Your child has just been accepted into their chosen University. More often than not it means they will have to find a place to stay that is close to the University. As parents, you will obviously want to look out for their wellbeing and safety when it comes to finding them the right place to stay.

So what are your options? You could try for on campus accommodation but if that doesn’t suit, then you going to have to look for private accommodation. Hopefully these tips will guide you in the right direction and make it easier finding suitable digs.

  1. Where to look
    Most parents will take the obvious route and start by looking in the newspapers or on the internet. Police and university personnel have warned parents and students to be vigilant against fraudsters and scammers during the last minute rush for a room or a place to stay. Reports of students and parents having lost money by paying into bogus bank accounts by EFT, is not uncommon. This after they had seen an ad, responded and spoke to the person, deposited the money, never to hear from them again. Parents are urged to verify the credentials of the persons advertising and report any suspicious findings to the police. They are encouraged to go through accredited agents such as Mafadi.Once you find somewhere suitable, where possible try and inspect the place before signing any documentation. This isn’t always possible especially when you stay in Durban and your child has been accepted in Cape Town. However, the last thing you need is your child moving into a cockroach infested room with a leaking geyser. More reason to go through an accredited agent.
  2. Cost
    In addition to all the other costs parents will incur sending a son or a daughter to varsity, the majority of parents won’t’ have an unlimited budget, so cost will be an important factor. Knowing your limits beforehand certainly will help to narrow your search. If your child has a friend or friends they know are also looking, you could consider looking for larger places to stay. Sharing with friends will help reduce costs withregard to rent, food and any other costs that may arise. However, as much as sharing can have its’ benefits, it can also have its‘ downsides. Late-night partying, disagreements amongst each other, fighting, lack of committing to study are just some of these. So parents should have heart to heart talks with their kids before committing to these arrangements.
  3. Location
    Although, generally speaking, you may find accommodation closer to the university more expensive than what is further away, this shouldn’t be the only factor that you make your decision on. One should look at other important considerationsi) How far will one have to travel? Will it be a short walk, or will you have to catch a bus or train? Catching buses or taxis in peak hour means leaving early and getting back late. It’s not a bad idea to weigh up the cost difference between paying more to stay closer verses staying further away factoring in travel costs. You may be surprized to find staying closer actually works out less expensive.ii) What facilities will you have in the immediate area? Travelling long distances to do a bit of shopping or maybe have a meal or watch a movie can end up being an expensive exercise in the long run.

    iii) Safety should also be a priority. Try and avoid areas that look dodgy, no matter cheap the accommodation might appear.

  4. Budget sensibly
    As much as you might think you’ve got all bases covered, there are always those hidden costs that pop up. You more than likely will have to pay a deposit. This is normally equal to one month’s rent but rarely can be as much as two months’ rent. Are lights and water included, or are you paying for it. Is there internet, and if so, is this an additional cost. Then there’s the expense of food and entertainment. You wouldn’t want see you’re your son or daughter living on bake beans on toast every night!In closing, remember, this is not race. Whatever you do, make sure all your ducks are 100% in a row before signing any documents or leases. In the long run this will see you and your child in good stead.
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