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The Concrete Housing Guide 2004

Page 2

Housing Guide

Wednesday, February 25, 2004



Is finding a house getting you confused and bemused? Well, look no further- here's our handy guide to help you find the best place for you and your mates, whether its the trendy Golden Triangle or fu rther afield


< ROA8 arlham Road is supposedly where the posh students live in plush Victorian Houses, but most students end up living on one of the tiny roads off Earlham in tiny terrace houses, with dark alley ways down to the back door. You are likely to find yourself living next door to old ladies, or fam ilies rather than other students, but it does mean their noise doesn't disturb you and they kindly take in packages from the postman, and keep an eye on your house while your away for the holidays. There is also a nice recycling system going on with green boxes collected every other week for glass and paper. Another attraction is the low crime rate , perhaps something to do with the police station in the middle of the road . There are several convenient shopping places, including a handy off-licence on Alexandra Road, and the Earlham shops supply you with M&Ms, stocking anything from milk to stationery, a laundrette and Trads, a cute little pizzeria. Up the road a bit further is Somerfields in the Earlham Road shopping precinct which also includes several takeaways, a gift shop and tea shop. The best pubs are also found in the Earlham area, with the finest roast at the Pickwick, a good pub quiz on Sundays in the Mitre, and the popular student pub, The Garden House is very nearby, perfect for a lazy summer day. There's also the Black Horse and the Bellevue for nicely priced beverages. Living down the bottom of Earlham Road means a quick walk to town over the bridge, and a short stroll down to the take -aways, including Planet Wok, on Dereham Road. The road is on the 26 and 27 bus route, but the buses are not as frequent as the 25 on Unthank Road . lt might be easier to walk to campus, although it is a half hour walk- but think of the exercise and healthy winter glow you 'll gain. The only really unfortunate thing about living on Earlham Road is that your chances of seeing a ~~"'hearse are much higher than average due to the crematorium which can put a slight damp~ ener on a Monday morning. Although quieter than Unthank Road, Earlham Road and its immediate surroundings make student living that much better. Rebec:ca Lawrence


area 路 not ace to i you want to keep work and pleasure separate. On the average jaunt, you are likely to bump into one or all of the following : the person you fratern ised with last night, the professor whose seminars you have skived and maybe an irate landlord . That said, with all the pitfalls that living in a close community brings, Unthank does give you access to a microcosm of delight - a great grocers, several bakeries, take-aways galore and several excellent pubs. The Unthank Arms (confusingly located on Newmarket Street) does a roast better than you could possibly conceive and The Mad Moose (Dover Street) offers gastro-pub fayre in glossy surroundings. As far as accommodation is concerned , Unthank Road proper has similar mammoth town houses to Earlham , many of them expelling suspicious fumes (party house - you know who you are) . On either side of Unthank Road there is a veritable labyrinth of streets, which tend to morph into one after a night of revelry. Try and party close to home, kids. For those who have cars, there is a nasty one-way system around York Street, much of which is pedestrianised anyway. Parking can be tricky at the best of times, and often the roads off Unthank get completely jammed. But the buses are as regular as can be expected and both UEA and town are easily accessible en pied . Following the sad untimely demise of the Shell garage there are no 24 hour faci lities on Unthank, but, let's face it - are there any in Norwich? There are, however, two Budgens which will become your green-signed saviours in hours of culinary need . All thoughts of continuing)he thrifty supermarket runs of the first year will soon vanish when you behold the cornucopia of frozen goods, packaged fruit and vegetables and alcoholic offers all at slightly excessive prices. Ease will win over economy every time and take-aways such as The Royal Tandoori and The Hong Kong Chinese will soon constitute part of your staple diet. Gout may ensue, meaning that you are able only to take small constitutionals up and down the road. But with The Unthank Kitchen, Le Chateau offy and VideoPius there may soon be no need to go anywhere else. Ruth Charnock.


