Living in Private Accommodation- Rusne's Story
Personal Experience of Living in Private Accommodation
For the last few years of University, I have lived in private accommodation, moving to new places every year, so I had a lot of experience with the good and the bad. There were a few struggles along the way however the positives outweigh the negatives!
Let’s start with the things that I struggled with:
- Finding the right house with other people
This was the biggest issue that I’ve come across every single year. When looking for a house with other people, you soon understand that everyone has a different budget, different needs and opinions, and wants the best room in the house. So, there were many times when I wanted to quit the process, go live with someone else, or just give up and take the smallest room (which I did one year and was very unhappy about it because I got pushed into it). My advice? If you’re going through the process, set the boundaries early in the process – discuss the budgets, what exactly you need in the house (en-suites? Double room? Single room?) and be very specific about what YOU want. This will hopefully prevent any future issues when it comes to picking rooms in a new house and no one wants the smallest one.
- Looking after the house
Chances are, you won’t know how clean your friends really are, until you live with them! Remember that everyone in the house will use the same communal spaces – living room, kitchen, shared bathroom, bins. So, if you don’t want to end up looking after it alone, set a schedule early on! Do a weekly rotation, so everyone gets a different job every week. Me and my housemates use sticky notes for this, so once you’re done with your task for the week, you simply move the sticky note to the next person. Make sure you keep this in a very noticeable place too – e.g., the fridge! The most common issue is that people don’t care about it and don’t follow the schedule. Unlike living in the accommodation, there is no one to solve the issue, but you. If it’s bothering you, you need to talk about it with that person. Also, if there’s only one person who doesn’t do things, call a house meeting, it may help!
- Parties, different sleep schedules, thin walls…
What I noticed about every house I lived in the past few years - they have thin walls… Your housemates may decide to bring some friends at night, have some drinks, and be loud! Or they may have a different sleep schedule and decide to go about their day in the middle of the night while you’re trying to sleep. Again, unlike living in the accommodation, there will not be anyone coming up to ask them to be quiet (unless they’re so loud, the neighbours call the police, of course), so you will have to be responsible for asking them to stop and, more often than not, look like the bad guy.
- Things stop working all the time
Student houses don’t have the best record of being new, nice and clean. Issues like mould, leaking washing machines or ceilings, damp walls – they often occur which means someone needs to contact the landlord so that things would be fixed. It’s not an issue with your housemates but it will get annoying. My current landlord comes and fixes things half-way, and a few days later, the problem appears again.The biggest struggles of living in the private accommodation is that if something bothers you, you need to be the one talking about it, asking other people to stop/start doing something, which can lead to disagreements and fights. It can be hard living with other people so before you decide to go for it, you need to make sure that you definitely want to live with those people and set the boundaries/expectations early on.
Now, onto the good things:
- Saves money
Of course, the nicer the house is, the more expensive it will be but there is a way to save money. If you have a 4-bedroom house and only 3 people, find another person to live with. When I lived with other people, the maximum I paid for my room was £250 a month! To compare, when I lived only with my partner in a 1-bedroom flat, I paid £425 a month.
- Living with friends
If you choose the right people, it can be really fun to live together! Even in the pandemic, since there’s 5 of us in the house, me and my housemates make up stuff to do. Some of the things we’ve done in the past year - board game nights, Halloween party (treasure hunt around the house), movie nights, Christmas party (secret santa too).
- Overnight guests
Probably one of the best things about private accommodation – no rules on overnight guests. They can stay for a day or a week – there’s no one to sign it off! Of course, would be good to check that your friends are ok with it but usually that’s not really a problem.
Some other things to think about (that are neither good or bad):
Bills are easy. You will have to find out what to do when moving in – this may be that you need to sort out internet (do some research so you get the best deal) and see how the gas/electricity/water work. You can always ask the landlord on how it works! Sometimes you have to top up the gas/electricity card in some store with a card and you have to use cash which can get really annoying. This year, we did some research and switched it to a direct debit tariff so instead of going to top it up, we pay when the bill comes in after a certain amount of time. Once you sort it out, you honestly forget about it!
- The local neighbourhood
Some neighbourhoods aren’t that nice or don’t even feel safe which is important to know when searching for a house. Other than that, I’d say as long as the distance from the house to uni is not too far, you’re good to go. Accommodations tend to be in nice locations which is convenient but everything in Coventry is pretty close and wherever I lived, I never had any issues of something being too far.
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