Durham student househunting guide

Durham Uni Students’ guide to house-hunting in Durham is designed to help you. Remember, there is no release date for housing this year, meaning you can start as early as you like, but remember you’re in no real hurry – there are a surplus of student houses in Durham, and rushing into a decision could mean you get overcharged.

Decide On A Location

There are a few areas of Durham which have a mass of student housing, and you’ll need to think about where you and your housemates want to live for the next year, which will depend on where the majority of your lectures are, how close you want to be to places such as Loveshack and Jimmy Allen’s as well as supermarkets – Tesco is a long, long way to walk from Neville’s Cross – and whether you want to live in a quieter neighbourhood or not.

Student Housing Areas In Durham

Get Your Contract Checked

Get your contract looked at by someone from the Durham Student Union housing committee, just to make sure there aren’t any terms in your contract meaning you could get caught out. Typical snags include ensuring that your house’s garden is maintained by its tenants (you) and not leaving the house unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days without informing the landlord (not unreasonable, but could be tricky over the holidays).

Make Sure It’s Safe

Check the house’s gas appliances have been certified by a certified engineer – all of the DSU recommended houses will have been in theory, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! The DSU have a code of standards for student landlords, which was introduced in 1999.

Check It Has The Basics

Whilst some may argue that a house is essentially just a house – especially since you only have to live there for a year – keep an eye out for the following, just in case!

Double Glazing

Whilst double glazing might not be top of your priorities for a student house, it’s a good thing to look out for – Durham is very cold in the winter months (some might say all year round!), and you’ll definitely benefit, especially if your heating bills are not included in your rent.

Odd Smells & Damp Patches

Beware of odd smells and damp – if a room smells damp or bizarre, it may indicate a persistent problem with the house – ask the current tenants (if any) about it, and don’t be afraid to take it up with the landlord!

Furniture

Double check with the tenants or landlord about the furniture which will remain in the house: it’s no good getting a really cheap house with no furniture to find that you’ve got to make dozens of trips to Ikea to furnish it!

Television Licenses

It may be included in your payments the the landlord, but if you’re bringing a television to Durham, be sure to get a TV license if it isn’t – you can buy one online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk – colour licenses cost around £140 for a year, and despite the popular myth, they do check!

Finding A House In Durham – Summary

All that’s left now is the ‘simple’ task of agreeing on a house with your future housemates and decorating it!

  1. Think about where you want to live in Durham
  2. Double-check what’s included – be it furnishings or your gas and electric bills.