Moving into new digs is normally an exciting step, with plenty of fun times to be had in the place you will call home for the next academic year. But amongst the unpacking and making your room feel as homely as possible, there are some simple things you can do to make your life easier should any issues arise. So here are some tips from us to you.
1. Sort out your internet
You may well have organised this before moving in but if you haven’t, it is important to know that sometimes there can be a wait for an engineer to come out and get you set up. If you are lucky enough to have broadband included in your rent, you can skip ahead to the next tip. If not, you want to get it sorted as soon as you can, so you can be ready to crack on with university work (and binge the latest must watch TV series) without having to travel into the university library.
It is important to know that many broadband contracts can last for 18 months, so do narrow your searches to 12-month contracts or more flexible deals. You can search for the best deals on certain comparison websites, which involves just a quick search online.
2. Snap away
On the day you move in, ideally before you channel your inner interior designer, take pictures of the property. Take a walk around and snap away so that you have proof of the condition the house is in for any future reference. If you notice anything that is damaged, dirty or missing, make a note of it and take a picture as evidence. You can then ask your landlord about it and have proof of how things were when you arrived for when you come to move out. It sounds boring but it will save you so much hassle should any issues come up.
3. Inventory check
You should receive an inventory list at the beginning of your tenancy, which records the condition of the property as well as the contents. It is worth checking that everything that appears in that list is in the property and that it all works as it should. Again, it is probably the last thing you want to do when you are moving in, but it could help you get your full deposit back when you come to leave (and those pennies could come in very handy at the end of the academic year). If something is broken when you move in, you don’t want to be charged for it to be fixed when you move out.
4. Read your meters (good luck with finding them!)
What turns out to be the dullest scavenger hunt you will ever do, will prove to be useful as it is important to know where your meters are. Some bills may be included in your rental payments and even in they are, knowing where your meters are so you can do readings when required is very useful. If some bills aren’t included, you should shop around to try and find the cheapest deals. There are some websites that do bill quotes for students, just be sure that you read all terms and conditions before signing up to anything.
5. Let the important people know your new address
The last thing you want when you are waiting for your takeaway to arrive after a busy day is to realise it is currently heading 5 miles (or further) away to your previous address. We’ve all been there and it’s not fun, unless you are the family about to get a banquet turning up at your door, courtesy of a very tired and hungry student.
On a more serious note, it is important you inform any relevant parties of your new address. Whether it be on your takeaway accounts, banks, online retailers, car insurance companies, you want to make sure things are arriving on your doorstep and nobody else’s.
6. Sort out bills with your housemates
It is important that a discussion is had to know how bill splitting will work. Again, some bills may be sorted as it comes as part of your rent. But any additional extras or things that aren’t covered will need to be organised by somebody and they need to be sure they will get an equal payment from each housemate. Sorting this out at the start is much easier than scrambling to do it last minute and allows everyone to budget accordingly.
7. Safety first
The property clearly needs to be safe for you to live in and the landlord needs to ensure that they have a Gas Safety Certificate for all gas appliances in your home. These should be renewed every 12 months and if you haven’t already got a copy as part of your tenancy, you can ask for one to be sent to you.
Whilst this should also have been done prior to you moving in, it is worth checking smoke and CO alarms yourself. Ensure that they have been installed in the right places, the landlords should know their responsibility of making sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every floor as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room with a solid fuel burning appliance. You want to be safe in your home, so check.
8. Perfect time to clean
The property you move into should already be very clean, but it wouldn’t harm you and your housemates to give the place a very quick once over before everything is unpacked and in the way. It shouldn’t take long, and you can then relax in the calming surroundings of your new, clean home.
9. Get a grip on the parking situation
If you or any of your housemates drive and have brought a car to university (and without realising have automatically volunteered to forever be the glorified chauffeur) it is important to get an early grip of the parking situation. If you are lucky enough to have a driveway, then don’t worry but I am sure that 99% of students will not have that luxury so will need to know where they can park. Some areas popular with students, particularly those close to a city centre, can require permits which can be bought on the local council website. Knowing this is important as nobody wants to be opening what they think is a ‘enjoy your new home’ card filled with some money from the parents, only to find it is a parking ticket.
10. Get in touch if you need support from us
Please know, that should any issues occur, you can reach out for support from us here at the University of Plymouth Student Union Advice Team. Our contact details can be found here.
We are here to help ensure that you have the best experience you can whilst studying here in Plymouth. So have fun and enjoy what this lovely city has to offer.