Having lived in a student accommodation perilously myself I feel I am fully equipped to provide a basic guidance and reminder of the pitfalls that come with it. Importantly though it also gives us a heady dose independence away from home which results in sleeping in ungodly hours and partying and doing things you would never dream of doing otherwise. First year students at University can normally live in Student Halls but for 2nd and 3rd years it’s a student house/flat etc.So the idea is simple. Find a house with friends or with strangers and agree to live in the house for a duration of time. Sign a tenancy agreement. Pay a deposit and your rent and bills every month and then move out when your tenancy expires.
A tenancy agreement can be a single tenancy or a joint one. As the name suggests the single one is for each individual residing in the house and the latter is a joint tenancy binding everyone living in the whole house. So if someone changes their mind and does not want to live in the house in a joint tenancy and you have signed one then you will be responsible as a whole house to pay rent even for the person who left unless you find someone else to replace them or your land lord comes to a different agreement.
It is also important that you check how long your tenancy agreement lasts. The ideal one for a students only living in the accommodation in term time would be around 9-10 months starting from September to May-June. However, you may find that most land lords do longer tenancy agreements and if you wish to continue with the same accommodation the following year at Uni they may offer you half rent for the summer. Where you don’t want to be is tied to a 12 month contract paying full rent. An extreme case I have come across is that of my friend paying full rent for 12 months on one property and also as he wanted to move into another house from Sept he is also paying half rent for 2 summer months in the other property. So he is paying July and august rent for 2 houses and the worst part is that he isn’t even living in them in the summer months. So yes, it is important to know the duration of your tenancy. Make sure you also read important clauses in your tenancy agreement such as what to do if your gas or heating break down and who to call etc. There should also be fire blankets and clear exits in case of a fire.
The other important thing to do is to browse! Look around at a lot of properties. Even in the same area house prices vary from 60-110 quid a week. So don’t stick to the first house you see or a house that your friends like because there could be a better deal for you somewhere else. You should also look at the distance of the property from the University Campuses and libraries, the train and bus stations, high streets and local takeaway and corner shops. Some properties also come with all bills included and others without bills included so you need to work out the costs for these as well in your over-all housing budget.
Once you sign your tenancy agreement you also have to pay a deposit. This is normally 1 and a half months rent and you will get this back once your tenancy expires and you vacate the premises, providing you haven’t botched up the house that you live in. Some responsible land lords place deposits in a government deposit scheme whilst others don’t. But before you pay this make sure you take photographs of the room and house that you are moving into. Otherwise land lords levy charges on you for stains in the carpet or a broken window which could already have been there when you moved in.
You should also try to live with people who have similar tastes to you. One of my housemates constantly brought friends over and partied till dawn even in exam time, hence we were constantly at loggerheads with one another. Being Nepali I also like cleanliness and in a student house this has been a dream hard to achieve but if a regular cleaning Rota is derived then this shouldn’t be such a big problem. So this article is relevant to you have a whale of a time at University! Try to remember you are there to study too!