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Helpful housing tips for students

Photo of a sign outside the Foundry First building advertising student living in the building.
Image Credit: Svitlana Stryhun

Student life is almost never easy. Tuition fees and especially rising rent prices sometimes push students to work multiple jobs just to get by. It’s always better to think beforehand about your living space, based on your character and habits. Students are all very different and what works for your friends might not always work out for you.

1. Know your neighbour(hood)

Nobody knows you better than you do. If you can’t stand loud neighbours and prefer silence to everyday parties, don’t forget to inform the student union or mention it in your personal information when searching. There are certain neighbourhoods that have a reputation for partying, and others that are more residential and generally quieter. It’s highly important to mention your preferences before you move in, because once you get started with school, moving out to another place can be difficult and an unnecessary waste of energy and time. The same goes for choosing roommates — it’s always best to make sure you’re all on the same page in terms of partying and noise preferences.

2. Save on rent, find a roommate

Where do you search for roommates? There are plenty of groups on Facebook that will open you to a world of never-ending offers. When talking to strangers, try to get the information you need about their sleeping schedule and other important details about guests or parties on the weekends. After you think you’ve found a perfect match, check them out at a personal meeting as well. At the very least, you’ll be signing a one-year lease somewhere, so if you don’t want to spend months hating coming back to your living space, then make sure you take the time to seek out a roommate who matches your energy.

3. Location, location, location

Try to choose a house or an apartment building that is close to your college or university. An apartment in the far south end of the city, for example, might make for a long and difficult commute to Fanshawe or Western. Even if the rent there is less expensive than the apartments downtown, you’ll likely regret your decision every morning. Especially with more classes being offered in-person this fall, you’ll want to make sure your travel time is as simple as possible. Choose your area wisely, because it’s not all about money; your personal comfort counts as well.

“There are certain neighbourhoods that have a reputation for partying, and others that are more residential and generally quieter.”

4. Start looking early

By now, you’ve probably already got this year’s housing situation sorted out. But for next year, you want to start the search for an apartment preferably three to four months before getting back to school. With students coming to London from home after summer break, it can be tricky to find a decent place for little money. Not all homeowners or leasing agencies are honest, and some make their prices higher on purpose before the start of the school year. Be aware that the less time you have, the higher the rent may be, or the further you’ll have to go to get to school.

5. Be wary

Always verify the agent or landlord and carefully read through your lease. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace can be great resources for finding rentals, but they are also breeding grounds for scams. There are always dishonest people around who want to trick you and make you pay more money for the accommodations they can’t provide. Always check the living space, the neighbourhood area, and the functionality of appliances. It’s also a good idea to do this with friends from London, or anyone who has experience renting in this city. People who know the area can help you avoid making mistakes that will lead to discomfort.

At the end of the day, the most important tip for student housing is to know your budget and live within it. Don’t forget to budget how much you spend and earn so you never miss out on making a rental payment. Never skip paying rent, because if you do it regularly, you might end up with a bad a reference, which can make it harder to find a place to rent in the future. Good luck and happy house hunting!