By Anna Lewis
Moving into your new house is an exciting thought, whether you’re escaping halls for the first time or just finding your new dream pad. However, before things can start to run smoothly there are a few things that are worth keeping in mind to ensure you and your flatmates keep the peace.
One of the first things to consider after signing for your new place is who’s going to have which room. Sure pulling straws or names out of a hat is an easy way to assign bedrooms but more often than not you’ll have a much happier group if you just sit down and talk about it like the adults. Most likely everyone will have different preferences anyway, whether it be living upstairs or downstairs or in the room in the attic. If you do have a bedroom that’s the same size as Harry’s cupboard under the stairs it might also be worth organising that its owner pays less rent than those in better rooms, just to avoid any bad blood.
When moving day finally arrives it’s also important to keep organised and ensure everyone knows what they’re bringing. Make sure you have a way to keep in touch with each other over the summer, and make a list of everything your house needs, from toasters and kettles to cutlery and mugs. Then assign one job to each person- speaking from experience your house really doesn’t need four of everything and a 50 piece group set of cutlery.
Perhaps the most important thing is to pay attention to your house as soon as you move in. Look for stains, cracks in furniture and things in need of repair and make a record of it. Let you agency aware of the problem to ensure they you don’t pick up the bill at the end of the year for something which isn’t your fault.
Now to the boring bit- paying bills. It may seem overwhelming and scary and something that only real adults do but don’t panic, it’s not that bad. When it comes to electric, gas and water you can find out what companies and arrangements past tenants had by checking with the letting agency or through letters in the post. It’s easy to keep with the same providers as before but check beforehand whether they really are giving you the best deal. It’s also essential that you check your electricity and gas meter as soon as you move in to avoid paying for anything that isn’t yours.
In terms of wifi there are some good deals out there so it’s worth having a quick google to find the best prices. Some companies such as Virgin offer student contracts which are nine rather than twelve months, an option which saves you paying when you’re at home for the summer. Before setting up your accounts it’s important that you choose who will set it up in their name- you need a housemate who’s reliable, likes to be organised and who will be there during the term and not away on a semester abroad or an extended holiday.
In terms of paying your bills you can either create a shared bank account between you, or if a flatmate is willing, to have all money come from one individual account. Regardless of what you choose everyone must set up a regular direct debit to the account that the money is taken from, transferring the correct total each month. Keep organised and make a record of how much each bill is every month, so there’s no nasty surprises at the end of the year.
Most of all make sure you enjoy your new home and the time you have in it-you’ll soon love the independence it creates and the memories that follow!