So many students here at UEA live off-campus, and most of them will tell you that it comes with lots of excitement alongside a variety of obstacles to overcome. However, there’s no need to worry. I have put together some of my “must-read”, essential tips for anyone thinking about living off campus, and for those of you already doing this, it won’t hurt to have a peak at the list below, some of the tips could really help to make your lives a little easier.
Get your tenancy agreement read through by advice(su). The advice team here at uea(su) can make sure that everything looks as it should and can give you lots of advice and information on deposits, the responsibilities of your landlord, and your legal rights. Find out more about everything advice(su) has to offer in terms of housing by clicking here.
- Know when your bin collection day is and set an alarm on your phone to remind you. You don’t want to be the only house on the street sending a waft of last week's dinners to your neighbours because you missed your bin collection. Check your bin collection day by clicking on the link here. You can also order any new bins you are missing, such as a food waste bin, by using the same link.
Break the silence with your neighbours. All it takes is a little “hello” note or a knock at the door. Good neighbour relationships can break down barriers and make living off campus so much easier, so make an effort to get to know the people you live next to within a few weeks of moving into the area. The Good Neighbour Scheme is a great way to show you are committed to good relationships with your neighbours. You can sign up or just simply get some more information on the scheme here, make sure you check it out.
- Clean as you go. If you’re moving from campus accommodation, you will soon be far from the comfort of having your bin emptied, your kitchen cleaned, and your room hoovered. All of these things will feel like a chore but try and clean as you go (especially with washing up) to keep a happy relationship with your house mates. Alternatively, you could always create a cleaning rota for your house.
Register for council tax exemption, if you can, to reduce unnecessary costs by clicking here. For more information on this just email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Norfolk County Council website.
- Moving in- check that you know how everything works and ask the agent/landlord any questions before they leave so that you are not having to chase them up later to ask how the shower works. Also, if anything needs fixing, make sure to tell them as soon as you notice it, your future self will thank you for it.
Try to keep your volumes at a reasonable level as this could be an important part of maintaining a good relationship with your neighbours. For example, keeping the partying indoors rather than in the garden can be a great way to keep the noise levels a little lower. Whether its music or having friends round,also make sure to let your neighbours know that they can come and tell you if you’re being too loud.
- Living off-campus definitely adds a new level of responsibility, and part of this is sorting out your own bills. Bills can be a real source of friction in a shared house and you will often have to compromise. My advice would be to explore your options, think about it in advance, and talk collectively with your household to come to a way of handling the bills that works for all of you. You want to be able to trust your housemates and if this is the case, you could set up a house account that each housemate pays into so that the bills are spread equally. Alternatively, you could make sure that each housemate has a bill coming out of their account so that it is fair for everyone. No one wants to be arguing over money.
- Lock it- make sure your house is locked and secure at all times. Don't leave windows wide open and make sure you lock the door when you’re out. Don’t rely on other house mates to do this for you.
Come and talk to me! If you have any queries, then please do feel free to email me at G.email@example.com, or pop into Union House for a chat.
I hope these tips make living off campus as easy as possible for you. For any more information about living off campus, why not book an appointment with advice(su) now and get started!