c..a... Wednesday. Februory 25, 2004

Page 3

Housing Guide


NORWICH between Unthank and the Avenues sounds like a lovely friendly environment full of pretty trees and wide pavements, which is precisely what it is, along with handy cycle paths. lt is a perfect distance for ...,_~ campus and town, and the 27 bus goes from the junction on Colman Road. lt's also a pleasant walk, if somewhat monotonous, if you need to save the pennies. If you live down the bottom of the Avenues, you are close to Unthank and Earlham which is perfect for visiting friends, and means you are in the middle of them so they will all come and visit as they cross over the Golden Triangle. You can also choose which bus service you want; do you walk to Unthank Road and get the 25, or Earlham Road and get the 26? You have your very own selection of shops, including the Bookshop for all your second hand needs, a student friendly hairdressers (good deals on highlighting girls!) and numerous newsagents, oh and Avenue Angling (a fishing store) if that's what you're into. You are very near the Mad Moose which does excellent evening meals, as well as near the Garden House for summer BBQs. And the best bit? There's a park with swings - think of the amusement! If your living nearer Colman Road, there are some very good shops, two newsagents, a chippie, a Chinese take-away, a pharmacy, off-licence and a local pub named The Romany. lt's also a perfect walking distance from campus on those chilly mornings, and you will always see someone you know walking in to join you. Houses in the Avenues are well-cared for and vary from larger houses to Norwich's favourite terraces, and although the atmosphere can be a bit lacking, the Golden Triangle is not too far away.

areaare pretty good. You're not in the Golden Triangle area, but you are surrounded by shops, and you're a nice, short walk from the City Centre. If you like your take-aways then you have a KFC, Planet Wok and loads of fish and chip shops. For your daily tipple. the Wine Warehouse caters for your party needs, and the City Gate Wetherspoons will provide you with a quiet night out. Other pubs in the area are not generally studentfriendly, but you may want to try the Fat Cat if you like a good ale. If you get bored with this lot then just walk down the road another five minutes and you're slap-bang in the centre of the city. Marvellous. But the closer you are to the city, inevitably you will be further away from the University. You have to walk up to Earlham for the bus (26/27) and while they are getting better, my experiences of them were many missed lectures waiting 45 minutes for them to bother turning up. So perhaps you should get a bike or a car. lt's not my job to sell you a house in the area, though, so now for some awful truths that you should be well aware of. Crime in the area is high, especially burglary. Our neighbors and local shop keepers were friendly, but all had been victims of crime in the last couple of years, as was I by the end of my year there. lt's not worth moving into the area unless your house and/or belongings are secure and insured. You need double-glazing, and preferably an alarm as well. In short, it's not a bad place to live, especially if you like being in the thick of Norwich life, although you may be put off leaving your house unattended for very long. I know I was.


room blokes (a veritable powder keg of testosterone). The features are excellent with lots of traditional fireplaces for the wind to rattle down and lots fancy plasterwork; the rooms, however, are massive. lt is opposite the old hospital (currently a building site, erecting houses that the average person will never be able to afford) on St. Stephens Road, which is on the other side of the rounda.b out to St. Stephens Street. The House was originally occupied by Doctors at the hospital. Between then and now, it was a half-way house for the social services. Ex-residents, without the benefits of medication, have been known to turn up. Living close to town is good; Living on the A11 is not (although the traffic is an excellent alarm clock). We have every conceivable convenience within five minutes walk. While the bus service is nearby, it is far from holding the status of convenience, so we tend to walk to campus. We find this greatly improves our health, as well as having a positive effect on the environment. To be honest, the distance from UEA is not really an issue, and it's much more preferable to living away from town. Don't live in Eaton. Ever. Ever. The main (dis)advantage is, of course, the nightlife. We are close to all the places of interest; and the local pub, The Coach Makers (don't go to the Trowel and Hammer, the car park doubles as a beer garden) is brilliant: good beer, good atmosphere, and fantastic decor, with a beer garden that used to be the courtyard. After a heavy night in town you can just about roll into bed. This does have the disadvantage that, because the trip home is so short, memory tends to blur the lines between pub, or club, and bed. A lack of distinction between dancing and waking up can be very disconcerting. Phil Sainty

