Even though the Covid pandemic in the UK has given us our 3rd lockdown. It doesn’t mean that you won’t need to look for student accommodation in Sheffield for the next academic year. If you’re unsure of what to do. Follow our checklist to help you, if you’re looking for student accommodation in Sheffield during Covid-19
1. Don’t put it off
Although during lockdown the world and pace of life seem to have slowed down. Looking for next year’s accommodation sooner rather than later gives more scope.
Being organised enables students to find the best properties before they are let. Priorities for students have changed. Those looking for next year’s accommodation are
prioritising factors to cope with the lifestyle changes associated with the pandemic. Looking for suitable accommodation and house share situations that are suitable for self-isolation, privacy, or are self-contained have risen up the list of features new tenants are looking for.
The consumer group Which? conducted research in 2018. It revealed that 75% of undergraduates had started looking for accommodation before March of that year. With a view for the following academic year 2018/19. Leaving it too late could drastically reduce the options available for accommodation. Failing to find a property to suit your needs could impact your university experience.
Looking for student accommodation in Sheffield during Covid-19
2. Use the web as your first point of call
Although shops and offices are closed during the lockdown for the public. The members of staff are still available to contact. As with most businesses and services still open, the first place to head when looking is online. Obviously, we recommend you check our own property search first. Please get in touch if you can’t find what you’re looking for. If we can’t help you this time, consider Rightmove and Accommodation for Students as other useful portals
Do your research
With a vast array of information available, make sure you do your research. Check which properties might be suitable by asking questions such as, How far is the property from University? Do you need to factor in travel expenses? What amenities are nearby? What bills are included in the price?
If you’re a first-year student check reviews or ask others you may know if they have had any experience living and studying in Sheffield. If this is your first time in private accommodation e.g. second year studying. Is the property close to your friends and others you know?
Most importantly during these covid times, does the property have suitable facilities you need to study from home?
Landlords vs Property Agents
Agencies have a lot of experience marketing and letting student properties, but any issues that arise have to go through to the actual property owner this can result in delays to solving issues such as urgent repairs. Private landlords are a more personal option as everything goes directly through them, however, landlords with a small property portfolio don’t necessarily have the expertise or experience in letting to students and associated student issues. Always look for Landlords that specialize or have experience in student lettings.
Check that the landlord or agent is part of any local or national associations, being a member of these will ensure that the landlord or agent is keeping their properties up to guidance as set out in the association’s code of practices.
3. Make a shortlist
Don’t just make a beeline for the first property you see that you think fits your needs, create a shortlist, many student accommodation portals and our website have a feature to save a favourites list. With the rate at which properties are taken, having a choice of properties to weigh up the pros and cons will help you decide on getting the right place to live and study.
4. Viewing Student Accommodation in Sheffield
Government guidelines state that you can still view properties during the current lockdown period, although always check gov.uk to see if there are any changes to be aware of before booking a viewing. With many options available for virtual viewings it can give you an idea of the property and the layout, Where safe to do so, consider booking to view in person. This gives prospective tenants the opportunity to fully visualize the property and give you an idea of its location and surroundings.
Many current student unions are advising against allowing viewings especially during lockdowns due to safety concerns and have asked landlords for them not to proceed until the current situation improves. When considering a viewing check with the property owner and/or current tenant(s) that:
- The current tenant is fine with viewings taking place, or if the property is empty
- Ask the landlord or agent to confirm with any current occupiers whether they are isolating or shielding before arranging visits, If yes ask to re-arrange so that the viewing can be completed safely.
Travelling to Sheffield to view a property
While travel restrictions are in place, travelling to Sheffield to view a property may not be considered essential travel at the current time, It’s diligent to check on the latest lockdown or tier status in the area on whether the journey can be made. If not ask the landlord or agent to notify you to arrange to view when you can make the journey to view safely.
5. Be Covid safe during viewings
- Make sure all viewings should be by appointment only and no open house viewings
- Keep to social distancing guidelines at all times
- Wear a mask especially indoors. unless you are exempt from this requirement. Confirm this before the appointment so that arrangements can be made beforehand to keep the viewing covid safe.
- Ask that all internal doors and windows are opened before viewing to increase fresh air flowing around the property.
- Try not to touch surfaces inside the property unless necessary, Bring your own hand sanitiser in case handwashing facilities are not available.
6. Found the perfect place?
If you’ve gone through your list of requirements, viewed the property, and are happy, make sure you register your interest as soon as possible. Even with the current pandemic bringing constraints to normal life, Student properties for the next academic year are still in high demand. So make sure you secure yours as early as possible.
About Thornsett Properties
Thornsett Properties have been letting to students since 1985. We supply housing to over 650 students studying in Sheffield every year. Thornsett Properties are property owners and not agents, meaning all our properties are managed by ourselves and not reliant on third parties. Our aim is to safely help you while looking for student accommodation in Sheffield during Covid-19