Moving out of your family house, into student accommodation can prove to be a difficult time for any student. The co-founder of Huru, Thomas Spencer, has written a useful post (below) on steps to consider and follow when moving into rented accommodation. Additionally, if any of you are moving into rented accommodation next year and have no idea how bills work, I would suggest having a look at www.gethuru.com as the website offers a handy service to students, to help with this problem.
Moving out of student halls or your parent’s home into rented accommodation for the first time can be exciting. However, if you’re not familiar with your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, you may find yourself in a bit of trouble when you need to move again. Here are a few tips on what to keep in mind when unpacking your bags.
Step 1: Know what type of contract you are in
Students renting can either have a joint or separate tenancy. If you have a joint tenancy, you all assume the same amount of responsibility. So, if one person moves out or can’t pay, the rest of you may have to pay their share.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy and one of you wants to leave before the contract is up, the landlord may force you to pay the full length of the tenancy.
If you have a joint fixed-term tenancy, the landlord may require that the contract cannot end unless all the housemates leave, which is known as surrender. These are not problems you want to face so make sure everyone knows what contract they have signed.
Step 2: Do an inventory check when you move in
You want to make sure you receive your deposit when you leave the property. To do that, make sure you take a good look for any damages and the overall condition of the house. If there are any problems, record them in the inventory to avoid any problems when its time for you to move out. Take this time to also make sure the house is safe. Check any smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are working.
Step 3: Know how to contact your landlord
Make sure you know which is the best way to contact your landlord, that way you can talk to them about any repairs before they get worse. It is best to choose one tenant to communicate with the landlord to avoid any confusion or oversight.
Step 4: Setting up your student bills
Utility bills can feel overwhelming when you first move in but that doesn’t mean you should stick with the previous tenants’ energy supplier any longer than you need to, because you could be overpaying. Bill management services like Huru make sure to set up all your utility bill; water, gas, electricity, internet etc, into one monthly bill. So now you know how much your utilities are going to cost you and can easily see what your spending with one bill a month.
Most shared houses rely on one person to pay all the bills and everyone pay them after. This can create a lot of arguments if housemates don’t always pay back on time. By using Huru, you can avoid these problems as your student bills can be divided equally amongst your housemates and we send you an email each month with the total cost and your share, allowing you to stay on top of your bills without any extra stress or effort.
Step 5: Setting up your TV license and streaming services
Setting up a new TV or streaming service is likely to be top of your list of things to do when moving into a new home. But setting up a TV license for the first time can be quite daunting because of licensing regulations. Huru can quickly and easily set up your TV license for you and include it alongside your other bills into direct debits and have it split equally between you and your housemates.
With all the choices available, how do you choose what is best for you? One option is to make the most of the free one month offer from Netflix and Amazon Prime. Sign up for that and you can have a free look at what they have for you to watch. Don’t forget about it though if you don’t want to keep the subscription, as they’ll end up charging you. Many sites offer a great breakdown of what popular streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offer so you can make the best decision.
Step 6: Council requirements
As students, you won’t be required to pay any council tax but it will be your responsibility to dispose of your rubbish correctly. It is important you do this correctly so you don’t annoy your neighbours, attract vermin or receive a fine from the council. If you are unsure of recycling or bin collection days in your neighbourhood, make sure to check out Gov.uk for information in your area.
Step 7: Work out your commute
You might be lucky and live right next to campus. If not, then you’ll probably have a bit of a commute. Check out the routes and see what’s available. If you need to use some form of public transport then sort out a discounted student travel card, which could save you big over the year. All these little things add up, so don’t spend more than you have to on your commute.