Email Address: | Phone Number: 082 962 9052

What to look for when renting student accommodation in a commune

Communes form a huge part of student accommodations offered in Bloemfontein
particularly in the Universitas and Brandwag suburbs. The areas are the two closest
to the University and surrounds most part of it. Most landlords offer this particularly
form of accommodation as it is quite affordable for most students and it is in high
demand. Choosing an accommodation that one will like and be comfortable living in
can be quite stressful, but I will share some tips on how to choose an accommodation
that will meet ones expectations and that will tick most of your boxes.

What to expect in most accommodations

Most accommodations offer beds, WIFI, cupboard space, study desk and a chair in
your room and they are included in the rent. Students usually share the common
spaces such as the kitchen, living room and the bathrooms. Some of these
accommodations you strictly have to bring your own fridge and some provide with a
communal fridge. The washing machine is another addition that some landlords
provide their tenants with. Certain accommodations are even luckier to have a braai
area, swimming pool and television and one can use those as a form of entertainment
and it is not compulsory for communes to have these. Remember, the more the
commune has to offer, the higher the rent will be.

What are red flags?

The common red flags that students always overlook is contracts. Your landlord should
always provide you with a contract that stipulates what’s expected from you as a tenant
and rules and regulations that protect them, you and other tenants. This is a legally
binding document that will work for or against you. As a tenant always ask for a
contract and do not just sign it, always read it first because there are landlords who
force you to sign without reading the contract solely based on what they told and
showed you.

Another red flag tenants tend to overlook is landlords not allowing them to view the
place before you pay the deposit. You should be able to view your potential place
before you make any payments and making a decision. Do not be forced to choose a

When most of the tenants move out after just a couple of month of staying there to
seek a better accommodation. This is a red flag because it shows that tenants are not
happy either with their living conditions or their landlord.

What are good signs?

One of the good signs is when you are given a contract and time to go through the
contract. The landlord should allow you to read through the contract and ask questions
when you do not understand certain things.
Another good signs is when your questions are answered and the landlord reassures
you as their future tenant. Some things are not stated in contracts so it is best to ask
questions and get clarification.

When a landlord has more long-term tenants that is definitely a good sign. There is
something good about the accommodation and something good about what the
landlord is doing that keeps the tenants happy and they do not even want to move out.
It is important to read your contract and ask how much deposit you need to pay as
there certain agencies that make students pay a deposit that’s double the rent money
that is supposed to be payed and only half of it is refunded and some do state in their
contracts that their deposits are non-refundable

When you start looking for place it is better to start by googling some student
accommodations in Bloemfontein in your desired area. Certain student
accommodation agencies might pop up but you do not just take the first one you see.
Go to the Kovsie Facebook page and ask fellow students question about different
agencies and student accommodations and which ones they would recommend for
one to stay at. It is good to get some opinion from the students because most probably
they have experienced staying at some accommodations. This will help you choose
which accommodations to go for and do your own research about the
accommodations that were recommended by students and some that you like

When you find an accommodation that it is best to sign a contract and secure the place
by paying a deposit if the place you chose needs a deposit. Certain places do not
require a deposit to secure the place you just move in
Accommodations usually have 10 months or 12 months contract depending on the
landlord and the agreement. If your contract is 12 month, you can communicate with
your landlord on your move in date for as long as the deposit and the rent is paid.
Usually there is also a contract fee that is paid once off and certain student
accommodations you even pay a key deposit which is refundable and keys will be
handed over to you on your move in date. 10 months contract are usually from the 1st
of February to 30th of November and you can choose to renew or terminate and move
out on the 30th of November

There are important things that I have highlighted about looking for accommodation
particularly communes. Never allow verbal agreement to take place always ask for a
contract as this also helps when you have a bursary that needs to pay for your
accommodation. Ask questions, ask your future landlord questions and ask senior
students and that will guide you into finding a perfect place for you and remember to
always view the accommodations because sometimes pictures might be too good to
be true.