M ark Kelly

Rebec:ca Lawrence

est Earlham is an interesting place to live. Advantages include quite a large selection of shops nearby (including the Safeway and Co-op) and proximity to campus is also a bonus. There are also a number of facilities available in West Earlham proper, including laundrettes, fast food, hairdressers and the like. Plus, the rent is generally a bit cheaper, but there's a reason. The trouble is the locals. Bowthorpe Road is ok, with a few nice trees and enough pensioners around to keep it fairly quite. lt's the young 'uns that are the real pain. After being spewed out of school at about three o clock, their favourite pastimes including buffooning at bus-stops and yelling all the rude words they've just learnt in the playground, hoping it might impress friends of the opposite gender into underage sex. They are a pain in the arse. I blame the parents - the ones walking around in track suits scratching themselves and expectorating in public. Other down points include the Cadge Road eye-sore. This road has recently been demolished, apart from ~;'3~~~one or two houses stubbornly persisting; the council waiting for the dogged inhabitants to die so they can redevelop properly. The aforementioned hoodlums enjoy lining the pavements and throwing stones at the windows of those derelict buildings still standing, when not drinking cider or farting. Girls would probably feel a little nervous walking around the area at night, but this is probably true of every area; those of a more sociable bent might get irritated by the distance from the Golden Triangle, where most students seem to herd. But, for anyone who likes long walks on their own, contemplating urban decay and renewal and writing mediocre, melancholy poems, it's probably ideal. ¡ lt's not really as bad as all this, I've had a bad day and am using this as an excuse to sound off generally. The number of students in the locale is increasing, it's getting better and once the council has fin~ ished faffing in the area it will probably be quite nice. Just watch the ATL crew, it stands for Above .f 'o. The Law, apparently. They've never proved any trouble. But then I is well 'ard, see. â&#x20AC;˘ Nath an Dixon



The Housing Guide


Sorting out your perfect pad is a_Rotential minefield. You may have decided which area you want to live in, but what about the logistics of actually securing a good place? Then there's the issue of moving in with compatible housemates {for ease, we've reduced these to slightly insulting stereotypes). A~d finally, what should you bring to ensure that your abode is a domestic haven? Fear not, troubled souls, Concrete has all the answers you'll ever need. fter sampling UEA's campus living for over five months, you may have felt the urge to make that quantum leap from congested campus life to more casual Golden Triangle living. The notion is not uncommon, and in Norwich there are plenty of opportunities for a student to find off-campus accommodation. The vast majority of student housing in Norwich includes one to two bed flats, and small terraced housing. This means that landlords will convert a common room into an extra bedroom, in order to put up to four students in a house meant for two or three. On the other hand, students seeking the larger four bedroom flats will find that they are very much in the minority and high in demand. If there are more of you it can be hard to find a house without a tiny box room which might cause arguments.


When you look round a house make sure you ask lots of questions... Try and talk to the present tenants and ask about problems such as damp. Finding a house takes about as much time and precision as finding

a used car. Do not jump into the first opportunity that presents itself. Remember that there are over 90,000 properties in the Norwich area and therefore. you are bound eventually to find at least one that suits your needs. In order to snag the perfect house, some students take advantage of the 'housemate wanted' flyers proudly displayed in every corridor and laundry facility on campus. Others try contacting a real estate or letting agent directly. A list of agencies can be easily be found in the advice centre, or taken directly out of the phone book. Other listings of registered landlords can also be found in the advice centre, or via 'Homerun', UEA's on-line Housing Bureau. The key to finding an appropriate house is knowing what you want. Make sure you've sorted out who you are living with before you look. it's easier to find a house for a certain number than find a house and then fill it. When you look round a house make sure you ask lots of questions. Not all the furniture will be included in the contract. Try and talk to the present tenants and ask about problems such as damp. it might be a good idea to get a signed document in which 1he landlord agrees to fix any problems. However, finding a spot off campus is probably the least of your worries. After finding a landlord willing to let their

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students, you will typically be asked to supply the first month's rent, a security deposit usually matching the amount of the rent, plus an agency fee that covers the cost for arranging the tenancy. You must also sign a contract lasting either for six months total or a fixed term contract of up to twelve months. Make sure you ask the current tenants if there have been any previous trouble with the landlord and getting

Page 5

., R o u n d about this time of tenn, UEA students all over campus will be considering who to Jive with in a real life house next year. But wait! . This is not a decision to be taken lightly. Why not try Concrete's quick quiz to find your perfect housemate•..

