My fresher who has only been at University since September has already chosen her Uni house for next academic year. When I was at University I remember viewing some houses in the spring ready for the following year. The housing stock in Middlesbrough wasn’t exactly luxurious or well maintained. Many of the houses did not even have central heating in them and they were very damp and in need of modernisation. However, that is a very different experience to what Chloe has so far had in her search for a Uni house.
- Firstly choosing who to live with is a big decision as we can all imagine. Do you want to live in a large house or a small house? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Chloe has opted to live in a reasonably large house where 7 of them will share. Chloe is sharing with other hockey players as this is who she spends most of her time with. They train and play hard and living together makes sense as they will be going training together and that happens 6 days a week at the moment!
- Location location location! The closer you live to the University the more expensive the accommodation tends to be. Living further out is cheaper but walking in and out takes time. Chloe and her friends have chosen to be close to the centre and to university. For them, the amount of training means that they will benefit from being near the gym and the training they do.
- The contract is really important, most uni courses are finished by May or June and therefore look for a contract that is for 10 months. Also ensure that the contract is fair. All universities will look over contracts for you. Living off campus is significantly cheaper than halls but make sure what you sign up to has no hidden costs.
- Ask about bills, is heating included in your weekly bill, TV license?
- Check whether you are liable for each other, if someone left the property are the rest of you liable for their portion or does it go to their guarantor? I got caught out by this at University but it seems that things have changed now as each person signs thier own contract.
- Make a note and photograph the soft furnishings and decor so that everyone is clear of the condition of the accommodation, this should include everything in your room plus the communal areas. Look from top to bottom and include Skirtings , white appliances, sofa’s etc. Keep everything logged. If any areas need replacing or refreshing before you move in make sure it is agreed and written down. Chloe’s new landlord is repainting the communal areas and even asked them what colour they preferred, I think they should opt for this Alice In Wonderland Wallpaper though!
- Make sure that you use a reputable agency and that they are experienced in student letts. There are now many agencies that manage the accommodation and you should feel confident with them. Don’t rush the decision or feel pressurised, do view a few houses before you make a decision.
Choosing the people that you want to live with is a huge decision and it seems that you need to make this choice when you have only been at University a very short time.