So you want to fast track your Uni life by going straight into a flat? MOST of our support queries are for things that go awry in flats. Here's the good and the bad! And lots of help for you. Lots.
Questions to think about
- how do I find a flat?
- flatting with friends or strangers - what's best?
- leases - I understand there are different kinds. What are they/ what do they mean?
- how do we sign up for things like power?
- and sort out bill payments between us?
- what do I need to contact the landlord about, and what do I need to sort out myself?
- what can go wrong?
- flatting or living in a College? How do I decide?
What others say
- Flatting tests friendships! Know each other really well before you flat together - otherwise it's best to flat with people you don't know
- Careful what kind of lease you sign - you can end up with an abusive flatmate but have to stay there or keep paying rent there even if you move out
- Sort the rules out at the start - it's things like the unwashed dishes three days in a row and the pubes in the shower that test flatting relationships!
- Don't flat with someone 'cos they're hot - flat with them 'cos they're easy to live with!
- Don't sleep with your flatmate/s - next day = AWKWARD!
- If the bill's in your name, it's your bill, doesn't matter how many in the flat are supposed to be helping pay
What OUSA says
- The Uni is a good place to start looking for a flat (see the Links)
- They give out lists of flats for rent and people looking for flatmates. They also give advice on the legal and other aspects of flatting. And they don't take a cut when you sign a lease.
- Check what kind of lease the flat has: periodic, or fixed term?
- Periodic means there's no end date: to end it you give three weeks notice (or the landlord gives 3 months). These give more flexibility when things go wrong.
- Fixed term is the most common kind of lease in 'studentville'. Fixed term sets an end date for the tenancy - usually Jan 1st- Dec 31st. There is no flexibility to leave the tenancy before the end date.
- Does each flatmate have a separate lease agreement, or are you all on the one agreement?
- If you are on one agreement (the most common kind) it means you are 'jointly and severally liable' - the landlord (and the law) treats you all as if you were one tenant. If one tenant wreaks havoc, you are all responsible for any damage. If one tenant stops paying their share, you are all responsible for it.
- If you are one of the rare flats where each tenant has a separate agreement, you are only responsible for your own rent and other things.
- We deal with lots of flatting issues and disputes - both between you and landlords and you and other flatmates. Got a question? Ask us!
- Our in depth all you need to know Flatting Guide
- The University's page about Flatting - all the basics
- The Uni's Flat list If you're looking for a whole flat, or a room in a flat, this is the BEST place to search