Back in November, I worked tirelessly; googling, calling Landlords and Local Agents, researching, blogging and videoing to create a presentation on all things housing. There were 10 workshops and over 300 of you came. I was pretty damn impressed.
Housing is such a huge part of a student’s journey, whether we’re living at home, with friends or with people we’ve never met before. If it’s shite then it can really spoil things. So, I came up with these top tips…
“Imagine you’re in a supermarket but for houses. You’re just leisurely perusing through the aisles having a gander at all the available items. Which ones can you afford? Which ones are mouldy and no good? Is the seller someone you can rely on? Can you be sure that your money is being invested in the right product?
Realistically, I’m sure none of us actually pick up a tin of beans and say…”oo-er, you’re not reliable, are you?” BUT, the point is still relevant. This is your time to see what’s out there, not to rush and pick the first one you see because you think all the others are taken. So when you’re house shopping, bear this in mind…
Choosing friends to live with is really difficult, it can sometimes make or break a friendship! Go to their halls to see how they live and ask yourself the question: “Do I want to live with this person 100%?” 3 months down the line you could find out that they’re a keen midnight saxophone player… not ideal when you have a 9am lecture.
Realistically, if you have £100 a week to live off and your rent is £120, how are you going to afford food or bills or going out? THINK, can I affor
d this? Plan out how much you can afford to pay and stick to your budget. The average rent without bills that students look for is around £79- so think, if you end up paying any more than what you can afford it’s going to make it super difficult for you.
Believe it or not, all the houses do not get taken before Christmas! Take your time to consider what you want, what you need and what you can afford. Basically, have a long hard talk with your bank account and see what’s happening.
Read the contract!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to read through your contract. Are you on a joint tenancy or a single tenancy contract? Are you okay with all the terms? If you’re worried or unsure then don’t hesitate to bring your contract to the SU Advice and Representation Centre to check over it for you. Think about sending it to your parents too!
Sign on the dotted line.
If you’ve already read every inch of the contract and everyone is cool with it then sign all at the same time. If one person signs the contract and then the rest of you decide it’s not for you- that person is stuck in that house. Contracts are legally binding and need to be taken seriously. Take your time.
Make sure everyone has their deposit ready to go! It will ensure that your house is secured for you once all the contracts are signed. Ensure the deposit is put into a Deposit Protection Scheme (it is a legal requirement for the Landlord or Letting Agent to do this) and ask for a receipt!
Keep all transactions and conversations
between yourself and your landlord on file! Save all your emails and note down phone calls. So if anything comes up- you know what’s been happening.
Finally, don’t settle for something you’re not happy with…
Sometimes, landlords try and pressure you into signing things quickly before you know what you’re letting yourself in for. Make sure you take time to do some research and look elsewhere. And remember your rights as a tenant! They’re easily available online.”
But remember, if you ever need any help, we’re always up here at the old SU to listen to your rants!
VP Welfare, over and out.
By Lauren Blundell