returns on deposits or overpaid rent. Proceed with extreme caution. A contract is a legally binding document. lt is not safe to assume that what a landlord says is final. Always investigate the contract thoroughly before signing, be sure to get a receipt after making any deposits, and do not pay in cash as there is no way to track money paid in cash. ore importantly, do not forget that as a student you are highly mobile and might not want to be bound to one


year. Some students find themselves ta ngled up in inescapable contracts that require them to she·ll out massive amounts of cash to landlords while trying to switch housing arrangements, or even switch roommates. Also, landlords will often try to push students to enter contracts and pay up to £1500 in deposits as early as now to occupy spaces as late as September. A key way to avoid all of this unnecessary drama is to go to the UEA housing fair on the 9th of March. The annual housing fair brings together several agents, lawyers and landlords to help you get safely nestled into your new niche. lt will also display the newest housing which that includes openings for as early as this summer. The Advice Centre employs several advisers who can help look through a contract and find any snafus that might be treacherous to a perspective student. lt is highly recommended for any student to take their contracts in for reviewing. Remember that once signed, it is completely out of your hands. Alyssa Morrisey.

c) Pink, decorated with glitter and fairy lights. d) You would put up posters of your fave beer and Sara Cox. 05 What is your fave TV show? a) Countryfile. b) Open University c) Ab Fab d) You were gutted when they stopped TFI Friday.

d) On the back of a milk float. 010 Finally, what would you do if you fell out v.ith your housemates? a) Meditate. b) Ring your mum. c) Cry until you get your own way. d) Get new housemates.

other.. . Princesses, it's hard being as groomed as you are all the time, so you would find relief having three other, equally girlie housemates, to discuss nail var,and shoes with. Try and find with a sugar daddy can pay the chauffeur, cleaner and gar-

d'seternal spirituality living with ... Hippies. You are a laid-back

music gets your groove? a) Folk music and panyou like? a) As many as possible for the free love vi be. b) Two, preferably you and your computer. c) Four, strictly same sex. d) Doesn't really matter as you won't be spending much time there. 03 Do you believe in cleaning? a) No, it's cruel to kill all creatures, including mould. b) Yes, you dust your computer and library books regularly. c) Yes, the cleaner is indispensable. d) No, we are too proud of the beer can mountain. 04 What colour would you a) Green, with a hemp leaf border. b) White, with pin boards for revision notes.

ome September, second years will be swapping the box room hovel that is university accommodation, for a swish new pad in the fabled 'Golden Triangle' for the lucky ones, or West Earlham for those that didn't get their mitts on the housing list in time. But what to take to a new house? What to bring now that you're a 'grownup'? Most likely, before coming to uni, you prepared a 'stuff I need for university' list. Not unlike a wedding list, you then persuaded every relation to purchase a necessary item from this inventory to give to you as a going away to university gift. Thus you will have built up a fabulous collection of sandwich toasters, kettles, ice cream makers, fish knives and fairy lights. Go into any kitchen in the Village and there will be a stock of kitchen utensils that would not look out of place in the Big W sale. So will it be worth humping all these items over to your new abode? I suggest getting together with new housemates and discussing who has what in order to avoid the five sandwich toaster build-up. Now then, you might be moving in with existing housemates, in which case you know their habits and values of cleanliness. But beware! Living in a real life house is not the same as living in the


person, but not afraid fight for a cause. Your · house .would be full of campaign banners, overflowing ashtrays and jars of lentils. You and your fellow protesters don't have much time for personal hygiene nor cleaning but the happy karma in the house will smooth over any disputes.


pipes. b) Classic FM c) Now 90's · d) Rave

07 What is your favourite food? a) Mungbeans and chickpeas. b) Microwave meals. c) Canapes and caviar. d) Kebabs. 08 Describe your beauty regime? a) The occasional re-twist of the dreads. b) The constant polishing of the specs. c) Manicure, pedicure, facial, fake tan, wash, dry, straighten hair, full make-up (and thafs just to go down Budgens). d) The not very liberal application of Lynx. 09 How would you get to uni? a) Walk barefoot. b) Bicycle with basket. c) Chauffer driven limo.

cushy world of campus accommodation. Firstly, there is no friendly cleaner called Penny who empties your bin at an obscene hour each morn-

You will have built up a fabulous collection of sandwich toasters, kettles, ice cream makers.... ing, and makes the kitchen sparkle each week like Mrs Muscle. There is also the small matter of bills. Yes, they arrive once a month or more, and they're not pretty. I recommend designating a house leader, la 'I'm A Celebrity', who can take control of all these grown-up tasks. Finally, upon your new house you will be able to impose your tastes in decor. All the Miffy posters from the first year must be banished to the bin and in their place, tasteful arty pictures by Matisse. Come on, you're a grown-up now. The fairy lights too are very passe in the new house. Instead, make like an adult and v isit Habitat. Basically, new year equals new start, so get rid of all your first year clutter (including the traffic cones and road signs) by donating them to a 'Bring and Buy Sale' or selling on ebay. Including

would be able to have late night drunken ramblings with other... Party Animals. As you spend most of your life in a drunken stupor, it doesn't really matter who you choose to live with. However, so as not to annoy any teetotal housemates, it might be best to find other people to live with who love tequila and the as you.

