House hunting in our first year can prove to be a stressful, daunting experience. We’ve only just settled in, barely know people and are still unsure of exactly where the best place to live is. However, there are several steps you can take to guarantee a smooth second year house sharing experience.
The most important aspect of choosing your house share is finding the right individuals to live with and in your first semester you will likely have met a whole load of different people, which makes the task of choosing flatmates a pretty confusing one. When choosing who to actually live with, there are several questions to ask yourself.
Do you share similar interests? Are these people clean and tidy? Are they party animals? Do we have the same living budget? You need to carefully think about the type of person you are and the type of people you know you get on with, otherwise you might be in for some nasty surprises come second year.
Another vital ingredient to choosing the right house share is to pick a suitable location. Though you might think you’ve found your dream house, it’ll be no use in the long run if you’re having to walk two miles to reach your 9am lecture. That being said, proximity to the Uni campus is important, particularly if you’re prone to student laziness. Other factors to consider are distance to shops, the gym, the park and whether there’s a good local pub nearby!
Fees & deposits
We’ve all heard those Uni letting agent horror stories in which students have lost a significant amount of their deposits or paid unnecessary fees for no apparent reason. There are some undesirable agents out there who have been known to take advantage of unknowing students. As such, it’s best to be wary and clarify exactly what you’ll be paying for to avoid these sorts of situations from taking place.
Moreover, always make sure your deposit is protected in an accredited deposit protection scheme, such as The DPS. With agencies, this is usually not a problem, but with private landlords, may have been known to hold deposits in their own accounts. Of course, disputing deposit repayments in these cases is much harder than under a government-protected scheme.
The responsiveness and humanity of your landlord can really make or break your first experience living away from home. Though it may not always be possible to find out about the nature of your landlord before moving in, try to be thorough with your queries to try and gauge their responsiveness.
If a landlord is reluctant to answer certain questions, this could be an early red flag. If possible, speak to past tenants when house viewing – they are in the same boat and could give you a few handy pointers as to the pros and cons of renting there. Also, try checking landlords and agents out online on Move’m, where previous tenants can leave feedback about their rental experiences.
Matthew De-Machen is the founder of Matthew James Removals & Storage, a family-run self storage and removals business in the UK and across Europe.
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