After surviving halls, viewing 30 houses and buying the whole of IKEA, you feel fully prepared to move into your student house. However, it is no secret that landlords and estate agents are often the cause of many real-life nightmares, especially for students. So to help others avoid the trauma that I experienced, here are my best 10 pieces of advice for anyone about to move into their first student house!
1. Take photos of EVERYTHING
When you first enter your property, take a camera with you that has a ‘date’ feature. Or, you can use your iPhone and see the date in the Get Info section. Go around the whole house and take photos of every room, with a date stamp on the photo. Of course, pay particular attention to anything that is an obvious problem e.g. mould or damage (and report these straight away!). Having clear, detailed photos of the whole house will help your case if any other issues arise during the course of your tenancy.
2. Write a detailed inventory
Seriously, write it like you’re getting graded on it. List absolutely everything that is in the house before you move your stuff in. When I left my second year house I got charged for the removal of a lamp that was there when I moved in, because I didn’t list it in the inventory… really.
3. Use a second pair of eyes
Before signing anything, make sure you get someone else to read over what you’re agreeing to. Sometimes the excitement of having your first house with your friends causes your judgement to be a little hazy. You can end up signing your life over to your landlord for the next 15 years.
Slight exaggeration- but always have someone else look over the T’s & C’s, whether it’s your parent or your friend who studies law. Gif source
4. Learn how to take meter readings
Once you’ve done this you are officially an adult, it’s scientifically proven. And it will ensure you don’t get overcharged for your energy bills.
5. Buy some gardening gloves
The ‘garden’ that my house had was approximately 6 slabs of concrete with a 3-foot wall around it, but I still managed to get charged for not clearing up the weeds that somehow found a life source in there. Buy some gloves and keep your garden tidy, it’ll save you money in the long run!
6. Talk to your landlord and/or estate agent
As much as they probably won’t be your favourite people ever, the more you communicate with the people overseeing your tenancy, the easier it will be. Inform them when things aren’t working or if anything changes regarding your personal situation. They want the tenancy to run as smoothly as you do!
7. Buy toilet roll in bulk
Trust me, in a shared household it runs out fast. Either take it in turns to buy it or all chip in to buy packs of 50, you’ll need it.
8. Have a designated ‘bills organiser’
But please, help them out! Having been the lead tenant, I know that it's much easier for one person to sort the bills, but it's even easier when everyone cooperates. Transfer the money on time and nobody’s water will be cut off mid-shower.
9. ALWAYS reply in the group chat
Don’t be the person who doesn’t reply when someone has forgotten their key or is in desperate need of a bottle opener. The group chat is essential for all discussions, advice, food negotiations and the occasional passive-aggressive comment when no one has washed the pots…
10. Clean the oven
Just do it. You’ll thank me one day- clean the oven.
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