Finding a second year house is something that you’re never really prepared for. Once you’ve found the house you’re also left to adult responsibilities like bills! I am going to give you some tips into looking for a second year house as well as tell you about the great support that the university offer!
Start looking early
Once you’ve settled into university life, start to think about who you’d want to live with in your second year. These can be current flatmates, course mates or even your society friends. Make sure that you have a solid group of friends that you know you’re still going to want to live with in a year’s time! Most estate agents stagger their properties across December to March so don’t worry if you don’t find one before the new year! However, by just starting to look early, we managed to establish what we did and didn’t want. It also gave us a chance to really make sure we all wanted to live together and if anyone was going to drop out, it gave us time to look for someone new!
Establish everyone’s requirements/budgets
Guildford is known for being an expensive area to live, therefore establishing budgets is crucial! Remember you’ll be paying for a 52 week tenancy and bills won’t be included in the rent (which it is in student halls). Therefore, second year is going to be more expensive so its crucial to budget in first year so that you can save enough ready for second year. Be realistic on what you can all afford. It’s also key to establish everyone’s personal requirements. A good way to do this is to write a list of wants and needs, then you can make sure you satisfy the list of needs and then if you can, a few off wants list. You all have to agree on the house and make sure that everyone is happy, after all you’re all going to be living there for a year!
University of Surrey Lettings (USL)
The University offer a great service for those that don’t want to find a house through a private site. USL is a very simple and easy process that can find a house within their portfolio that has a low deposit and no need for a UK guarantor. Around February your group of 3-8 have to complete an online application which highlights your budget and desired location. The university will then try and find a house for you to live in and you can then either accept or decline their offer. It’s really good for those that are a bit apprehensive about finding a house. They also offer really great advice if you have decided to find a house privately. They are always there to talk about contracts or raise queries about landlords.
Bills are something that they don’t teach you in school. When we moved into our second year house we were lucky enough that our landlord talked us through everything! Something I wasn’t aware of is that you need to contact the gas, electric and water company to set up an account. Most landlords will tell you the current suppliers so you can switch if you wish. Internet is also something you have to find yourself. Most houses in Guildford tend to use Virgin Media as it has the best signal. Bear in mind that it can take up to a month for your internet to be installed so plan early! Students are also exempt from council tax so you need to email the council with a letter (can be found on your Surrey Self Service) to show them that you’re exempt. Also, don’t forget to register to vote at your new address!
Finally, don’t panic! You will find somewhere to live, you’re not going to be homeless! House hunting is stressful for everyone but is also very rewarding. It will give you key skills for when you have to house hunt again in the future. Just enjoy the experience and look forward to living in your new house. Remember, the university is always there to offer support to you!