Many first years have already signed for a house or have been looking, but if you have not yet found a house, do not panic!
The University of Worcester released the password to studentpad.com on the 12thFebruary. The website lists available student houses and landlords that have been approved by the University, and is a good place to start looking.
The Voice has compiled a list of tips to help University of Worcester students find their perfect student house. Happy hunting!
1. Live with people you like!
Hugh Slater, a first year student who has just signed for a house, says: “Make sure its people you know you can tolerate for a year, possibly two, and who you know you can get along with. If you know you have even one person in the house who is going to disrupt you, that will cause friction for you and the rest of the house.”
A second year student, wishing to remain anonymous, advises against moving in with people that you do not know well: “I only met them once before I moved in, and we should have met up more. We quickly found when we started living together that we have nothing in common and don’t get on. Definitely live with your friends or at least people you know fairly well.”
2. Look early
Jo Ninham, a second year studying Graphic Design, says that she and her housemates looked early for a house: “Look early and look at a lot. Don’t wait for the university to release their website – if you find a good deal, go for it!”
However, SU President KyntonSwingle advises against panicking and quickly signing up for a house that is not very good, out of fear that you might not find a house at all.
“There’s a misconception that if you don’t get a house quickly you won’t get one at all, but there are plenty of houses out there, and more student houses than students. Take your time with it and see as many properties as you can. Ask all the important questions and don’t get bullied into accepting anything by landlords. At the end of the day, you’re the ones that have to live there.”
The location of the house is important too, and second year Drama and Screen writing student Jade King says: “The location of the house is important. A house in St. Johns near to the university is better for getting to lectures and makes it easier to walk back from late lectures. But living in town is better if you go out a lot.”
3. Meet your landlord
Second year students, Jeremy Weighill and Jade King, say they were lucky to have a good landlord.
Jeremy says, “It’s good to meet your landlord. Make sure they’re a reasonable person and are clear on fines and rules of the house.”
Jade adds, “If your landlord seems friendly it should be easier to get on with them, and easier to deal with things that go wrong in the house.”
4. Check the condition of the house
Kynton advises students to check houses thoroughly and ask all of the questions that they need to ask of the landlord: “Ask how much utility bills cost if not included, and the house’s energy rating because that will affect how much you pay for bills. Make sure it’s got things like phone lines for broadband, double glazing, and fire doors.
Check if the radiators are working and if there are enough bathroom facilities for the number of occupants. The best people to speak to are Accommodation. They can help you with a housing checklist.”
Jeremy says, “Make sure the house is in good condition, and check for mould and damp, those are the big ones.”
5. Bills – To be included or not?
Andy Marfell, a third year student, says bills in his house are not included and they have a system to make sure everyone pays their share. “We worked out a system that gives everyone responsibility for the cost of bills and shared items. We have a Facebook group for our house to keep up with it all and so everybody knows when bills are due.”
However, second year student Dan Smyth says having bills included in the rent was essential for him. “Needing as much money as I can get to live off of, it helps when you know exactly what you’re paying for bills. I like that it’s already taken care of and I don’t have to worry about any extra costs.”
6. Read your contract thoroughly
Many students can get stitched up because of things that they missed in the contract. Hugh Slater explains the importance of reading your contract before you sign for a house: “We really liked the first house we saw, but the one we’ve got now had a much better contract. It had less of a deposit, no retainer and we didn’t have to pay the first month’s rent when we signed the contract.”
Kynton warns, “Be careful if the house looks like it needs some TLC, Landlords have a habit of saying they will fix things over the summer, but it doesn’t always get done. If they do say they will make improvements make sure it goes into the contract.”
He says, “You can speak to the accommodation department and get them to go over any housing contracts with you. It’s also a good idea to use Student Pad because all the landlords are accredited and approved by the university.”
Article by Georgie Bull.