Mostly b'sYou would be able to play scrabble long into the night with ... Geeks. You would prefer a small place with a bicycle shed and a large desk for your computer and game station. There would also have to be a spare room for all your books. You aren't very domestic so would probably have to ring your mum every night for advice about how to use the microwave. Mostly c'sYou are a girlie girl and would adore sharing with

the sandwich toaster, come on face it, you never use it anyway, it just gathers dust. Kate Finberg.

iiOuwt. 'CbM cover, ,.,_ shaels esota tl1raWI ()Ql'U wart~ CC/ffll1hem) ~encf poeters

.... lllu-tadc rules)

(laugh In the face of

!-Cleaning products (no campus cleanels) Televislon(s)

Coat-hangers Erudite bocJks to put in your lounge Obscure music (see above) Alcohol (think drinks cabinet)

Food (mark out your shelf space early) Shower curtain (the existing one will have mould on it)

Kate Finberg.

Housing Guide

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Wednesday, February 25, 2004


landlords can make your student experience hell if you don't know your rights. Jo Butler speaks from experience as she warns students to check out their house~ properly before signing a contract n the chaos of housing week many students rush to secure accommodation in the perfect location, not even meeting their new landlords until they sign a contract. lt is easy to convince yourself that the house you are going to rent looks such a state because of the current tenants; not because the landlord refused to make any repairs. But PNery year horror stories are heard about houses with no heating in the middle of winter, houses with ceilings caving in and landlords who refuse to return damage deposits despite the fact that you believe you have left the house in a better state than it was when you moved in. But is there much you can do once you have committed yourself to a contract?


''The worst occasion was when he unknowingly entered the house with a group of people and came into my room without knocking .. .luckily I was only writing an essay at the time."

In situations like these it is important to use the resources available at the Student Advice Centre. All landlords should issue you with a copy of their contract before you have to sign it. The Advice Centre offers a free service to check your contract to ensure that you know what you are committing yourself to. However, despite this some landlords still appear to be consistently breaking their contracts. One clause that appears to be constantly breached is that twenty-four hours notice must be given before the landlord enters the property. Many landlords still appear to believe that it is their right to enter their property when ever they feel like it. Third year SOC student Jen McTaggart talks of how her landlord found it completely acceptable to send his tenants text messages late at night informing them that he would be around the following morning. When the landlord was phoned and told that this would not be possible due to other commitments he became angry and often came round regardless. Jen said, "I was often shocked to come home to the house and find my landlord or various workmen in our house. The worst occasion was when he unknowingly entered the house with a group of people and came into my room without knocking .. .luckily I was only writing an essay at the time.' Jo Spiro from the Advice Centre warns students to be careful if landlords begin to casually drop around because "what may seem like friendly and insignificant visits early on in the tenancy can often lead later to an infringement of the tenants rights.•

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ther tenants have complained of not having any heating for days in the middle of winter. This happened to one 3rd year LLT student several times. The situation was made worse when she took actions into her own hands and attempted to bleed the radiators 'The landlord told us off and said that if we wanted it done we should have phoned him and he would have brought in professional help, although we had already informed him of the situation SPNeral times.' In addition to this, the same housemates were made to get their own keys cut and had no

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"I would urge everyone to check their certificates to make sure that they are in date and valid." proper lock on their back door for several days. This was all despite the fact that it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that all heating and hot water installations are in good working order and to carry out repairs. When problems like this occur it is crucial to act quickly and put your complaint in writing. Jo Spiro urges students to 'report small things before they become big and if your landlord does not respond to a letter advise the Advice Centre.' Most landlords are keen to remain on good terms with Home Run (the Housing Bureau) and so, in many cases, a letter of complaint from the Advice Centre can have a much larger impact than a letter from the student. In another situation, third year EAS student Kale had problems when it emerged that their landlord had forged their gas certificate. 'As a house we are extremely angry that the landlord had put our lives in danger, we only realised that we didn't have a certificate when we had a gas leak when it was snowing. I would urge everyone to check their certificates to make sure that they are in date and valid.' This problem occurred despite the fact that Kale's house was being let by one of Norwich's biggest letting agencies. Jo Spiro

