If you haven’t been convinced by the beauty and charms of university halls so far, then you’re probably beginning to think about where you going to live next year. It’s a daunting process and, for many of you, will be the first time you rent privately. To make the process a little easier, here is our advice;
- Live with friends you can trust.
This may seem obvious as it’s only the lucky few who can move out alone. However, it’s equally important to pick people to live with not only just because you get along, but also because they’ll be easy to live with. Your roommate may be a laugh now and always up for a night out, but how helpful is that all-night noise going to be before a 9 a.m. class next year? Your best mate that never paid you back for that Chinese, and already seems to have blown through their whole student loan, also may not be the most efficient bill payer. Pick friends you can rely on.
That new house may seem a great deal, and the Estate Agent may assure you it is, but make sure you compare your prices and location with others. You don’t want to end up comparing rent prices with your neighbours next year and realise they’re all paying less.
- Make sure you all visit the houses.
Again, this may seem obvious, but there’s always someone who has a late class, or goes home for the weekend and misses the viewing. Don’t let them move in next September and realise they hate it. If they can’t see it first, take lots of videos for them.
- Take Photos.
This is vital. Take photos at your viewing, you’ll remember what’s broken and needs fixing, what you need to remember to bring with you next year and when you’re looking at several houses, which one your favourite is. This is a lifesaver once you move in too. Take photos of any existing damage so your landlord can’t fine you for it once you move out!
- Don’t split everything
Obviously, to make things fair splitting bills and cleaning supplies comes as a given. However, if you’re sharing a house that requires bulky purchases like a kettle or a toaster, try to allocate each purchase to an individual each if they can afford it. Splitting a kettle 5 ways at the end of the year can become difficult. This way, whoever paid, takes it home!
Ever realise in your fresher hall’s kitchen you had about 30 tea towels and no washing–up brush? There’s no point in you all bringing the same things, so try and chat with each other before moving day so you can all bring as little as possible and work together.
- Don’t Panic
Not only is there loads of help on campus (The RUSU Advice Service run a regular drop-in service, or go to the RUSU website for advice on deposits, student housing and leaving a tenancy early) but ask family and friends from older years who’ve done it all before, and don’t let Estate Agents scare you.
Overall, living in a shared house with your friends is going to be a lot of fun; make the most of your newfound freedom!