In case you hadn't already clocked, it's almost Halloween. That wonderful time of year when you can get multipacks of mini Mars Bars on the cheap and every hot beverage is suddenly pumpkin-spiced.
But this time of the year isn't just for witches, bonfires, and fireworks. It's the time of year where you should start thinking about where you'll be living next year. So in classic AUBSU style, we're monopolising on this and using it to tell you important housing info through some dodgy puns and overly tangential segues. Here are our top tips for house hunting and avoiding any unpleasant surprises...
LANDLORDS vs ESTATE AGENTS
We've all heard the horror stories about excessive agency and admin fees, but sometimes private landlords are no treat either. While renting with landlords you can usually avoid agency fees and can negotiate your tenancy lengths, however because they're in such high demand it's often difficult to find them, and most landlords just rent their properties through agencies instead.
If there's one thing that's worse than discovering your chocolate chip cookie is actually full of raisins, it's realising that before you can move into your new student house you have to pay a whole bunch of fees and costs that you didn't know about. You have the right to ask estate agents to give you a list of all fees and charges they make upfront, that way you're not signing yourself up for a raisin infested cookie when you were after chocolate chunks.
As it turns out, signing something in blood isn't actually any more legally binding that signing with an ordinary BIC pen. Therefore you have to be really careful with what you're agreeing to when signing any tenancy contracts.
Many contracts are "joint and several". That means you'll all be responsible for covering any unpaid fees or rent if one of your housemates drops out, so many sure you're bunking up with mates that you know are responsible.
AVOIDING NASTY SHOCKS
When you check under your bed for monsters, it's really black mould you should be looking for. Keep an eye out for musty smells, damp spots, and mould on walls or behind furniture.
Make sure you grab a copy of our Handy Guide to Student Housing either in the SU office or online for more helpful info about all things housing.