Living in Student Accommodation FAQ Watch

04MR17
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If you're looking for a flatmate or advertising a space then Find your flatmates forum is the place to go. Please read this first though: (click here).

Got a question about one university in particular? We have a forum for each of them (click here).
Included here are:

Being a Good Neighbour and getting on with your flatmates
Homesickness and who to deal with it
A student's guide to bills

MEGATHREADS:
Post a picture of your dorm room
I Hate My Housemates :rant:



Do you have any more questions about living in university accommodation? Post them below.
Do you have any experiences mentioned in this thread? Let us know.
Is there anything else you'd like to be added to this guide? :holmes:


See also:
How to make your university room look fabulous.
The Ultimate Guide to Surviving your First week at University
TSR Fresher's HUB.
Ultimate Student Food Tips
TSR Recipe Book
Surviving as a student: Learning to cook

Disclaimer: None of the information or material provided in this thread nor linked from it is original, and credit belongs to the various authors who have contributed to these guides over a period of years.:yep:
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04MR17
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Being a good neighbour - Dos and Don'ts

Here's a couple of tips that can make your first week living with strangers go that little bit more smoothly…

  • Don't blast your music and/or TV - the walls may be pretty thin


  • Try not to hog all the space in the kitchen cupboards, and in the bathrooms if you're sharing them


  • Do Tidy up after yourself – no-one likes a dirty housemate!
  • This includes
    - not leaving kitchen surfaces grubby
    - Don't leave marks on the toilet - horrible as it sounds, it's happened before
    - and the big one DO YOUR WASHING UP :rant:


  • If you bring anyone back after a night out, try to be considerate and keep the noise down - that is the last thing your housemates wish to hear.


  • If several people are in the kitchen, don't crowd the place. You don't want to be fighting for a hob or oven space, while someone else is have to use the microwave because they can't get to the oven and someone else only came in to make a cup of tea. If you see a busy kitchen, stay out of it unless you're nipping in to pinch a biscuit, or to fill your glass of water.


  • However, do tell someone if they're taking ages. If they're spending half an hour in the shower racking up your water bill, or taking 3 hours to perfect a casserole in the kitchen while you're waiting to boil your noodles.


  • If you're making a cup of tea and your flatmates are around, offer to make them one. Politeness goes a long way.



What if a neighbour complains about you? Here's how to deal with a noise complaint.
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04MR17
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Homesickness

How you’ll feel when you leave home is totally unpredictable. Of course, there will be loads of new people to meet and exciting things to try, but sometimes it might feel really tough.
You’re not alone though; everyone gets homesick from time to time and there’s lots you can do to be prepared - here are a few ideas:
  • Have fun with your flatmates
    Little things like grabbing a coffee with your flatmate between lectures can feel comforting when you’re feeling homesick. In the evenings, you could head out to your Union together or check out local bars or pubs. Try anything that gets you together as a group, even if it’s cooking dinner together or starting a new Netflix series.
  • Work the postman hard
    Getting a nice text message or email is one thing, but getting a handwritten letter or a parcel through the post is so much better. It will remind you that people are thinking of you, so make sure your family and friends have your uni address. Get into the routine of sending mail to them, and enjoy all the post you get in return.
  • Get a part-time job
    Working a few hours a week gives you something different to do and can be a great way to have fun and meet new people. Working at the SU’s party nights is a great way to get paid to socialise (minus the hangover the next day), or try looking on jobs sites to see what’s available in your area.
  • Join Societies
    Being part of a small (or large) community of like-minded people where you're engaging in group activities on a regular basis allows you to enjoy university at the times when you could otherwise just be sat in your room. It also creates a balance to studying, or working a job.


Find more ways to fend off homesickness here...

...and how to make yourself at home at uni, here.
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04MR17
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A Student's Guide to Bills and Money

Once you have signed for your house, you need to decide what bills are going to have to be paid? You may have a contract where There are several you should keep an eye out for...


  • Electricity & Gas
  • Water

See links a the bottom of this post for...
  • TV Licence
  • Council Tax
  • Broadband

One way to do household bills is through utilising a platform that can keep track of your household bills and various expenses. There are various apps and services that you can use which all pretty much do the same thing. They work well if everyone in your house uses them and understands them. If someone doesn't though, you may as well forget it.

Another option is a company who will setup all your household bills including Gas, Electric, Water, broadband and TV. All the bills can be easily split between housemates and each bill is shown on your account so you know exactly how much you're spending each month. However, these services usually come at a cost, so if you're going for cheap rather than easy, you're better doing it yourself.

