10 annoyances to expect from your first student house

A new university term is almost upon us (well, a month, but still) and with new learning, comes new housing. You might have already sorted your accommodation, but if you’ve spent the last year wrapped in the cushy blanket that is student halls, you’re in for a few delights this year. Read on for more from Lizzi Hart, a Marketing Assistant at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

1) Everything costs money

Estate agents will charge for anything they can. For instance, you will probably get charged for ‘check-out’ i.e. you leaving the house (I mean, that must cost them so much!). Don’t forget that deposit you’ve already paid – if you ever want to see that again, set aside a good few days to clean your house before you have to leave, because you will have to pay extortionate prices for any ‘damage’ they find.

2) Arguments

If you thought you ‘fought’ in first year, think again. If you thought you were super close in first year, think again. Moving into your first student house can put a strain on any group of friends, as with more concerted responsibility, comes more opinions on how to handle them. Arguments will probably include: when to put the heating on, whose turn it is to clean the loo, and who left a week’s worth of dishes in the bath.

3) Joint bank accounts

A lot of letting agents these days want just one collective payment from their tenants, so now is the time to think about opening a House Account (unless someone’s brave/responsible enough to use their own account). Once the account is open, have everyone make monthly standing orders to the collective pot, followed by a standing order to the estate agents a couple of days before it’s due. Sorted.

4) Bills, bills, bills

You may not have any idea how much bills normally cost, but you’re about to find out! Just be careful during your first month, so when your first bill arrives, you know what to expect for the next few months. Remember: gas bills will be high during winter months; if your water is metered, you pay for what you use – this can be good and bad – and make sure everyone is reasonable with electricity (i.e. no personal heaters or computers on all day every day).

5) Forgetting to pay rent

These things happen, and you just have to deal. So, if one of you forgets, your bank will probably charge you for not being able to fulfil your standing order, and so will the estate agents (oops!). Just don’t continuously be that guy, and your housemates will be happy.

6) Cleaning

Wasn’t it just lovely being woken up at 7am by the uni halls’ cleaners? Well luckily, they’re not around anymore. But now it’s your turn to pick up the mop. My advice? Make a cleaning rota assigning a new task to each tenant each week. If that doesn’t work, suggest that everyone has one job to do every week – then it at least gets done. Plus, if cleaning doesn’t get done regularly, you’ll be waving goodbye to your deposit come next summer.

7) The word ‘communal’

It depends on what type of house you are, but there will probably be a few arguments over what should be communal and not. While milk and tea etc. seem sensible, some of you may not want to contribute towards everyone else’s dairy needs, while others may abuse the communal milk allowance by living off cereal for a fortnight. Start by deciding early on what is shared, and then set aside some petty cash so that anyone can re-stock the depleted supply of ketchup, whenever they need to.

8) House meetings

House meetings are a pretty staple occurrence, especially when big decisions need to be made. These can be painful if you’ve been arguing, or just another get-together if you’re the most compatible group ever. Either way, make tea, have snacks and just try to work through your issues.

9) What comes before Part B?

Sadly the first year cleaners are gone, and a party in your student house actually has consequences. Again, your deposit is at stake here, so take every precaution you can. Place cardboard on the carpets to avoid spills, remove valuables from party areas and restrict access to bedrooms (lock doors if you can). Worth also considering is who your neighbours are, as you should pre-warn them of any parties to avoid any hefty (and very expensive) noise abatement cases.

10) You will get sick of your housemates

If something they did annoyed you in first year, it will be worse in even closer quarters. Maybe you’ve not even lived with some of your housemates before? If so, there will definitely be something that rubs you the wrong way about them. And finally, if you’re a couple, try to avoid co-habiting because it will not end well… for you or your housemates. So how do you deal? Learn to accept your housemates, but if something really bothers you, think about whether it’s reasonable to confront them; if so, go for it, but if not, just leave loads of passive aggressive notes until they get the idea (that was a joke…sort of).

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