It’s no secret that private student houses are typically a complete dive.
Mould on the walls, damp on the ceiling, infestations of house spiders, hidden charges, ridiculous rent prices and rogue landlords.
I really resented moving out of my comfy student halls, going into private student housing was my worst nightmare. How is anyone supposed to decide within 3 months of knowing strangers, whether a housing commitment can be made? Quite frankly it’s awkward, you arrive at university meeting a ton of new people in Freshers Week, but then realise 2 weeks later that you’ll never see them again. So finding reliable, trustworthy housemates within such a short space of time is ludicrous. However it does have to be done, that is if you don’t want to be stuck living in a spare room in a house full of strangers for all of your next year.
But finding the house and entering the legal contract is only the easy part. Suddenly your space has been utterly invaded, your ‘good friends’ at university turn into complete animals as you realise they’re slobs to live with. Or maybe, you’re the slob and rows begin to arise over not cleaning up your dishes, or taking too long in the shower, or your overdue rent.
Tolerating each other is truly the test of friendship, because living in halls is completely different to living in a house. It’s an experience for sure – but personally, if it wasn’t for one of my lovely housemates & good friend, I probably would’ve gone insane.
I’ve compiled some cheeky tips I’ve taken away from living in rented student accommodation that I wish someone had told me before I moved in:
1) Communicate – it’s nothing worse than to leave a row to brew between housemates. If someone’s left their dishes piled up for too long or they haven’t done their fair share of cleaning, make sure you let them know that it’s not cool as soon as possible. Don’t let bitchiness infest the household, there’s enough of that at university as it is! Whatever type of housing you are in whilst you study, relationship breakdowns between you and the people you live with – be that family, friends or total strangers – can have a huge impact on your studies and your general wellbeing.
2) Get clued up – Prior to moving in or signing the contract binding you to your tenant, be sure to educate yourself on the housing jargon often thrown around by estate agents. Sometimes the terminology is confusing so make sure you know the terms and conditions of the contract you’ll be getting into.
3) Budget – Cost isn’t just about rent, you may have a number of fees at the beginning of your tenancy, as well as bills and deposits to consider. But also, you may devise a strategy among your housemates about cooking. Perhaps each of you will take it in turns to cook a meal each day, and suddenly you may find yourself cooking for 3 people instead of just yourself.
4) Knowing the neighbours – Student or non student, remember that if you are coming home late, there’s a high probability you’ll wake at least one house up if you are shouting down the street, so showing respect never hurt anyone. Also be sure to let your neighbours know if your house is going to be empty for a considerable period – whether this is you going on holiday, on a placement or on a study break. This means they can keep an eye out for anything suspicious and that they know they are next to an empty property.
5) Bin day – Make sure everyone in your household knows when bin day is! It’s the local authority’s responsibility to provide a waste collection service, but as residents we all need to make sure that we help it run effectively. It really is horrendous when you miss a bin day, honestly, the smell is pungent and the neighbours won’t be a fan – so avoid at all costs!
Obviously, there is so much more advice available online which is accessible at the click of a mouse – so I do recommend having a scout before beginning the student housing process.