There comes a point when a cramped dorm room becomes too much to handle. Maybe it's the roommate that bugs you or the lack of laundry services. For some, it's the cost of on-campus housing. In London, the cost of campus housing now exceeds the cost of off campus housing. Students pay as much as 200 to 400 per week for the luxury of only have one or two roommates. For others, the factor is safety. Whatever the reason, it's time to move. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you move off campus.
Prepare for Your Responsibilities
Living off campus is not the same as living in a dormitory. There is no security dedicated to your security, for example. Nor is there anyone who will do your laundry, clean up after you, or feed you included. On the other hand, there's also no one to tell you that it's lights out or that you can't have a lava lamp in your room. Keeping these in mind, figure out how you're going to manage life outside of a dorm. Find out where the grocery stores, laundry facilities, and bus stops are before you move. The last thing you need is to be late for class because you got on the wrong bus route.
Bring a Friend to Room with You
What's worse than living on dorm with a bad roommate? Living off campus with a bad roommate who now has free reign to stay up late and be noisy at all hours and pack all his or her stuff into your shared space. The solution to the roommate risk is to bring a trusted friend and fellow student to live with you as a roommate. Just make sure that this friend is someone you trust and who you know won't flake on you when the going gets tough. Rooming with a friend provides a chance to have the support of a dorm without the hassle of hundreds of students in one spot. A roommate who is also a student is more likely to understand your need to study instead of party, for example.
Consider Your Leasing Scheme Carefully
Not all leasing schemes are created equal. There are two basic types of schemes. The first is a separate tenancy agreement. In this arrangement, each tenant signs his or her own agreement with the landlord. If one tenant wishes to move out, the contracts of the others are not affected. The second and more common option is a joint tenancy agreement. In this agreement, you and any other tenants share an agreement that includes the monthly rental costs, the deposit, and the obligations for cleaning and maintaining the space. The benefit to this latter contract is that the obligations are shared. The drawback is that the obligations are on your shoulders should your roommate move out. Your leasing agreement should include tenant responsibilities and fees for breaking a lease or missing payments.
Not all landlords and locations are created equal. Rental price is not always an indicator of space or landlord quality. It's incredibly easy to get involved with a landlord or a leasing scheme that is less than ideal because you didn't thoroughly research before you signed. This is especially true when it comes to high and non-refundable deposits. According to research by the National Union of Students, 51% of respondents paid £500 or more to secure their property and 21% had paid $1,000 or more. In many of these cases, the landlord did not provide a provision to return the deposit at the end of the lease term. If you need help finding someone who can help navigate the best properties to rent or buy, contact Morris Dibben. Morris can help you find properties that fit your budget.
Write a Tenant Agreement
A tenant agreement is an optional but beneficial document to have. A tenant agreement is written and agreed upon between roommates and includes items such as:
- Who pays which bills and at what percentage
- The share of cleaning chores
- Agreed-upon house rules, such as noise and visitors
- Lease contract responsibilities
An agreement ensures that both parties fully understand and agree upon the joint obligations. If one party falls through on their responsibilities, the other will have legal recourse. Make sure that these documents are notarized or witnessed as appropriate to ensure its enforceability in court.
Moving off campus is the first step toward your postgraduate life. Moving off campus provides freedom and independence balanced with risk and responsibility. Know that living on your own will not solve all your problems; dorm living may be preferable for certain students. Do your research before you jump to smooth your transition and set yourself up for success.
Ben Randall provides student support services and has a good understanding of their property needs. He likes to share his tips and insights online and is a frequent contributor for several student living websites.