Who, What, When, Where, & Why of Student Flatting & How you can avoid a diet of 2minute noodles
You’ve flown the coup and decided to take the plunge into the world of student flatting. Brace yourself. The independence is well overdue and you’ve been looking forward to this moment for some time. BUT, before you’ve left the comforts of home and before you start planning the flat-warming take a sec to consider all that encompasses the major change in lifestyle. We hope you’ve saved your pennies over summer. Ideally a part-time job to keep things ticking over nicely. The obligatory course-related-costs stream of income is only going to keep you going for so long in student quarters. Then it’s back to 2-minute noodle dinners which we certainly do not endorse. Read on so you can uphold a porterhouse steak kind of student lifestyle. In reality, this guide will probably allow you the comforts and affordability of Tip-Top bread instead of Budget. One can only dream.
Who are you flatting with?
Chances are you’re flatting with friends from your old school, or perhaps you are with a crew you met in first year hall of residence. Think carefully about who you’re flatting with. You might have those friends who you are happy to party with at the weekend but you couldn’t see yourself living with them all the time. Or the type of friends who you just don’t gel with on a constant basis.
Where are you flatting?
3-and-a-half walls, a patched-up roof, and living conditions to match the thermometer reading in the heart of winter. What more could you ask for? In all seriousness, the student lifestyle is one thing, but staying healthy and surviving the winter should be top priority when selecting your flat. Use this tool to evaluate standard weekly rent amount for properties in your designated area. It gives you an idea to see whether you are paying overs /unders on your place and what areas you could potentially afford to live in, going by market rates. Other key questions to ask include are you moving into a furnished versus unfurnished flat? Are utilities (power, internet) included in the rental agreement? In summary, it would pay to do your research instead of simply jumping into a flat agreement with a bunch of mates.
Rent, Bond, Utilities. Get used to the jargon
Before you even set foot in the flat you will need to pay a bond. A bond is money that landlords will ask tenants to pay as security when they move into a property. Typically, this initial cost amounts to up to 4 weeks’ worth of rent, plus a week or two rent payment in advance. Throw in a letting fee equivalent to another week’s rent and it all adds up in a big way.
Click here for all your bond related queries, from lodging a bond, through to refunding and common bond problems you may encounter.
Your rent is simple enough, in the fact that you have a set weekly amount to be paid to your landlord/property manager. It would be recommended to set this up as an automatic payment. Just a reminder for future reference, missed or late payments such as rent can have an adverse effect on your credit score.
A flat account is a wise decision to help manage a lot of the accessory costs that come with flatting. Perfect for paying irregular utility costs (gas, water, electricity) and for sharing the grocery bill. How this is managed is up to you. Perhaps each of the flatmates deposit a regular amount into the account which is then solely used to pay for the expenses that everyone shares. However you manage this duty, ensure everyone buys-in and pays their fair share for all the costs. You certainly don’t want to break any relationships or friendships over a couple of missed bill payments.
Finally enjoy yourself. Have some fun and experience the highs and lows of the freedom that student flatting allows you. And make sure you go to class.