After endless days of tireless searching; looking high and low- hurray- you’ve finally found what you were looking for! What are we talking about? The house you are going to spend the rest of your academic year in! Can’t wait to make it official? Getting tempted to just skim the document given the impatient landlord on one hand and the dense language of a contract on the other? Don’t- once you are inked- you have committed an entire year of your student life to its numerous rules and obligations!
So-hold your horses-here are a few pointers for some challenges you may face and some must-know facts before you decide.
Make Room For The Roomie!
Maybe you sat with them through a couple of lectures or had lunch with them a few times- that is hardly enough to make them your ideal roommates. We first advise you to self-analyse before setting out to find your future roommates. Which type do you generally gel with? What type of people do you usually clash with? Are you a cleanliness freak or are doing the dishes the very last thing that would cross your mind? Be realistic- it would be best for you to pick out someone who sees eye to eye on these things.
Don’t fret if you are still on the lookout for a roomie. You can always opt for a housemate-finding service where you can advertise all your accommodation requirements. When you are asked to interview your potential roomie, you don’t have to drill them. Ease into it- have a casual conversation about their lifestyle and habits to assess if you both would make a good match.
Here are the kind of questions you should be asking:
- What kind of music are you into? (after a long day at uni, the last thing you want is rock music blaring into your ears when you need some peace and quiet.)
- How do you usually manage housework?
- When do you usually hit the bed?
- Do you smoke?
- Would you be able to afford the ‘x’ rent amount every month?
Amazingly-research suggests that the “mixed household is generally the best balance”- so get out there and don’t be hesitant to add a little variety and mix it up a bit while you are carrying out your roomie selection.
Another huge factor to mull over- the size of your house. Are you looking for a quiet three-bed or do you not mind nine other roomies hustling and bustling about? A house for four is an excellent option as it won’t generally be too heavy on the pocket. Those for five or more are, in general, more expensive.
Generally ‘letting agents’ charge from anywhere from between £20 to £100 fees per student. You can negotiate your way through the amount. If- however you are determined to look for free, search online through various sites for absolutely no cost at all.
One more important money-related point to be noted- landlords are legally obliged to protect your deposits. They should let you know which scheme they are taking up within a time period of two weeks or will have to face a serious fine!
Notice The Notice Period!
You should read through the contract carefully and check the time period of the contract. Most of these tenancies last for a year and you may be able to insert a break clause in between, if you negotiate. This clause allows you to end the contract prior to the agreed time period, with the condition of a notice-period.
You could be living in a burglar trap (no kidding); insist that your landlord fix operating locks on all windows and external doors. We suggest you go stay there one night before you sign up. How safe does the house that you loved in the daytime, feel at night? It’s worthy of a check- don’t you think?
If you’ve examined every nook and corner of the house and are happy with it - taking into account all the factors that count for a peaceful student life- then sign away. Don’t wait till the day you move-in, then the landlord is legally permitted to change their decision about you. They may return the housing deposit but you will lose the house- so act at the right moment.
Play It Smart!
Have an inventory done. Request your landlord to offer one- and if that is not a possibility- produce your very own one. Collect photographic evidence and note down any damage to ensure you don’t have to empty out your wallet when you leave a year later.
This may sound new- get yourself a TV license. There is a ”broadcast receiving license" which is an official record of payment required in many countries for the reception of television broadcasts, or the possession of a television set where some broadcasts are funded in full or in part by the licence fee paid.” Even if it’s shared, one per each television set will do.
Better Safe Than Sorry!
We know you strongly FEEL it won’t happen to you but that feeling might not be able to stop that crook from scarpering with your iPad and your laptop! So get insured as soon as you can.
So these are the kind of things you need to have your eye on. We hope you know now what you are getting yourself into before putting pen to paper.
Do you have any more pointers you would like to share with us about the topic? Feel free to do so by dropping us a line below- we would love to hear from you!