Going to university often means leaving home for the first time, and whatever form of accommodation you opt for, it is important to check out the hygiene conditions before you sign on the dotted line.
Affordable student accommodation may be in a hall of residence, an apartment or a shared house. Many students prefer the relative independence offered by accommodation in a house shared with a number of other students, but you do need to check what is included in the cost.
What to Expect in a House Share
Ask how many students share the house, and check the number of bathrooms, shower rooms or toilets available so that you can work out whether you are likely to have to queue for the shower, or even worse, the toilet. A good, reliable hot water supply is essential. Some accommodation will have rooms with en-suite facilities, which is a definite advantage, but these may be more expensive.
Most landlords will have refurbished the house to a good standard, so the kitchen facilities should be clean, hygienic and suitable for the number of people in the house. Kitchen storage, especially fridge and freezer space, is also important, as you need to be able to store perishable foods safely and securely to avoid shopping too frequently.
Washing and laundry facilities should also cater easily for the number of students in the house, and a tumble-drier is really important. You will probably be responsible for changing and laundering your own bed linen and, contrary to what many students believe, this will need to be done regularly – at least every two weeks and not just once a term.
Check whether there is any cleaning that needs to be done. Some house shares have a cleaner to clean common areas once a fortnight, but students are expected to maintain the cleanliness of their own rooms and to keep common areas tidy in between.
What Is Expected of Students
Self-catering affordable student accommodation means that you are responsible for cooking your own meals, washing up and keeping the house in reasonable order. Most groups of students find the best way to manage in a shared house is to draw up a rota of chores such as washing-up and vacuuming so that you always know whose responsibility a certain task is. It is also a very good idea to have a common fund out of which all the necessary items such as washing-up liquid or dishwasher tablets, cloths, bleach and scourers are purchased so that you do not run out of essential supplies.
However hygienic the kitchen and bathroom facilities provided by the landlord are, it is up to the people who live in the house to maintain hygiene standards for their own safety. If there are any problems, it is important to report then promptly so that the landlord can have them fixed – unlike one bunch of students, who resorted to stacking their crockery in the toilet and flushing it to wash up rather than report a leaking sink!