Uni scheme takes risk out of finding a flat

The University of Wollongong has initiated a new scheme that gives the "thumbs up" to suitable rental accommodation for its students.

The university's accommodation services will roll out the Housing Assessment Scheme (HAS) over the coming weeks to assist thousands of university students moving to the city in February.

UOW marketing and occupancy manager Edwina Ellicott said finding suitable accommodation was often the first challenge of university life.

Rental, share and other accommodation was becoming harder to find and many students had little experience searching for, and securing it.

"We set up the UOW Study Stays site about two years ago, which allows students to search for properties in the Illawarra area," Ms Ellicott said.

"The HAS service builds on this by enabling property listers to allow their places to be assessed by UOW staff against a strict set of criteria.

"If the properties meet that criteria, they get a thumbs up and these will be the ones that students are more likely to choose.

"So it benefits the students as they know these are good properties, and it benefits property listers who participate as their properties get better exposure."

Ms Ellicott said the criteria covered a range of areas such as maintenance and cleanliness of the property.

"It covers general maintenance, like looking at whether the taps and toilets are in good working order," she said.

"Or general cleanliness such as whether there's a clear pathway to the property, or security concerns like whether the screens are properly fitted."

Owners who choose not to participate are not penalised and their properties still appear on the list, and those that fail are given feedback and can then be reassessed.

"The reaction from property providers has been really positive and so many are willing to take part," Ms Ellicott said.

"Some properties have already been given the thumbs up, and assessors will be visiting more properties over the next few weeks, as come February there will be a high demand from students for places to live."

For more information visit uow.studystays.com.

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