Once the pandemic is behind us, people wouldn’t be able to wait to get out of the house and see the world again. That is true especially for those in their second year of college who should’ve been in their own rented private house with their friends today. The pandemic might have hit pause on these plans, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen in the future. For parents, this is a golden opportunity to help figure out how your kids should choose the place where they’ll stay next.
First, take note of the location. Is it near the college or the place where the kids are working? Is it near a grocery store, laundromat, the bank, and many other establishments? Or, is it tucked away in a residential community somewhere? Do the kids have to take the car or commute to school? If it’s a walking distance to the school, you’ll feel better knowing they are just a stone’s throw away from the college. But what if they have to take the subway or the bus to get there? Are you both comfortable with that setup?
Homes that sit nearer the universities and colleges are, of course, more expensive. But they don’t only offer security, they are also practical and logistical. It makes sense for college students not to live in the dorms but moving farther from the school isn’t just logical.
What kind of neighborhood is the house in? It should be a safe community of young families and young urbanites. Are the homes occupied by other college students, too? That’s a good community, then. Parents have to mind the kind of community that will welcome their kids when they moved into their new home for now. If the house is in the seedy part of the neighborhood, you should rethink about allowing your kids to stay there.
There will be times your kids have to go home late from work or school. Do you really want them walking on those streets? Will you rest easy at night knowing they could have gotten into fights or criminals could be lurking and waiting to pounce on someone?
Gas and Electrics
Once you’re contented with the location and the neighborhood, you can focus on checking the house itself. Ask to see the electrical installation condition report (EICR). It will tell you about the condition of the electrical wires and outlets in the house. Make sure that it has the most recent report because bad electronic installation and faulty wires can cause a lot of accidents.
If the house is connected to a gas pipeline, the owner should have a certificate to prove that it completed the annual safety check inspection. You should demand the same for the plumbing system. Make sure that all the pipes are in working order so that your kids and their housemates don’t have to worry about calling the plumber for repairs.
Fire Alarm System
All homeowners should have a fire alarm system in place. At the very least, any house for rent should have a smoke detection system. This is not only for the protection of the tenants but for the homeowner as well. No one wants to see their investment go up in flames, so smoke detection is a necessary device in all homes. Ask for a copy of the certificate that proves the system has been inspected and certified to be in working order recently.
Typically, the system should receive service from a competent company every six months. If your kids will be living in an apartment building, you should also ask to see the fire escape plan. Are there elevators in the building? What happens to these when there’s a fire? Are the tenants properly briefed on how to act when there’s a fire or earthquake?
Home Inspection Report
Parents can also ask for a home inspection report, though this is usually done only when the property is for sale. But in any case, it doesn’t hurt to ask, right? If the report is available, the landlord might give you a peep into it. That will tell you all the things you need to know about the house—the presence of radon and carbon monoxide, molds, mildew, and the stability of the foundation.
It’s a bit of work to go house shopping with your kids. If they are not comfortable doing this with you, give them the guide. This will let them know what they have to watch out for. This is an exciting time for your children. Try not to worry so much and if they want, let them handle things on their own.