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TIPS FOR RENTING A HOUSE
Private accommodation in general
Member Name: milly234
Private accommodation in general
Advantages: can be fun, you grow up,
Disadvantages: expensive, disagreements
I have been renting the same house with some friends for a little over 18 months and my contract runs out in the summer. This is just going to give you some tips and hints which express my opinions and views on renting private student accommodation and can maybe help some students looking for their first house-share.
1st tip - START EARLY
In most big student cities, you really need to decide who you are going to live with and where you want to live quite early in the year, with most places being chosen in January/February. There are some dives out there so make sure you and your friends are happy with where you are choosing. I first started looking in about January in my first year for the house for the second year but it can be a quite quick, pressurised week/two, especially if you are after a house that does look really good and lots of people might want after viewing. Some landlords will hold houses for you for 24 hours and this is good but really there is not a lot of time. You also need to have the money for a deposit around this time; (usually about 1 months' rent) so make sure you budget for this!
2nd Tip - CHECK THE CONTRACT
At my uni there is a contract checking service as well as a list of pre-approved landlords. This is great as it is a new experience to most people and it can be a bit daunting, especially when you don't know what to look for in a legal document. Make sure that the contract is ok and doesn't have any clauses where you can be liable for other people's non-payment of rent etc -> you never know what some people that you think are your friends are capable of. You also need to check if you need to pay rent over time when you might not be living there, and you need to check when you can move in, and how quickly/how you could get out if you needed to.
3rd Tip - DON'T SETTLE FOR THE FIRST HOUSE
However boring it might be to set up appointments and all get together and look around houses, it really is worth it. We looked around quite a few before we decided on ours, but it does show you what to look for and how bad some places can be (so how good others are in comparison!)
4th Tip - THE LANDLORD/LADY IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE HOUSE
I really can't stress this enough and I have found that it is a really important thing. I have only met my landlady once but she is always there on the phone and I think renting houses in my area is her main business. Literally every time we have even a minor problem, we just call/email her and within 2 days she has either had it fixed, or has called us back to tell us someone is coming to fix it. Things do go wrong with houses, especially I have found short lease student houses because no one really cares and no one knows how/can be bothered to deal with things. But for example our house, and a different friends both got mice (eww I know!) and we both called our landlord/lady. Mine called me back the same day telling me a guy was coming at the weekend; my friends' landlord came over a few days later with a container of rat poison and just gave it to the girls.
To try and get insight about the landlord/lady, ask the current residents when you look around the house. It is important - trust me. My uni had a list (like I said) of pre-approved house owners, so maybe look into this?
5th Tip - THINK ABOUT BILLS
My house is quite small and this can be annoying when you are used to more space and you need to store your clothes/other things, and have house parties however at least our house is not too expensive to heat. I know friends with massive houses and fully equipped kitchens, and all they do is moan about how cold it is (with the heating on) and how they argue about the overuse by someone else of the tumble drier/dishwasher. I know these things aren't going to be that important or using that much energy but it is worth bearing in mind. It is likely to be the first time you have to pay energy bills yourself so it is worth making them low as possible and not heating massive rooms you don't use. Especially as most student houses tend to be really old and not well insulated.
6th Tip - TAKE SOME DIY/THINGS WITH YOU WHEN YOU FIRST MOVE OUT
All of my housemates and I have found it so useful to have all had little things like a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, some spare light bulbs, some superglue etc with us just around the house. It is the little things but if you really need a hammer, it is kinda hard to think of places you can just go out and get one from without a car or a good knowledge of the local area. We all bought some little supplies with us like this and they have pretty much all been used.
7th Tip - THINK ABOUT THE AREA
My house is not in the best area at all but it is only 1 minute walk from the main road, so I always think that if I was on my own at night/it was dark and scary, I would be able to walk/run home (maybe not in 6inch heels but you know, I could hobble...) home really quickly if I needed to. Some of my friends live in bigger, nicer houses but they are really far from the main roads and I wouldn't like to be there walking for 15-20 minutes on my own as they still aren't in nice areas.
8th TIP - LIVING IN THE HOUSE
So, you've chosen the house, paid the deposit, packed your bag full of screwdrivers and glue and moved in. Whats it like? I have enjoyed most of my time in my house although there have been some fallouts and some annoying people/times. First things first you need to make sure that everyone has the same idea about things (should probs do this before you chose who to live with!) i.e. If you love a good party and everyone else is a clean freak, it might be hard for you to throw massive parties. Also if some people are too clean or not clean at all, this can be hard to live with. They say you never know someone properly until you've lived with them, so make sure you chose wisely and remember, if you're not having a good time/you fall out for definite, you only have to live there for about 9 months.
Anyways, I think that's it but feel free to add some tips into the comments box if you can think of anymore!! I hope this is useful to someone
Summary: Dont make mistakes!
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