It’s that time of year when everyone who should have booked their accommodation months ago are starting to quiver in their boots about having the prospect of nowhere to live during the next year. It’s likely that most on-campus accommodation will be booked up by now so there’s only two other options: private dorms or a house.
I lived in private dorms in my first year, and whilst it wasn’t that bad, I certainly will never be doing it again, so house it is. I thought deciding upon a house would be easy (rookie mistake), but people never tell you just how much is involved when renting a student house. So, here’s my 8 things you need to do and know when deciding on a house:
ALWAYS view the house- When my friends and I began looking for a house, we were all in America on study abroads, so none of us could actually get to Leicester to view the houses. So we had to wait until one of us came back so that we could be sure on a house. Remember, you’ll be living there for a whole year and although that’s not a long time, during winter when your room is freezing due to it’s lack of insulation, it will feel like an eternity.
Contract length- Make sure you know how long your contract is for. It could be 12 months, it could be 10. Get in the know so you’re not left paying 2 months of rent whilst you’re sunning it in Ibiza next July and August.
Type of contract- Is it a joint tenancy agreement or an individual contract? Get yo’ head in the game, boy!
Can you pay my bills? Can you pay my telephone bills?- For those of you who got the Destiny’s Child reference, well done. For those who have no clue what I’m on about, here’s a link to the song. But getting back to the topic, you need to check whether your rent includes bills. This means water, gas, electric, TV and internet. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to look into adding these on yourself. For easy planning and payment, check out easybills.co.uk.
Can you afford it?- Make sure you can afford your rent before you sign the contract. You can do this via Save the Student’s rent calculator.
Contents insurance- My rent doesn’t include contents insurance. Be sure to check out how much insuring your valuables would be from a variety of sites to get the best price.
Inventory- When you move in, make sure you get the landlord/estate agent to write a list of goods in the house and what is/isn’t broken. This makes sure you don’t get blamed for any already broken items and ensures the landlord doesn’t try and claim that microwave you bought at the beginning of the year.
It’s okay to ask for changes- If you’re not happy with the stained, springless mattress, ask the landlord to change it. Remember, the worst they can say is no!
If you have your own tips, feel free to share them with the thousands of people who view this blog monthly: comment below!