Start Looking Early

The last thing you want to do is end up with whatever house is left that nobody else wanted because it's either miles away or it's in a poor condition. One thing to think about is who you will want to live with - you may be signing for a house that you won't be moving into for around 10 months so just have a think whether you will still be happy to live with who you might sign with.

How Many Is Too Many

You need to work out how many people you actually want to live with. There will be a complete range of sizes when it comes to student houses, from a two bed to anything 10 plus. This is probably going to be too many for a lot of people so you are best to stick to a lower number. Generally the more people you live with, the messier it will get and the longer you will have to wait for things such as the bathroom and kitchen. If there are a lot of you that do want to live together, look into properties that are being let next door or just down the street from each other. You could then split into multiple houses so you have more space but are still really close to each other. 

Don't Jump At The First One

I know it could be tempting to want to sign for a house as soon as you see one that looks okay. Unless you really like the first one you look at it's probably worth having a look round a few as you could end up with a nicer house for the same rent, especially if you use different estate agents and landlords. 

Deposit Protection Scheme

This is something important to make sure your landlord has as it will mean your deposit it safe even if your letting agent or landlord gets into financial difficulty. It is required by law to be held in ones of these schemes so you have every right to check and ask for confirmation of this when you pay your deposit. Your university will often have an approved list of landlords and letting agents which should ensure all of this stuff is in place. 

Location

Research the areas around your uni to see what's popular with current students. Ideally you want somewhere that won't take you ages to get into uni and could be a walkable distance so you don't have to spend money on travel. If you do live further away so that your rent is cheaper, be sure to check that there are good transport links so you don't get stuck with a longer journey to uni.

Check Contracts Carefully

There are a few things you need to look for when reading through your contracts. Don't just assume things about what will be in the contract. It won't take you long to read over it, and it's legally binding once you've signed it. It's much better to clear things up before signing so you are completely happy with what you are agreeing to. Items to look out for are: whether bills are included, the dates for when the lease starts and ends, any rules about living there and whether it comes with white goods such as a fridge and washing machine (most will do be it's worth double checking so you don't end up out of pocket.