It may only feel like five minutes since you were a wide-eyed fresher moving into student halls. But before you know it, the academic year will fly by and you’ll need to make the all-important decision about where you’re going to live next year.
Tenancy agreements, inventories and deposits might seem like foreign terms now; however, quickly you’ll need to be clued up on the lingo of the renting world.
Here at TSN, we’ve given you a helping hand with a list of seven things you need to think about before moving out of student halls.
Probably the biggest (and potentially most stressful) decision you will need to make. Who do you want to live with?
Most students choose to live with existing flatmates, course mates or fellow society members - but it’s wise to wait until second semester before making any hasty judgements on future housemates.
Think about the qualities you want in a fellow housemate before signing any contracts. Getting a good balance of compatible personalities gives you the best chance of a drama-free household. For a list of housemates to avoid, check out our guide to the 7 housemates from hell.
Student halls are normally right at the heart of campus, or at the very least a rolling distance from lectures. Perfect for hitting that snooze button for as long is humanly acceptable.
Second year accommodation is a whole new ball game. You can still opt to live near campus in privately rented accommodation; however, if your university is based in the town centre expect to pay premium prices.
Alternatively, houses and flats off campus offer lower rental costs but don’t forget to factor in the expense of weekly travel fees, especially if your commute involves a bus or train journey.
Both have pros and cons to be considered, for more advice read our complete beginners guide to student accommodation.
One word of advice: make sure you attend house viewings! It’s also a good idea to view the property more than once if possible. The more you visit somewhere, the more likely you are to spot any potential problems.
When viewing properties, speak to the current occupants for their opinion on the house, area and landlord. It could bring up questions/issues that you hadn’t previously considered.
Before leaving, take a walk around the surroundings to get a feel for the area. Where’s the nearest supermarket? Is there a bus stop close by? It is a popular student area? These might not seem like top priorities now but they soon will once you move in.
Before moving into shared student accommodation, you need to be aware of the different types of tenancy agreements available. Read our 8 Simple ways to prepare for renting guide for a full overview of contract types.
Generally, student housing contracts are either joint or single tenancy agreements. But be warned if you sign a joint tenancy, all housemates are liable for any issues.
Some contracts also demand guarantors and deposits (normally one month in advance) so ensure you’re completely happy with the contract terms. And always get an inventory detailing the household contents when you move in.
Congratulations, you’ve signed your name on the dotted line! Time to think about the practicalities…what happens over summer? Well, that all depends on your contract length.
Unless you sign a 52-week contract, you’ll need to find alternative accommodation during the summer. This may involve moving back home or renting temporary accommodation over the holidays. Where possible we’d recommend staying at a friend’s place to get a cheaper deal.
Also think about how you’re going to move everything between your accommodation. If you’ve packed everything except the kitchen sink, you’ll need to hire a car or van to help you with the big move.
Utilities and Bills
That’s right – thinking about utilities and bills suddenly becomes a thing when you leave halls. In shared accommodation, it’s vital you lay down some ground rules on dividing the bills and how payments will be made.
Students are exempt from council tax, but you will still need to sort out the main utilities; including gas, electricity, water and internet access - contact providers and haggle the lowest deal possible. For some top tips on how to save money on bills here.