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Student Article - When choosing a house.
Author: Charlie Edwards
First thing's first. Know your group. For the love of God, make sure you know and are friends with each and every member. More often than not, fights break out in second semester when everyone's true colours emerge but the houses have already been signed for. Now you've got to live with that person for an entire year. It's also advisable to go in as a group as opposed to as an individual for the same reason. You could land a room in a shared house with people you would never get on with.

In my opinion, it's better to wait for the University housing list. The landlords will be in conference with your Uni and therefore your Uni can act as the middle man. If you sign for a house before the list goes up that looks brilliant in every way, shape and form, but you later find this to not be the case, the Uni can do nothing to help you. Which brings me to the landlord him/herself. They will of course be smiling, friendly and approachable people when they are trying to make a sale, but just be aware. As team leader, I took my group right through the process until we were about to sign and I read the contract. It was jam packed full of silly clauses that were aimed to swindle more money from tenants; 'Bills included! (Until you surpass 90 a month, where you will pay the excess)' Send the contract to your parents if you have to, they've been dealing with contracts for years and will be able to tell you if something smells fishy. I'm of course sounding incredibly cynical, but it's not without reason.

So you've got your house, but there's cleaning to do, washing up, hoovering, dusting etc. Make a rota with names and dates - And stick to it! House keeping is a huge petty argument starter, where one or two people aren't pulling their weight and it's becoming a nuisance for the others. To fully enjoy the house, you must work as a team which links back to my very first point; know your group. It's wise to talk to your University's accommodation team. I spoke to mine and they made grey areas crystal clear.

The most important thing is to not feel panicked. Don't feel you need to sign for the house tomorrow or else you'll lose it and nothing better will come along. If you stay organised, keen and prepared, the perfect house will reveal itself.

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