September 9, 2019, by Alina
5 Things You Should Know about Living Off Campus
A quick note from UoN: this blog was written in a time before COVID-19 but we think it’s something that will help you in your student life, We hope that you enjoy the blog but please be aware that social distancing measures may change some of the things you read about here.
Living off campus can either be exciting or petrifying depending on how much your loved your first year campus accommodation and the people in it! Regardless of your experiences, privately renting a property for the first time in your life can be truly as overwhelming as it sounds. I’ve put together 5 things that you should be aware of when you’re ready to leave the campus nest! Good luck 🙂
1) Find your new place earlier rather than later
Nottingham has a variety of accommodation which caters to your budget, location choice and amount of people you want to live with. In hindsight, although you probably can find a place to live a week or so before you actually move in. However, some of the ‘best’ places to live (ie houses in the heart of student communities such as Lenton which also offer a lot of value for money) are unsurprisingly taken up to a year in advance of students moving in Therefore, start your research about where you would like to live as early as you can. This will give you an insight into the properties available, and will help you focus on those properties when it comes to finding a place to live.
Furthermore, once you have a rough idea of where you want to live, there is absolutely no harm in inquiring about a viewing. This ends up saving you a lot of stress because if you leave it to last minute you’ll find yourself in competition with 30 other students trying to get a viewing – which is chaotic and not ideal!
The main difference to living off campus is that you will have some good, bad, or barely existent neighbours. Regardless of your location, be aware that you may be living next to a family or someone who is in full time work. Make sure you try to keep the noise down when it gets late, and perhaps drop them a note/card informing them that you’ll be celebrating your birthday that week so that they’re aware of a potentially noisier evening! If you’re living on a street full of students then try to not be the ones that everyone begins to loathe because of your 3am antics (side note: if you don’t have a neighbour like this then either your street is very lovely and quiet, or it’s you!).
If you’re fortunate enough to get a house with bills included in the rent (as I was in my second year) then you have another year to not worry about sorting out all these adult details. However, it’s likely that you’ll have to set up your own water, electricity and wifi bills. Make sure you do your research in advance using comparison websites to try and get the best deal, and look into certain apps which make bill sharing a lot easier. Throughout the year, keep an eye on how much you’re using and spending in order to not get a hefty bill when you move out!
Once you have gone through the hassle of setting up a new account etc, make sure you notify them in advance of when you will be moving out. This can help you avoid any hidden costs for leaving a contract (potentially) early and will help your sort out your finances well in advance.
4) Stay in Notts for longer
For me personally, this was one of the benefits for moving off campus! The dates of your contract may vary, but the main perk is that you can stay over in Nottingham over the holidays (something many halls do not allow unless you pay more) which lets you take advantage of the less chaotic library study spaces and finally knuckle down on the coursework you’ve been avoiding for the past few weeks. Afterwards, you can treat yourself to some family time at home, or even invite your family over to stay with you in your new digs.
Many landlords dislike students for being incredibly messy and dirty etc, but many students also dislike landlords for the occasional unsolved issues which can last for the duration of the year long contract. If you’re unsure about a certain letting agency, look up their reviews online and perhaps post in ‘Notts buy and sell’ Facebook group (which has thousands of new and old students in it) asking for their experiences with that letting agency. If you do ever have a horrific problem with a landlord (don’t worry, most students have lovely ones!) then be sure to let Student Services at uni know so that they can offer help and advice and prevent it from happening again.
Happy house hunting!