When it comes renting a house, it is very important you stay up to date on these payments. It is best to keep track of exactly when rent payments are due so that no one is left covering the hundreds of £'s their flatmate has not paid. Rent payments can cause a lot of financial stress in peer groups. Tracking on a neutral platform can be a huge help for avoiding household arguments.

When you're talking money you have to be able to trust your housemates.

Extra tips:

  • If you have any meters in your house for measuring electricity, water or gas, note down the numbers on them on the day you get the keys from the landlord. This means that you are not charged for domestic supplies you have not used.
  • If a previous tenant has run up debts for anything you should refer the company requesting money to your landlord or agency who should have their contact details on file.



Electricity & Gas



First thing you must do when you receive your keys is read the meter, take a note of it and keep it in a safe place (just because you phone it in does not mean the supplier won't lose it somehow). You need to then find out who supplied the property. You can do this by looking for any welcome letters, asking the landlord/agency, or phoning MPAS. Make contact with them as soon as possible and register all the students in the house for the date your tenancy started (you are liable if your tenancy started in July even if you don't move in until September). It is important you have everyones name on the account as if there are any unpaid bills you don't want to be getting chased for them.

Have a look around and see where you can get the best deal, websites such as >>>Money Saving Expert<<<will be able to do a comparison for you. Also note some landlords will not let you change supplier, so check your tenancy agreement. While you are switching or before you switch make sure you are not on a standard tariff, there is nearly always a cheaper tariff available, however you may need to register online for certain tariffs. It is also always cheaper to pay by a monthly direct debit, if you do go this way keep an eye on your monthly payments as they may dramatically increase.

The two most common meters found in a property are a general one rate meter where all usage is charged the same and does not depend on time of day, or there maybe an Economy 7 meter. An Economy 7 meter is a two rate meter which counts your usage in the day and night periods separately, these are most commonly found in all electric properties where there are storage heaters and hot water immersion boilers, these take advantage of a cheaper night rate but do have a slightly more expensive day rate. If possible, when on an Economy 7 meter, try and use heavy usage items during the 'cheap' nighttime hours, such as washing machines, tumble dryers etc.

Avoid estimate bills by providing meter readings regularly, at least every 3 months, and most importantly take a meter reading on your last day of tenancy and provide this to your supplier; you don't want to be paying for the next tenants.



Water



Commonly known as the rates, Water bills are sometimes paid by your landlord as part of your rent. You should check this before you move in. It should be stated in your contract.

If not water bills will be cheaper than your paying for electricity and gas, so don't panic too much about having to pay so many bills. The Water company you're with depends on your area (so if you're moving away to university it may be someone different). Scour your providers website for the best option for you and get in touch/use their online system to fix your bills.

In Scotland, water rates are free provided you have registered your student status with the local council. This is usually sorted out in University Halls of residences and only applies when privately renting.

See also...

TV Licence.
Best Student Broadband deals
Finance and Money Management
Student Insurance Guide
Council Tax Exemption
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allL95
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I plan on starting uni September 2019 and would be 24, little worried others might be put off by that... would be much easier for me to be in halls, but my main worry (and my main reason for posting on here) is dealing with flat mates, like I’m worried if they’d be loud/rowdy and that effecting my anxiety, I mean I’m happy for people to socialise and be out drinking & clubbing etc (they’re more than welcome to) but don’t want trouble or to have more trouble with anxiety. But I’m worried if I spend the extra £500-something on a studio I’d risk missing out on socialising and being isolated and worsening depression... I mean I love my own space and time away from people but ya know
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04MR17
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(Original post by allL95)
I plan on starting uni September 2019 and would be 24, little worried others might be put off by that... would be much easier for me to be in halls, but my main worry (and my main reason for posting on here) is dealing with flat mates, like I’m worried if they’d be loud/rowdy and that effecting my anxiety, I mean I’m happy for people to socialise and be out drinking & clubbing etc (they’re more than welcome to) but don’t want trouble or to have more trouble with anxiety. But I’m worried if I spend the extra £500-something on a studio I’d risk missing out on socialising and being isolated and worsening depression... I mean I love my own space and time away from people but ya know
Often universities may offer accommodation for mature students with other students of similar needs. Quieter corridor etc.This isn't always the case though. If you need to be in quieter accommodation due to your anxiety then make this clear when applying for accommodation. Many universities also offer you the ability to request a room move if your accommodation isn't adequate to your standards, or you don't get on with flatmates.
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allL95
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That’s a relief, thank you will ask the accommodations to see if it’s possible. If not like you said I can always move if possible.
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hallamstudents
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(Original post by allL95)
I plan on starting uni September 2019 and would be 24, little worried others might be put off by that... would be much easier for me to be in halls, but my main worry (and my main reason for posting on here) is dealing with flat mates, like I’m worried if they’d be loud/rowdy and that effecting my anxiety, I mean I’m happy for people to socialise and be out drinking & clubbing etc (they’re more than welcome to) but don’t want trouble or to have more trouble with anxiety. But I’m worried if I spend the extra £500-something on a studio I’d risk missing out on socialising and being isolated and worsening depression... I mean I love my own space and time away from people but ya know
I think that it depends on your flatmates. For example, I see my flatmates rarely, they are silent and good. But I think that if you are worried about this, just choose a studio. It shouldn't be a problem to be out of the social life, because you will meet a lot of different people every day. Just don't be afraid to talk with them, and you will definitely find friends.
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limping1105
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Please share your thoughts and considerations when choosing student accommodation in the link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1Gno...it?usp=sharing
We are working on improving student accommodation provision!
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marylson_cariata
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Does working desks for working on take up a lot of space in accomodations and is it useful having them anyway?
Do you find that the desks should be multi-purpose instead of just for working?
What problems do you find with university desks and what do you like about them?
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04MR17
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(Original post by marylson_cariata)
Does working desks for working on take up a lot of space in accomodations and is it useful having them anyway?

