As a fresher you’ve barely had the chance to venture beyond frozen ready meals and Lime Tree pizza, let alone think about student housing. But suddenly it’s approaching November and you’ve found yourself with your own Rightmove account, knee-deep in disputes about who gets the double bedrooms. And you think to yourself, how did this come around so quickly? But before you start skipping lectures for adventures around Oldfield Park and Combe Down, give this feature a read and see what you could encounter when moving from the security of student halls into private sector accommodation.
First things first, who are you going to live with?
The first thing everyone has to tackle is the logistics of who you’re going to live with. Whether it’s your flatmates, course friends, mates from sports/societies, work friends or the flat downstairs that have adopted you as their 5thmember. There’s loads of options and it could even be a mixture of friends from different groups. So, don’t feel disheartened if you don’t figure it out straight away. It can be a difficult decision as you haven’t been at uni long but sometimes you’ve got to jump in at the deep end and initiate the conversation of housing.
Remember, there’s always the ‘flatmate finder’ events hosted by the uni if you’re struggling to find a group or if you need to fill the fourth bedroom!
Where do you start?
Lots of students tend to panic about their second-year accommodation and end up rushing into a contract they haven’t read properly or paying big agency fees they could have avoided. Don’t be that student!
Although Rightmove and estate agents can be a great way to find student housing (so don’t rule them out!), be aware of agency fees, dates for paying your deposit and actually getting your contract checked – uni can do this for you.
Not to forget, the university’s housing platform ‘Student Pad’ is released at the start of December and displays student housing approved by the university. Some of these also have the benefit of coming without agency fees as they put you in contact with the landlord themselves. It’s worth the wait!
Location, location, location – where are you going to live?
Whilst walking past Arrivals Square on your way to lectures you may have stumbled across a packed U3 dispersing flocks and flocks of students to campus. There’s something to look forward to in second year! But where have they come from?
The U3 is the direct bus to Oldfield Park which is arguably now known as the main student area in Bath. The ward is popular with students for its cheaper rent and its close proximity to town and the Oldfield Park train station. There’s even Moorland Road, where there is pretty much everything you need to survive without trekking into town.
Bus stops for buses to campus and town in Oldfield Park are likely to be walking distance away – but just to make sure, check for your closest one when you view your house. In the first week, Oldfield’s identical streets of terrace houses felt like a maze and somehow my friend and I managed to spend half an hour cluelessly walking around trying to find the bus stop on Junction Road like complete idiots.
There are also other areas in Bath that are inhabited with lots of students. Combe Down is popular for its more modern student residences and cheap prices. Other student digs are in or near to the town centre, which is really convenient for bus stops, Bath Spa train station, shopping and of course nights out. No buses or taxis required!
Ultimately, adapting to travelling to campus is something that you have to consider when looking for your house. Chances are you will not be within walking distance of campus so be prepared to go on a recce to the bus stop and to painfully wave goodbye to £330 out of your bank account for an annual bus pass.
The next step of adulting – BILLS.
Welcome to the next step of adulting! You’re now responsible for paying your own bills.
But it will be fine. If you work together with your housemates and organise when your bills are due, how much they are, and how you’re splitting them then you shouldn’t have a problem.
And there’s many different ways you can do it. You may take responsibility of one bill each, one housemate may volunteer as tribute to have all the bills come out of their account, or you may be with a student bill provider…
BEWARE THE SMALL PRINT – watch out for student bill providers. If you ever need an overwhelming feeling of panic, all you need to do is do a trust pilot search for Huddle and read their reviews. These providers can be worth it if you maybe don’t know your housemates very well, but they are also infamous for praying on naïve students who are new to paying their own bills.
The digs you deserve
If you were fortunate enough to live in a halls with a weekly cleaner, then you’ve got a big storm comin’. However, Eastwood alumni – you’ll probably be over the moon to not be cleaning after 13 housemates this year. Some may find keeping your student house clean easy-peasy compared to halls, whilst some may be welcomed into the nightmare of dividing up chores whilst trying to keep your deposit.
Student houses will never be the tidiest. After all, when we’re not studying, we’re working part-time and when we’re not working, we’re letting our hair down and partying. Houses get messy, but just make sure they’re always at a good standard when your landlords pops round to inspect. The last thing you want is to lose your deposit.
One thing you’ve also got to tackle is sharing chores. Whilst I have one housemate who would happily clean up after everyone, it’s not fair. Sometimes a chore chart has to be crafted and proudly presented on the fridge just to get that certain housemate to clean the bathroom. Always approach gently and hopefully there will only be little disputes about who is doing what. Just watch out for those hungover excuses when you’re cleaning up from the night before!
And whilst you’re making the effort to make sure everything in the house is in check, your landlord should be too! If there’s a problem with the oven or the toilet seat keeps sliding off – TELL THEM! They have a duty to ensure your digs are decent too. Remember: you’re paying for it!
The playground for grown up kids.
It’s an exciting time and you’ll always remember your little house or flat in Bath as the first place you lived independently. This is going to be your new home and a place that you and your housemates can call your own. So, when it comes to starting the process, get excited! Go buy those overpriced fairy lights to jazz up your living room and stock up on booze.
Hopefully this gave you some tips of how to go about the transition from halls to housing. And if you have any questions or concerns get in touch with the uni – they have the power of experience.
Happy house hunting!