. Its a great way for property owners to make a few extra rand for their own holidays or to put towards their savings.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      The buying process is over, and the moving truck has delivered your household goods to your new property. Now it’s time to unpack and turn your new house into a home.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      When an offer to purchase a property is signed by both buyer and seller, this constitutes a binding agreement or “Deed of Sale” between the two parties. However, in most cases the “standard contract” might not be enough to cover all the specifics pertaining to the sale. The agreement may require some additions or alterations to clauses, which needs an expert hand in the drafting of such
    • 21 Nov 2017
      As more and more South Africans look to invest in property abroad, Spain is offering them one of the best deals in global real estate.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK