So you’ve been away from home for a little bit now, your year in halls has got you feeling like you can conquer anything, but have you really been as independent as you’d like to think? How many times has someone had to help you when you’ve locked yourself out of your room? How many times did your messy pre drinks miraculously disappear by morning? And if you were lucky enough to have lived in catered halls, are you really ready for a life of providing for yourself? Not to worry you though. If I can make it on my own, then you definitely can. Here are my top tips for surviving your first year in your own student house.
It helps to get the boring paperwork out of the way early so you can start actually enjoying your new home. Make sure you have looked over and signed your tenancy agreement, paid your first month’s rent and set up a standing order. You will also need to make an appointment to collect your keys from your estate agent. To do this, you’ll need proof of your right to rent in UK so make sure you have your passport handy. If you drive at uni it’s also worth checking if you need a permit to park on your street. In Newcastle at least, most of Jesmond requires a permit which you can acquire here.
Set up utilities
Your landlord or estate agent should have let the utility companies know that new tenants are moving in but you will still need to create an account with these companies to pay your bills. Make sure you find out who provides your gas and electricity and come up with a system to split the bills when they arrive. One option is for you to create a bank account which you all pay in to. Alternatively, one person could pay the bills and then everyone repay them, or you could use a service such as Glide to arrange a package for you. Make sure you know where your meters are as you’ll need them throughout the year.
Inventory and Deposit
You will be provided with an inventory for the house which you will be required to complete and return to your agent. It’s really important to note down anything wrong with the property (and keep a copy) as this will be used as reference at the end of your contract to determine any damage you may have caused and the return of your deposit. This deposit should be held under the Deposit Protection Scheme so you should have been provided with details of this. If not, be sure to contact your agent as this is vital in ensuring you are treated fairly come the end of the year.
Devise a cleaning rota
As annoying as it was to have Brenda the cleaning lady screaming at us at 7am after a night out, having the bins magically empty themselves once a weeks was pretty handy. Now with no Brenda and a hell of a lot of mess, it’s best to establish a cleaning rota early to avoid any fights that can stem from people not pulling their weight. Chances are you won’t stick to it after week two, but hey, you tried.
Introduce yourselves to the neighbours
Even the most considerate students can be known to make a little bit of noise but locals really appreciate the effort of new students introducing themselves and you’ll often reap the benefits through the year. One of my elderly neighbours threw countless dinner parties with guests who hadn’t figured out her dislike of white wine and, long story short, the “lovely girl across the street” acquired a fairly steady stream of vino. I’m not guaranteeing such fortune but you never know what you’ll get from a little politeness.
Don’t let house issues ruin friendships
For the first time you’ve been allowed to choose who you want to live with but that doesn’t mean petty arguments and personality clashes won’t appear. There will be an overly messy one (sorry, that’s me), there will be an obsessive clean freak, there will be people who were given different levels of responsibility at home so will respond to the new situation in different ways. Try to be as considerate as possible and do your best to address the problems other people bring up and hopefully they will do the same for you. If all else fails, then distance these issues from your friendship as that’s way more important than some literal spilt milk.
I hope these tips have been helpful and that you enjoy your years as a student as much as I have! Any other tips? Comment below!
This post is in partnership with Easiliving. Looking for a student house in Newcastle? Take a look at their extensive range online now.