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5 Easy Ways to Avoid "Housing Hell"

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Moving house for the first or the fiftieth time can be daunting, especially when you move with people you may not know that well. Have a read of our Adviser’s top tips to make it that bit easier and avoid having to see them during your tenancy…


Do Your Research

It’s easy to think we know what we’re doing and become over-confident when house hunting, but there’s never any harm in brushing up on your knowledge of moving house before you decide to. We have a Guide to Renting written by students for students here:

And the National Union of Students produced a very easy to digest video on what to look for here.


Don’t be Afraid to say “No”

Being friends with somebody and living with them are two very different things- remember you will probably have to share a bathroom if you move in together! It’s okay to want to spend a bit of time getting to know how someone lives before agreeing to live with them, and it’s alright to tell them you’re not a good fit for each other if you think you might encounter issues like your different standards of plughole cleanliness.




 “One of the common issues we see students for advice on is housemate differences. Students move in with people they believe to be their good friends and find out they have different levels of tolerance for various things- noise, drinking culture, mess etc. Mitigate for this happening by putting aside time to get to know your potential roomies early in the year- try a board game night or Come Dine With Me style evening where everyone is encouraged to cook and clean up together and take note of who you click with in a domestic environment as well as those who share your interests.”


Shop Around

Don’t jump to pay the holding fee and rent the first place you see. Speak to different Estate Agents, check the different levels of fees expected from you (they can vary wildly), and see at least a few houses/flats before settling on one. Make sure all of you get the chance to view the property so no one gets a nasty surprise on moving day. Ask the Estate Agents if you can see a copy of the contract or a list of costs you might incur while living in their property- this prevents issues arising out of the blue at the end of the tenancy when they ask for a cleaning fee you didn’t know about.


via GIPH


"The Residential Services Team don't just support students in ARU Student Accommodation- they have a lot of information and tips on exactly this sort of thing on their website. If you do encounter contract or charge issues we always ask if they have visited them as a starting point to answering problems. Another great resource is the Citizens Advice Bureaux."


Discuss Needs and Wants


Speaking of getting everyone in to view the place, make sure you know what you’re even asking for in the first place. Does one of your group not need as much space? Who is hankering for an en-suite and are they willing to pay a bit more? Is there a preference among you for central or electric heating? All of these should be prioritised into “needs” and “wants” to help you find the best place possible and avoid future fall outs. Don’t be afraid to turn down properties that don’t fit your criteria- it’s better to do that than make compromises you might not be happy with 6 months’ down the line when you’re unable to end your contract early.




Brush up on Local Health and Mental Health Resources

Inevitably, when you move in with a person or group of people, one or more of you will go through something tough during your tenancy. Be prepared to be a good housemate and friend by learning where to turn during these times. The university Counselling and Wellbeing Service is a great place to point someone in need, but there are other services you may need. The NHS First Response Service is a number you can call in a mental health emergency, and you may well need to take a trip to Accident and Emergency in the case of a physical crisis.




“Be aware of your new housemates’ usual state- if they prefer alone time you don’t need to worry if they hole up in their room a lot, but if they are usually outgoing and chatty this may be a sign they are experiencing problems. Don’t be afraid to speak to one another and offer help if you think someone could benefit from it. The Advice Service has lots of places we can signpost people, from the links above to other local charities such as Mind, Samaritans, STOP Suicide and more.”

With all that being said, even if you and your housemates follow every tip to the letter, you may still want some independent, free and confidential advice. Book to see an Adviser here.


Upcoming events in Cambridge

Get Ready to Rent Event on Monday 18th February: 10am–1.30pm, Kelsey Kerridge Sports Centre, CB1 1NA

At the event you can to talk to Studentpad registered landlords, agents and private hall providers, as well as get advice from companies about splitting bills, contents insurance, safety, recycling and more. Find-a-Flatmate from the Students’ Union Officer Team will also be at this event, helping you to traverse the tricky path of choosing who to live with.


Upcoming events in Chelmsford

Residential Services are running some Get Ready to Rent info stands over the next few months where you can meet with our House Hunting team to get advice about where to look for accommodation, avoiding scams, recycling and keeping your new home safe. They’ll also be able to let you know about companies that help with simplifying your bills and provide student contents insurance. Get Ready to Rent info stands in MAB Foyer.

  • Tuesday 19 February 12-1.30pm
  • Monday 25 February 2-3.30pm
  • Thursday 7 March 10-11.30am
  • Wednesday 20 March 2-3.30pm
  • Wednesday 24 April 12-2pm


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