Finding student accommodation wouldn’t be such a trial if the stress and worry of school, finances, and dealing with complete strangers didn’t all come into the equation. Taking precautions from the outset can improve your quality of life later and avoid some unpleasant situations.
First of all, finding student accommodation means finding housemates to share that accommodation. Whether that means tossing the dice and grabbing whoever fate throws your way or taking a more measured approach and picking long time friends, it will still be a new situation for all concerned, and new situations tend to bring out the best and the worst in friends both old and new. Be sure to set some boundaries with your roommates. Never assume that someone else learned the same manners you did.
Second, Simple responsibilities like keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer no longer fall solely to the landlord. Make sure the heating and possibly cooling work. Check for proper fire code compliance. In short, make sure the place isn’t a firetrap and take steps to mitigate or obviate such problems when you see them.
Third, consider your financial resources carefully. Contractual agreements are legally enforceable by law, not to mention that breaking them tends to destroy your credit rating for a very long time. Make sure the duration of tenancy meets your needs. More importantly, make sure the price tag meets your needs. In my experience, failing to pay the rent creates more friction between tenants, landlords, and housemates than anything other social gaff or indiscretion.
Fourth, make sure you know what’s included in the rent. Is it a furnished apartment? If not, a sleeping bag and a mini-fridge can make it livable, but not comfortable. Also, how will bills like phone, electrical, and water be taken care of? Usually, it’s up to you and your housemates to figure this out.
Finally, while you’re worrying about all of this, make sure you get documentation. Get your own copies of contracts and receipts from electrical, insurance, water, phone, parking, etc. Make sure those receipts say what the heck you paid for too, because no one remembers in a month when the landlord comes up short and tries to figure out what happened.
Take my advice and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.