Over the coming weeks. Cardiff Students’ Union will play host to Housing Week, designed to give guidance to students on the topic about everything, big or small, to make sure that your new place is the closest thing to a home from home that you can get.
When you choose a house, it’s normal for agencies to sweep in and stir up panic with students that unless they find a house within their first few months, then they will be unable to find a place to live at all and will end up on the streets.
The reality is quite different. Many of the best houses come on the market only towards the second half of the year, and often it is the lesser properties which are put out to be snapped up often by freshers who are misinformed about what they need to look for.
Then there’s the quality issue. We all hear endless stories about damp or rats or cramped cupboard-sized rooms, and Housing Week aims to help you out in making sure that you aren’t one of the ones who suffers with these nightmares. You don’t need to put up with inadequate houses, and you shouldn’t have to.
Also, there will be general advice on finding accommodation; where to look and what to look for, in a series of events and campaigns to draw attention to what we have on offer on campus, and what it’s like to start looking in areas like Cathays and Roath.
Any other issues, such as contracts, deposits and the like will all be on offer to be discussed. It’s so tricky trying to find out valuable, unbiased views on what these things actually mean, and what you need to do to both protect yourself from being exploited, and make sure you’re ready to make as informed a decision as possible.
The whole project is working in partnership with Student Advice, who offer all sorts of support on a wide range of topics besides housing, on an appointment or drop-in basis.
All in all, housing for most of us is a nightmare to try to get right. You will probably feel trapped into compromising or dragged into arguments about what’s best for you all, but hopefully Housing Week should help you realise that you’re not alone, and the university can help.