Accommodation for 4th Year: Insider tips

Accommodation for 4th Year: Insider tips Flatmates by rthakrar

This article was written by Global Graduates, published on 7th September 2011 and has been read 6762 times.

Sorting out accommodation whilst you’re on your year abroad can be a bit of a worry; from who to live with, frenetic emails, getting hold of estate agents, organizing viewings and finding something decent...with the added disadvantage of being abroad, can be quite stressful. How did previous students go about it? What’s the magic recipe to get your dream flat? How long should you hold out for? Here are our handpicked student top tips to getting your digs for your final year...
Sort out your flatmate(s)
You might be one of the lucky few who’s made loads of friends on his/her course, meaning finding flatmates will be easy as pie - a few Facebook messages, Skype dates and you’ll be all set. What if most of your chosen ones are just about to finish uni? Well, you have two options: either living with strangers (perhaps foreign students) or living alone. Both have their advantages and disadvantages - living with international students will mean you’ll get the chance to practise your language skills and hear all the latest slang, right on your doorstep. Bear in mind students from afar tend to land in their university town in August, so it might be a good idea to contact your international uni office to speak of your wish to live with them. Put an add up on your uni intranet and you might get lucky! The downside to living with international students will mean lots of parties and going out; you may roll your eyes at this, but once you come into 4th year, you’ll have to put the study hours in; having the constant temptation to go out may take its toll on your studies and/or your happiness. Living alone is your other option; it doesn’t necessarily have to be isolating if you make an effort with your course mates and organize yourself to go out every odd day of the week (or on weekends). You also won’t have to deal with usual housemate quarrels about the washing up/where to live/who sorts out the bills. 

Get in touch with potential landlords
You need to think about whether you would like to rent out private accommodation, either through a landlord or through an agency, or whether you might be happier in student accommodation. Once you’ve chosen which sector you’d like to look into, get in touch with the appropriate source. Your home uni will undoubtedly have an accommodation board, either on or offline - ask the accommodation officer for more details. Remember that flats (some decent, some pretty dire) are still available come September so don’t rush into anything, just for the sake of having a roof over your head in May. Having said that, if location is key, you better start flat hunting early. Speak to your local estate agents, make sure you’ve got your paperwork sorted (guarantors, copies of your ID or anything else they may ask you) and try and get a pal there to check out your future digs. Failing that, you could get in touch with your current friends who are renting and ask them if they could give you their landlords’ details, so ask to rent for the upcoming year. Alternatively, you could get in touch with student accommodation like UNITE to find your perfect home. Simples.

Negotiating rent
If you’re not planning on renting over the summer months, ask your landlord if he/she can either drop the rent for those months or try and find a friend who needs a roof to sublet. Alternatively, you could decide to spend next year’s summer months in the flat, therefore asking your landlord to postpone the contract till September, getting his summer months’ rent for the next year. Additionally, if you only find lodgings in September, you may be able to negotiate the contract so as to include your uni months only - and having the landlord put it back on the market for future students come June of the next year, allowing you to save on rent.

Now, all you’ve got to sort out is broadband, cable TV and the electrics. Happy moving in!

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