Moving into a student house for the first time can be daunting, but if you’re prepared, it can also be an exciting part of your University experience.
Taking on Responsibilities
The first thing you need to realise is that moving into a house requires a new level of independence that you will not have experienced in halls. Bills, water, internet, and rent are among the many things that you and your housemates need to be prepared to tackle. The best advice I can give is to split the responsibility evenly between you all, and to keep a record of who is doing what, which can prevent unnecessary stress and confusion later down the line.
Leaving Behind Halls Hotline
Another issue that most people face when moving into a student house is that they now have a landlord to deal with. Gone is the security of halls hotline and in its place is a landlord who will probably need constant harassment to get necessary issues resolved. As frustrating as it can be, student Landlords have a bad reputation when it comes to managing their properties. This is something that you will need to accept — to a certain extent. Know your legal rights and do your best to have them enforced. However, be prepared that, unlike halls hotline, unless it is a safety issue, problems will likely take a couple of weeks to be resolved. This is because most contracts specify a specific period of time in which maintenance must be completed.
This brings me on to the topic of contracts. Read it. This may seem like something that should have been done when signing, but under the stress of wanting to secure a house it is likely that most do a quick scan and move on. Give it a close read so that you know what to expect and what you are or are not entitled to. Don’t let your house be blindsided by anything. You also need to make sure that you are ready to negotiate the terms of your contract should it be necessary — if something doesn’t look right, stand your ground.
Turning a House Into a Home
Once the legal side of things have been sorted, you can get to work on turning your student house into a bit more of a home. When my flatmates and I moved into ours, we were horrified by the mess (and infestations)! We knew that the house was entitled to a deep clean, but we also knew that this was unlikely to be worth the wait, so we did it ourselves. If you want to be comfortable and enjoy your new house, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Break out the bleach and clean what needs cleaning so that you can relax and move on to the cosmetic side of things.
In order to feel more at home and comfortable in your house, put some effort into its appearance. Once it’s cleaned, add some personal touches to the communal areas to make them more inviting. Pulling together to purchase a T.V. for the living room is also a great idea, as this turns the room into a place for socialising and relaxing. Make sure you also decorate your room, and make it as you as you possible — you want to feel at home for the next year, not like you’re squatting in a hostel.
Finally, avoid unnecessary arguments. In the words of Elsa, if it isn’t that important, let it go. Arguments ruin friendships and make the house environment awkward and uncomfortable. Most of the time, they stem from petty annoyances. Learning to live with people takes time, and unless there is a serious issue, it is not worth causing an argument simply because you seem to be the one that does the most washing up.