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University - Life After Halls of Residence

Hi Everyone,
Although it took me a while, I am happily settled back at Uni. After being home for 4 months, doing my own washing, cooking and shopping has been challenging, but I can’t thank my amazing Mum enough for taking care of me this summer … never take home comforts for granted!

Sorting out accommodation for this year has not been fun or easy, so here is a little advice about finding a house or flat for second year, and working out the bills and payments with your friends.

1) Start looking for second year as early as possible!
You may feel as if you’ve just arrived, but when it gets to November, I would recommend starting to think about finding a house or flat for second year, as far away as it may seem. My house was sorted before Christmas and starting early meant we had first pick of everything on offer and found a perfect 4-bedroom house in an amazing location for a great price through a student letting agency. While some people laughed and said “we have ages yet, it’s only November”, they were the ones who struggled to find somewhere and sort out the initial payments during exam time, so believe me, the year comes around unbelievably fast, so you want to be sorted ASAP.


2) Use a student letting agency and be firm and clear!
I was recommended to go through a student letting agency to find a house for second year instead of going through private accommodation and I would pass on that advice to any other students. Student letting agencies have a great deal of experience, the most competitive prices and they are reliable. Once you’ve found a house, make certain that the agency are crystal clear about the payment schemes and if the bills are included in the rent price or not, as sometimes their advertised prices can be non-inclusive of bills. Ask for copies of every document sent to you and check everything with your parents before you sign on the dotted line.    


3) Do your research and find out what’s the best bill payment method for you and your housemates!
It is so important to research and discuss your bill and rent payments. We decided to use a utility management company to oversee all our bill payments for us every month. However, be wary, because although it’s easier and saves a lot of confusion, it’s marginally more expensive and you may be tied to their chosen utility providers.  If your previous tenants used other providers, the switch over for gas and electric can take up to 6 weeks, so get it sorted before summer … you don’t want to end up on an emergency tariff! Some people decide to set up a joint bank account and transfer their part of the payment over, and then one person is responsible for sending that forward to the relevant providers.  As long as someone doesn’t mind taking on that responsibility then that might be the option for you.

Remember, research all options and ask lots of questions to make sure you’re fully aware of all payments and payment deadlines … in fact, I would recommend making a payment calendar so you can clearly see what money is going where on which day.
 

Friday, 12th October 2012

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