Having survived student halls, you probably think that you’re fully prepared to move into your first student house but living in a student house is a whole new experience. Student houses can bring up issues when it comes to student bill splitting, deposits, and other housing problems – so it’s best to be prepared.
1. Take photos of everything
When you first move into your student house, take photos of every room. You should have clear images of any damage such as peeling paint, dents, or issues like mould. Make sure your photos have a date stamp on the image to prove it occurred before you moved in.
Many students have disputes with landlords and estate agents over deposits. In fact, 30% of student tenants say they have been unfairly cheated out of their deposits. Challenging your landlord can be extremely difficult when you don’t have proof, so it’s always best to protect yourself by taking photographs of the property before you move in.
2. Make sure the house is safe
Student houses can be a bit old and tatty, but they should be hygienic and safe as a bare minimum. When you view the property, lookout for signs of issues like damp spots or faulty wiring. If you’re not sure what to look for, then ask your mum or dad to look around the property with you as they should have a better idea of what to expect.
If you have already moved into your student house and notice an issue, then report it to your landlord or estate agent straight away. They should arrange an inspection and have repairs carried out quickly.
3. Decide how to split the bills
Chances are, your bills will no longer be included in your rent meaning you will be responsible for paying them. Most student houses require the following utilities: gas, electricity, water, TV license, and student broadband. Make sure you check what utilities you are responsible for paying each month.
You also need to have a conversation with your housemates and decide how you are going to split the bills. Most students split the utility bills equally between the people who live at the property. You can use our bill splitting app to ensure that your utility costs are split fairly. Choose a designated ‘bill organiser’ who is responsible for managing the bills in your student house.
4. Learn how to take meter readings
You must take accurate meter readings as soon as you move into your student house or you risk being charged for energy or water that was used by a previous tenant. You should then submit regular meter readings to your energy provider, usually every 2 to 3 months. If you are unsure how to take an accurate meter reading, then contact your landlord or estate agent for advice.
5. Have a cleaning rota
Nothing is more frustrating than coming home to a pile of dirty dishes. No one wants to live in a messy house and it’s easy for arguments to brew when household chores aren’t shared fairly. The easiest way to keep your house tidy is by setting a rule that everyone cleans up after themselves prime example being to do the washing up after you’ve used dishes.
When it comes to communal areas like the lounge and bathroom, we recommend that each person should be responsible for cleaning a portion or room that is shared. If you feel that one housemate is not pulling their weight when it comes to household chores, then sit down and discuss it with them rather than getting frustrated and making passive-aggressive comments.
6. Keep your garden tidy
Student houses rarely have big gardens, but you need to remove any weeds that appear and keep your garden area tidy. Garden maintain is usually the tenant’s responsibility and you risk losing some of your deposit if you don’t keep on top of it. Buy yourself some gardening gloves and basic gardening tools like secateurs and a rake.
Living in a student house is a fun experience and an important part of uni life. However, renting student accommodation doesn’t come without its difficulties and you may experience issues such as disagreements over the payment of bills and deposit disputes with your landlord. These tips will help you prepare before you move into your student house and avoid any trauma!