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Finding the perfect student accommodation in Newcastle can sometimes feel like a race – each year students start their search earlier and sign on the dotted line more quickly, with some students committing to next year’s accommodation as early as November!

With tonnes of letting agencies dotted around the city and thousands of homes to choose from, things can get a little overwhelming. That’s why the Northumbria Students’ Union (NSU) put together the Housing Fair, offering a curated selection of the best accommodation providers in the North East with useful tips for prospective tenants. I went along to see what was on offer.

As somebody who has always sourced my own student accommodation, I was completely unaware of the services provided by the NSU to help students with all-important housing decisions. Within moments of me entering the Housing Fair, I was introduced to NU:Lets (http://www.nu-lets.co.uk), the only official and approved Northumbria lettings agency which is based on City Campus. Launched in 2012, NU:Lets offers a completely free service for Northumbria students looking for accommodation, providing them with plenty of choice and the added bonus of no agency fees.

I got chatting to the friendly staff, who explained that NU:Lets was launched as a response to student feedback indicating that they felt exploited by high street letting agencies, with expensive fees and poor quality properties. NU:Lets hoped to provide a more student-friendly service, offering useful hints and tips about finding a home, meeting new housemates, living in shared houses and saving money. They believe that the process of finding accommodation should be simple, transparent and free of pressure, to prevent students from regretting any decisions they make.

With three years of experience in student lettings, I asked NU:Lets for their top tips for house-hunting students. They were…

  • Have an idea of the number of tenants, general location, and any special requests you may have, such as disabled access or an en-suite bathroom, before you visit the agency so they can effectively narrow their search down.
  • Work out a strict budget and stick to it to avoid financial stresses later in the year.
  • Do not sign for a property until every tenant has viewed it first to prevent individuals dropping out of the contract if they do not like it.

Moving around the Housing Fair, which was begging to get a little crowded, I spotted some of the respected agencies represented by NU:Lets – Ridley Properties, Roseworth Student Lettings and Yeotholm Properties, all showcasing some wonderful homes available for the next academic year.

What really caught my eye, however, was a stand for Northumbria University Student Accommodation, as I had generally considered that this was only available to first year students. Intrigued, I spoke to staff member Sam, who informed me that following further student feedback, the university had in recent years decided to offer much more student accommodation to those who had progressed from the first year into further levels of study. This is perfect for international students who want their accommodation to be taken care of, students completing placement semesters and those who haven’t managed to find flatmates for the next academic year.

By now, my head was flooded with information and the room was buzzing with students from all walks of life, so I headed home, annoyed that I had not utilised these fantastic services myself but glad that future students would benefit from what was on offer. The Housing Fair was definitely a success! 

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