Here are 12 tips and tricks to finding the perfect student house in Bristol

A six bed with mould and a rat infestation, please

It’s approaching that beloved time of year where people start to chatter about looking for a house for the next academic year. Cue awkward conversations with your current flatmates who you will not be living with, new group chats called “casa <3” and being on hold to every lettings agency in Bristol for at least an hour.

As someone who has been through this ordeal twice, here are a few things I’ve learnt from the experience to get you started and make the whole, traumatising ordeal just a little bit more manageable. Remember, this is in no way a complete guide or we’d be here until you graduate.

Do: Start thinking about who you want to live with

At this point you’re not having to sign a tenancy agreement quite yet. However, you should probably be thinking about who you want to live with and initiating those discussions. At the risk of having the rug swept out from underneath you and being left with no choice but to trawl Facebook for housemates, start getting your plans in order and letting people know that you want to live with them.

It’s also important to consider how many people you want to live with so you know what houses to look at. Don’t give in to the idea that living in a 15-man house will take you back to the good old days of first-year halls, it won’t.

Do: Set a budget

Once you’ve sorted who you’re living with, the next step is to set a clear budget and any other requirements for your future house. Now, don’t get your hopes up- most student houses in Bristol are a bit rank and you’re definitely not all going to have an en-suite.

However, it is crucial to all be on the same page. This is especially important for the budget so you don’t get a shock when you’re about to sign the agreement and realise you will, in fact, have to sacrifice your first-born to fund the deposit.

Don’t: Get stressed about what other people are doing

It can get tense seeing other people finding and signing for houses before you’ve even started looking. However, don’t let that get to your head and possibly rush into signing a contract. Take the time to go to a few viewings- properties get released throughout the months by various lettings agencies so there isn’t a deadline to find a house.

Do: Check for circulation and light

This isn’t something that will necessarily spring to mind whilst viewing a newly-refurbished garden flat in Clifton- sounds lovely, right? That’s until you move in and realise you are just living in a basement that has no natural light, bars on the windows, and a weird smell that won’t go away. While you can’t be overly picky, you are going to be stuck with a house for the year, so just make sure you keep your general health in mind when going to these viewings.

Don’t: Limit your search to one location

Every year the general consensus is that the place to be is Redland, Clifton or Stokes Croft. Please, broaden your horizons- it would be a mistake to limit your search to one location. There are a variety of student areas around uni like Kingsdown and St Michael’s, so make sure to possibly prioritise how long it will take to get to your 9am over the walking distance to Crofters.

Do: Think about your transport options

If it becomes clear you might have to live a bit further away and the thought of a 30 minute walk to the library sends shivers down your spine, make sure to check out what transport is accessible to you. If you’re considering bringing your car to uni then make sure you ask about parking spaces at house viewings, and be prepared to become the resident Uber in your house.

Do: Look for mould

This should really go without saying. It can be easy to overlook, but unless you want to be coughing for two months straight only to find the cause is the black mould living behind your bed, then keep an eye out during those viewings. It’s good to take photos and videos so you don’t miss anything.

Don’t: Be left in the dark ages

To try and minimise the end-of-days that is the wifi going down, make sure your potential house has good service. Unless your ideal work space was already your doorstep…

Do: Think about noise pollution

If you don’t want your bedtime lullaby to be the primitive sounds of the sports night queue, then maybe living somewhere like the Triangle just isn’t for you. Whilst on your search for a house or flat it’s really important to consider the area and how loud it can get at night. Don’t sacrifice those needed hours of sleep just so you can brag that you live above La Rocca.

Do: Ask the current tenants’ thoughts

If you get the chance, this is quite a handy thing to do. Most viewings are quite rushed so, at most, you get a very superficial look at the place. By asking the current tenants what they think you will be way better informed when deciding if it’s the house for you. A special shout out to the girls who whispered to me “don’t live here”.

Do: Prepare for visitors

You’re in luck, most student houses come with pests included! I hate to say it but this is pretty much unavoidable- no lettings agent is going to disclose that the four-bed you’re looking around has a raging silverfish infestation. Do try and keep an eye out, however, for those tell- tale signs that you might have Remy the Rat as an extra housemate.

Don’t: Lose hope

At risk of sounding cliché, please just hang on. Not everyone is going to find a house immediately and it can be easy to become discouraged when living in Filton seems more and more realistic. However, keep on enquiring about properties and going to viewings because you will eventually find somewhere… promise.

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