warns that students should be wary of such ager cies 'who are often quick to take your money but slow to respond to your problems.' However, one of Norwich's main letting agencies Kent Management stated 'all of our landlords go through a filtering process. We do not let houses where the landlords have not met our standards.' Another area of repeated dispute appears to be i regaining damage deposits. 3rd year ENV student Charlotte had a particularly bad experience in regaining hers: 'At the end of our tenancy agreement, we believed we would get our full deposit back after being told repeatedly by our landlord that he always returned deposits. He even visited the property a few days before we left, saying that the house was in a good conditio and there should be no problems. Therefore we were surprised when he made massive deductions from our deposit. When we asked for detail of the deductions it transpired that money had been taken for several insignificant items such as light bulbs and we had been made to pay for a SE of six dining room chairs when only one had beeJ damaged.' When Charlotte and her housemates questioned the price of some of the items that their landlord had bought it emerged that he had overcharged them for several. In addition to this, Charlotte was fortunate in that she knew the new tenants, who were able to tell her that the items that money had been deducted for had not been placed into the house. In cases like this, Jo Spir< stresses that it is essential that 'you fully agree with the landlord's inventory when you move in. Take photos and make sure there is an agreement on the condition of the house.' All students should remember that you only have to leave the house in the condition .it was in when you moved in. Therefore if you moved into a mess, you can leave the house in a mess - as long as the landlord has acknowledged the state it was in. If a situation arises where you feel your landlord may be in breach of contract it is extremely impo1 tant that you inform the Advice Centre. The Home Run issues a housing list of approved lane lords every year and it is only by informing them of any problems that this can be kept up to date. If nobody complains then the offending landlords will be free to do the same to their new tenants the following year. ~__J Concerns can be addressed to either Home Run or advice workers. • •

I t


C'.tlcnll Wednesday, February 25 2004

Housing Guide

Page 7

• •

am1 es? Moving off-campus into a proper grown up house can be fraught with difficulties. Will you suddenly discover that all your housemates have repellent habits, previously hidden behind locked bedroom doors? How are you to sort out odious responsibilities like cleaning? In the manner of a U.N peace keeper, Ruth Charnock helps you through the minefield of house politics. ewsflash: living together is not always the cosy domestic dream you may have envisaged it to be. The first inklings of this may have come with corridor living, when you realise that not every one has the same rigorous standards of cleanliness as you and that, whilst you may find the thought of 3 week old baked beans abhorrent, for others it may be a case of 'if it isn't harbouring proto-strains of penicillin, I'm not interested'. The difference is that with campus living, you have the nannying element. Those intrusive early morning bin emptying and sink cleaning calls may be irritating now, but when the primordial filth of your new house starts encroaching on your bed, it may be time to draw up a rota. Do this as soon as you move in - it will save many niggles over the amount of responsibility you all share. There's no need to be overly anal about it; just divide the


house into sections and allocate. Make sure though that no-one has to clean the bathroom every time, this will become a job that everybody tries to avoid. There's close friendship and then there's cleaning someone's hair from the plughole. As far as things like shared food, cutlery and

Make sure though that noone has to clean the bathroom every time, this will become a job that everybody tries to avoid. plates go it might be a good idea not to be quite as militant abput this sort of thing as you were on campus. You're moving in with these people, so

Been .there, done that Finding it hard to get a house? Well don't worry, Sarah Smith out to get some advice from the people who've done it all efore. of the most common ms I've come across in ation to student housing is people have a falling it's unfortunate but it hapThis can be put down to lnP1ro::nr,;:o ity clashes or it can relationship problems if livg with a partner. Sometimes as simple as someone not to a chore rota . the best option is to through any problems things become intoleraHowever, 11 is worthwhile sit down with your prospechouse mates before you in and agree on a plan if someone does need to The same goes for lnAr.ininn who is responsible for bills so one perend up with all the Always ensure everyknows what he or she is for if someone does to leave. Another tip is the inventory correto what is really in the and ensure any differare pointed out to your

you do run into serious problems as well as Advice Centre you can to the Dean of Students If you find yourself lnA•~nirln to move back into reslin~mr.iAo:: for welfare reasons as an accident we are <>! there to help you make \ that move. The Dean's Office also sometimes deals with complaints from neighbours. As

the University is always interested in maintaining good public relations if such a complaint is made they will help mediate the situation . This may include a home visit. Students should be considerate of those living in the surrounding area and be aware that these people may live different lifestyles to students. They probably won 't appreciate loud music playing at 3am every morning. This will not only make your year easier but it will also ensure that houses remain available for students in future years ."

