Surviving in a Private House

Third Year Geographer, Jack shares his tips for surviving in a private house! 

First year is complete and now the hard work really begins! For many of you halls will have been the first time you’ve lived anywhere away from home and thanks to Halls Hotline, Campus Security and a general sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ hopefully it was a pretty seamless transition into a more independent lifestyle. Now you’ve moved out of halls, picked your housemates and (hopefully) secured a house for next year – but what’s it going to be like? I’m going to share my do’s and don’ts to help you survive in private housing!

Do’s:

· Introduce yourself to your neighbors: Your neighbors are sort of like ghost housemates – you’ll probably rarely see each other but if, like my house, your walls are about as thick as a sheet of paper, you’ll certainly hear each other. Get in the good books early and say a quick hello.

· Sort out the best energy and Wi-Fi suppliers: Energy and Wi-Fi (unless agreed in your contract) are up to you to sort out. Have a search around for the cheapest and best student deals – my advice: gas is gas and water is water no matter what you pay; the same attitude with Wi-Fi however will leave you red-faced when you’re reduced to watching a pixelated episode of your favourite show…

· Sort a rota for cleaning: Now, nobody is going to enjoy cleaning the toilet and if they do, please send them my way, but it’s a necessary job that needs to be kept on top of. Sort a rota early of who cleans what and when, to avoid needing an industrial biohazard suit around March.

· Sort out standing orders for rent and utilities: Sorting out a standing order means you don’t have to worry about paying every month – it’ll do it automatically – set up an account everyone pays into on a set day. By agreeing a set amount for utilities (include £5-10 on top of expected bills per month to cover incidental expenses, like toilet rolls, washing up liquid and batteries and fluctuation) bills will also be covered.

Don’ts:

· Leave the washing up: The bugbear of all university houses – a sink that looks more like a game of jenga. Washing your plates up as soon as you’re done with them will have a surprising effect on everyone’s mood and save you having to explain how you accidentally broke your housemates grandmas wedding glass because your jenga skills were certainly not ‘on-point’.

· Wake the street up at 4AM: Going out and having fun is part and parcel of university life, but your neighbour’s won’t take too kindly to being woken up by someone dressed in a bee costume at 4AM, trust me…

· Presume your street share your taste in music: There’s nothing nicer than coming home after a long day and kicking back to some of your favourite songs – just remember whilst you and your housemates may have similar tastes, the rest of the street probably won’t so, if you find yourself questioning whether it’s too loud – it probably is!

· Think the TV license people won’t find you: Many have tried, all have failed. If you’re watching live TV, or some iPlayer style streaming services, you’ll need a TV license. It’s the law!

Living in a private house can be even more fun than halls – follow these simple do’s and don’ts and you’ll be well on your way to an epic second/third year!

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