This week’s Housing Campaign theme is a pretty important one – What’s Your Budget? A few things to think about are:
How long is the contract? This can make a real difference to the overall cost – does the contract run just during the main part of the academic year, or for longer? It’s worth adding up the cost for the whole year to compare – sometimes what looks like a good deal per week can cost more overall!
Does it include bills? If bills aren’t included, remember you’ll have to budget extra to pay for things like electricity, gas, internet and water. (Yes, you have to pay for water). How much utilities cost often depends on how much you use them, so it’s a good idea to talk to your would-be flatmates about things like whether to put on the heating or put on a jumper, to check you’re all on the same page.
When will I have to pay? As well as checking how much you’ll need to pay, make sure you understand when you’ll be asked to pay it. This can vary quite a bit – will the landlord be asking for the money monthly, termly, weekly, or all in one go at the beginning? Will you actually have the money at those times?
Once again, it’s super-important to talk about budget issues before committing to a contract. If your friends are excited about living in gold-plated luxury but you don’t think you can afford it, say so! If the plans for who gets which room at what price don’t seem fair, talk it through! But whatever you do, don’t just sign up and hope you can figure it out later…
It’s still way too early to sign up for next year’s housing anyway. But, when the time comes and you’re ready to go for it, don’t forget to take your contract to the Advice Unit for checking before you sign it. They’ll help you make sure it all makes sense.
As an extra bonus this week, take a listen to this clip from Xpression FM’s piece on the Housing Campaign, for loads of great advice!
Residence Life Helen