As most existing students at Southampton know, the hysterical panic that letting agencies create over housing for next year is well underway. For many first years this will all be a new and daunting prospect, so read on for some honest advice and a few key tips about a process that has the potential to cause problems if you’re not house-savvy.
Check out SASSH – Southampton Uni’s accredited accommodation site. The state of your prospective house and the reliability of the landlord that rents it out are VERY important. Uni approved landlords can be found here, as well as important safety advice regarding contracts, deposits, inventories and more. It’s better to be well informed and be savvy while you’re going for viewings, so that you can ask the right questions and don’t end up getting stung later.
DO NOT PANIC. Letting agencies in Southampton love to scaremonger, telling you all the good houses will go if you don’t get in there fast. They want you to sign that contract for their commission and will try to instil a sense of urgency to commit to the house, but only sign the contract when you are one hundred per cent sure… you can check out the agencies that students named and shamed as the worst here. Many of you will have received flyers in your halls of residents about housing and while it is important to start considering who you may or may not want to live with, the essential thing is not to rush in to anything too quickly. If you decide too quickly and make a panic decision, you could end up living with people you grow apart from (or, even worse, fall out with).
Don’t be wowed by first impressions. A student I know from Leeds Met had a truly awful experience with his second year house. He got pressured into living in a house that he didn’t like, because his housemates liked the fact that there were showers in all of the bedrooms. One word: DAMP. Before he knew it the ceiling in his room partly collapsed due to a lack of proper ventilation. So, don’t be wowed by false appearances, and most of all, if you don’t feel comfortable, do not feel forced into signing for a house that you do not like…Peer pressure is not cool.
Be thorough. Go on recommendations from previous students, have a thorough look around the properties you are interested in, and talk to the current tenants about any problems they have had. Location is something you also need to feel comfortable with. If you don’t have a bus pass or a bike, it’s not a great idea to live half an hour walk away from campus; and besides, on those rainy hungover mornings you can roll out of bed and make the five minute walk to your lecture. Some of us aren’t man enough to live on Gordon Avenue, Tennyson Road or Belmont Road.
Any vital tips we’ve missed? Let us know in comments! If you want any more housing advice, SUSU are holding a Housing Fayre until 5pm TODAY – check out details of the event .