Do you find that the desks should be multi-purpose instead of just for working?

What problems do you find with university desks and what do you like about them?
A desk comes as standard in every room, the quality of the desks vary considerably in rooms I've been in. I'd say it's always useful to have them. You can eat off them if your kitchen doesn't have a table, and they're just generally extremely useful. Problems are some desks are too big or small for how people personally want to use them - It's personal to everyone.
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marylson_cariata
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Thanks for the reply the information was very useful
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Life_Order
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Do you recommend anything for people who got a ground floor what you would not recommend to students on the floors above them? Like buying insect spray beforehand? Is there something you can buy as a ground floor person that blocks the view but lets in enough air when you have the window open?

Do UK universities in general have hoovers you can borrow?

What are the advantages of living on the ground floor?
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04MR17
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(Original post by Life_Order)
Do you recommend anything for people who got a ground floor what you would not recommend to students on the floors above them? Like buying insect spray beforehand? Is there something you can buy as a ground floor person that blocks the view but lets in enough air when you have the window open?

Do UK universities in general have hoovers you can borrow?

What are the advantages of living on the ground floor?
Advantages of living on the ground floor are not having any stairs to climb. Unless there's lots of floors in your building (e.g. 4+) it's unlikely that a typical halls "block" will contain a lift so if you're living on the second floor that's 2 flights of stairs for the rest of the year.

Conversely, if you're on the ground floor and outside your window is quite public (especially if you're near the entrance to the building) then you're not going to get a lot of privacy.

As for hoovers, I've been hoovers provided in corridors for halls where the university doesn't provide a cleaning service for people's rooms. If they provide the cleaning they're unlikely to give you a hoover though. This is something that it's best to check with the university before moving in.

Insect spray probably depends on the exact location of the building. If you're staying in a very urban location then the amount of insects around probably won't change much regardless of which floor you're on. If you're in a more rural setting it's a different story.

Not sure about the blocking view thing, sorry. I'm sure something exists for this purpose though.
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Animalstudent
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(Original post by Life_Order)
Do you recommend anything for people who got a ground floor what you would not recommend to students on the floors above them? Like buying insect spray beforehand? Is there something you can buy as a ground floor person that blocks the view but lets in enough air when you have the window open?

Do UK universities in general have hoovers you can borrow?

What are the advantages of living on the ground floor?
I'm not sure if your university would allow it- you'd have to ask. But you can get cling on window film on Amazon that clinches to the window and stops people being able to see in- but you can see out x
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Life_Order
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(Original post by Animalstudent)
I'm not sure if your university would allow it- you'd have to ask. But you can get cling on window film on Amazon that clinches to the window and stops people being able to see in- but you can see out x
thanks i have contacted my uni regarding this but they haven't answered yet

also thanks 04MR17 i will just hope they have hoovers.

I have another question regarding ordering parcels online. Do I have to put something specific in my address and where will my parcel be delivered to when i'm not in the accommodation? The reception?
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04MR17
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(Original post by Life_Order)
thanks i have contacted my uni regarding this but they haven't answered yet

also thanks 04MR17 i will just hope they have hoovers.

I have another question regarding ordering parcels online. Do I have to put something specific in my address and where will my parcel be delivered to when i'm not in the accommodation? The reception?
There is usually some sort of post room/reception. This is where all mail should be delivered to, you won't get any post straight to your door.
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