House Hunting, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
When the time came to house hunt my housemates and I thought we knew it all and would be fine doing it by ourselves, but we were so wrong. Here is what went wrong for us and how to avoid making the same mistakes:
1. The "this is the best option we have" trick
I have noticed that housing companies really make you feel pressured to choose a property and sign the contract as quickly as possible. I remember being showed ‘the best house’ they had to offer us apparently, they also said that there was another group coming to view it that afternoon, so we really felt the pressure to take it. The rooms were too small, even for a wardrobe and desk in many of the rooms, but we thought it would do. It was a very crowded year for us to say the least.
This really isn’t how it has to be. There are dozens of housing companies and plenty of houses in Leeds suitable for Leeds Beckett students, so keep looking till you find the right one.
2. Tenancy Agreements, Know Your Joint liability from Your Single Liability
This was our biggest issue when living in a student house and it is a serious one. Our house was shared between four of us however one of our house mates left the house and didn’t tell us they weren’t planning on paying their rent. This then snowballed as the tenancy agreement we had signed was for joint liability so responsibility for the rent fell to us as the remaining tenants. We took this to court but it’s unlikely we’ll get our money back. Avoid this sticky situation by only signing a contract for individual liability, that way your only ever responsible for your share of the rent.
The Students' Union offer a free contract checking service, just email your unsigned contract to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will make sure there are no hidden surprises.
3. House Mates and Making Sure You Stay Mates
Living with your mates in a house all to yourself may sound like a dream, however it can easily become a nightmare. Little bad habits they have might build up and genuinely stress you out or create a negative vibe. In my experience, I thought my housemates’ habit of leaving their half-finished cups of tea on the side wouldn’t bother me, but when everyone is feeling the pressure of uni, it can become too much and a dirty cluttered kitchen could be the tipping point.
Make sure you consider who to live with carefully and set some house rules so you don’t step on each other’s toes.
Get House Hunting Help from Unipol
It may seem a like a daunting process, but it really doesn’t have to be. And lucky for you, Unipol can help. They’re a housing charity that assists students find great houses with trusted landlords. Here are a few ways in which Unipol can help you:
- Searching properties
Unipol has an easy to use website which will bring up all the available properties that match your requirements. This way you won’t need to stress when a company tells you this is the last option, as it really isn’t.
- The Unipol Code
Unipol ensure that all of the properties they have on their system are approved by them and match their values. Their key values being; trustworthy, impartial, ethical, transparent, provide value for money, ensure safety/wellbeing and to promote a sense of community.
- The Notice Board System
Use the Unipol notice board to post and search vacancies in student housing. Useful if you need to fill a room or are just looking for a single room in a house with others rather than an entire house.