Advice Centre Advisor, Jo Spiro. "Don't worry about looking for a house too quickly unfortunately there have been occasions when a group have fallen out before even viewing a house. it's worth taking any contract to the Advice Centre before signing to get it checked and to ensure you understand who is liable for what. Ensure that when you move in you see the Landlords Gas Safety Certificate, which has to be renewed every year by law, unless you use the Home Run service in which case it will have already been checked. A landlord is required by law to produce this certificate within 28 days of you asking to see it. If this doesn't happen you should contact the Advice Centre in Union House. Ensure that the house you are moving into will be habitable by the time you move in. There have been occasions where students have been living In houses

where bits of building work are still being carried out. Also thoroughly check the inventory and the condition that everything is in . If there are any discrepancies let the landlord know so you don't loose your deposit and so any minor problems can be fixed before they become major problems."

Deputy General Manager, Bill Rhodes The worst experience I ever had living in a student house in Birmingham was waking up to find mice had walked over my bed and crapped on my pillow. Also a house almost caught fire. The best thing about living with other students is cooking curries and Sunday lunch together. I'd advise students looking for a house to do it through the Union to avoid dodgy landlords. I had an awful one, without proper certificates. He hadn't checked out the electricity meter at all and it smoked out the whole of my mate's bedroom."

Communications Officer Ned Glasier Do choose a house with a carpet that'll hide all known stains. Don't live with someone who wears his shorts as a !-shirt. Do play indoor football in the lounge. Don't leave chicken soup out on the worktop for two weeks. Do fill your housemate's room from floor to ceiling with crumpled up newspaper. Don't lose the top to your toilet cistern during a party. Do love every minute.•

you obviously like them enough to allow them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to replacing broken plates and eaten bread. There'll probably be no lockable cupboards, so you're going to have to trust that your housemates aren't going to render you starving and sustenance when you come in after a big night out. Some people find that doing mega shops together works well, splitting the cost and creating a communal 'aren't we all grown up, eating spaghetti bolognese and drinking wine together' vibe. However, one has to take into consideration varying appetites, tastes (you may be a raving carnivore, they may be a bunnyloving, lentil-munching vegan), and funds. If you're a beans-on-toast kinda girl and your housemates expect lobster bisque every night, then there could be problems. Living with someone is undoubtedly very intimate, and issues over personal space .. amount of acceptable noise and other niggles will undoubtedly arise. The best advice is probably to mark out your personal territory as early as possible. There's no need to be strident about it - shouts of "I just need some space! " in the first few weeks probably won't create the best ambience. However, everyone is entitled to their own privacy and respecting other's boundaries is important if you are to keep a happy home. That means if someone's door is closed and they're not answering, leave it. Ask before you borrow people's stuff, unless you have a 'what's mine is yours' sort of agreement. Unless you 're all late-nighters don't have too much bass in the midnight hours (or in the morning to wake you up) . Deal with issues as soon as they arise, rather than letting them fester which will lead to divided camps and in-fighting. Student life is taxing enough (ahem) without dreading coming home every night.

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inally remember, that the joys of living in a house with all your favourite people are manifold. Parties, nights together on the sofa, always having a friendly face when you come in after a horrid day - the list is endless. Domestic harmony awaits.

[\•]:0til~3i~HOUSING GUIDE 2004 This handbook was brought to you at vast expense and huge personal secrlflce by: Concrete Editor: Jlm Whalley Editors: Ruth Chamock Rebecca Lawrence

Contributors: Jo Butler Nathan Dlxon Kate Flnburg Mark Ketty Atysse Morrlsey Phll Salnty Sarah Smith

Cartoons: Mark Kelty Photographers: Gareth Davlea Nathan Dlxon

Concrete is published by UUEAS Concrete Society 02004 Concrete. ISSN 1351-2n3. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Publisher or Editor.

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Concrete housing guide 2004 issue 161 25 02 2004