Most students choose to move into a house or large flat with a number of fellow students. Living with people of your age can be fun and a great experience. It also reduces living costs, since they are shared among all tenants. However, characters are different and you might not always get along well with your housemates.
Sharing the same roof can often be surprising as it reveals people’s irritating little habits: some people have a strong aversion to cleaning up the kitchen after cooking; others might not know how to operate a vacuum cleaner. Then there are those who occupy the bathroom every morning for far too long, especially when you’re in a hurry. Turning your living room in to a club three times a week, discussing who is next to buy shared supplies and the constant presence of your housemates partners are further points of potential "disagreement".
But that’s only one side of the story. Sharing a house with friends can also be brilliant, offering you the opportunity to experience and share your own property; mostly, people spend a great time together. One just has to take care and consider some basic advice. Most importantly: don’t rush into sharing a house with people you don't know really well. If possible, take some time and think whether moving in with certain people is really a viable option for you.
Signing a contract too early can leave you tied to sharing with people you don't really want to, and if you all fall out before you are due to move in, you may not be able to get out of your contract. Choose the right people to live with and chances are good that you all will enjoy sharing the same home. Spend time, before signing anything, discussing what you all want out of your year as housemates.
Before you pick a property, you should inspect your potential new home as closely as possible. Don't just sign up for a room because the landlord is offering a free case of beer or because it is next door to your mates!
Use our Accommodation Checklist to ensure that you find a student room that will be safe and meet all your needs. Keep in mind that rent for a whole year is a massive drain on your funding and you will be spending loads of time there. Choose wisely for a hassle free year. Even if you follow this list, the best reference for the property and landlord will come from the current tenants. Try to speak to them without the landlord there, get a true picture of what it is like to live in the property, and whether the landlord has been prompt in responding to requests for repairs etc.
Is the house in a convenient location for pubs, shops and the campus?
Are there good public transport links? Can you get home safely?
If you have agreed anything verbally with the landlord, whether it be additional furniture, repairs or dates to pay rent, please make sure you get these in writing and signed by the landlord.