Your accommodation and home environment is really important to you and your experience at University. Many students choose to live in University halls, live in private accommodation or even commute from home, and so there is no single correct route to where your accommodation should be, it depends on what suits you!
If you do decide to live in the local community in private accommodation, here are some useful tips:
Be a proactive tenant
Make sure that the property that you are renting is how you expected it to be when you sign your contract. If amenities are broken or if the house is not to the standard it should be, be proactive in making sure that you let your letting agency or landlord know. A good tip is to be familiar with your housing contract and paper-trail your communications via email when sorting out issues so that you can keep track of agreements and conversations.
Be nice neighbours
Introducing yourself and being nice to your neighbours goes a long way when you first move into your own private student accommodation, particularly if the people living next to you are not also students like yourselves. A few very easy measures can help you get to know your neighbours: go round and knock on the door and introduce yourselves when you first move in, remember to say ‘hello’ if you pass them in the street or even let them know if you’re planning on having a house party in advance.
“My biggest top tip for when you move into private accommodation is to make an active effort with your neighbours, go and knock on their door and introduce yourselves (whether they’re students or not!). A little courtesy goes a very long way, especially when you accidentally set the fire alarms off at 2AM trying to make a late night snack…”
Jack Abrey, student
There is no escaping the fact that you will have to get involved with setting up and keeping track of utility bills. This could include electricity, gas, water or internet but double check to see whether any of these are included in your rent first. Before you create an account make sure you discuss with any housemates who is responsible for ensuring that bills have been paid and how you will pay the bills.
Chores don’t have to be a bore
Keeping your home clean and tidy doesn’t have to be a boring duty. Why not create a weekly rota with your friends so that you don’t have to think about tidying every single week? When it is your turn, why not break it down into days for each job, such as the hoovering on one day and then taking out the bins on another (check when your bin collection day is!). Also, creating a music playlist with energetic tunes can be great at motivating you when you’re completing your chores.
Home away from home
To help you settle in make sure you bring some home comforts to decorate your room with. This could be a cushion, rug, desk lamp or alarm clock. You could also bring some photos of family and friends, but do be careful how you affix them to walls and other surfaces so they do not mark anything!
“I have learnt two things: 1) Do not put bluetac on the walls your landlord will charge you and 2) You can’t put glass in the recycling bin, you have to drop it off at a bank so DON’T let them build up right to the end of the year- sort them out often!”
Kate Robinson, student
Personal space and respect
Having to share a house with other people can be tiring and often make you feel overwhelmed or crowded. If you find that your housemate wants a bit of personal space or peace and quiet, respect their wishes and leave them be. It’s always a good idea to think of others, particularly if you’re coming back home late at night and you don’t want to disturb or wake them. Equally, if you haven’t had a chat with a housemate for a while, why not catch up over lunch or cook a Sunday roast dinner together (you could even make this a weekly occurrence such as Friday fish and chips or Saturday steak night!) This way, you can catch up with housemates regularly without being in each other’s way.