One year ago, I was in your shoes, and I thought until a few days ago that I was forever done with the prospective-housemate-interviews, the phone calls to landlords who claim this to be the worst ever year for renters, the endless trapsing from property viewing to property viewing, and excel spreadsheet-google doc hell – and yet here I am again. So, from one victim of the University of Exeter student housing rush to another, here is my fool-proof guide to student housing that helped me to survive last year and will hopefully help you too.
Most importantly: never let the craziness get to you. It’s intimidating to hear a friend say they’ve already sorted a house out, when you haven’t even started looking for people to move in with, let alone booked any viewings or wrestled with any landlords. It’s a big decision to make, but never allow yourself to make knee-jerk decisions under pressure – last year I remember sitting on the edge of my bed in East Park and trying to persuade a landlord to let me sign the contract on a house over the phone, despite having just one other person to fill the six-bed house. We’d find other people afterwards, I said. Funnily enough, the landlord did not agree.
It’s a big decision to make, but never allow yourself to make knee-jerk decisions under pressure.
Popping the question is difficult – “Hey, we’ve only known each other for three weeks, but would you like to be contractually obligated to spend one tenth of your life so far with me?” It’s ridiculous, really. But I’d recommend choosing people who make you happy (who are hopefully tidy and low maintenance too), whether you know them from your current accommodation, course or societies – and then after you’re sorted, never stop putting your energy into meeting new people.
And remember, you aren’t alone – finding housing is a mission for most students, not just Freshers. I’ve learned that it’s with who, not where you live that really counts – single or double glazed, bills included or not, from Mount Pleasant to Penny Road, student housing does not define your university experience. So good luck and happy house hunting!