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2 HOUSING GUIDE

www.concrete-online.co.uk

CONCRETE W EDNESDAY, MARCH

15, 2000

e type is right A look at some of the students you might be fortunate enough to share a sofa with ... Teeny-bopper

The Waster

Character traits: Just out of school, the teeny-bopper has been longing for the freedom of University since the age of 11. For the first year she probabl y lived in one of the newer residences - mummy's little girl could never share a bathroom with other students. Liquid and Ti me are her favourite haunts, especially on student nights when th ere are more drunken and desperate men to pull. Housemate potential : The teeny-bopper bri ngs with her a whole host of problems. Never bother trying to re member the names of her 'boyfriends' - they wi ll not be around for long enough to necessitate learning such trivia, and if you don't know their name it prevents that common faux-pas of getting it wrong. Disgruntled girlfriends will come banging on your door, and you wi ll be cal led upon to put in an Oscar-winning performance every time her parents call and she is 'otherwise engaged' in the bedroom with her latest conquest...

Character-traits: This is the ultimate student stereotype, and one that most of us have had to

a long-sleeved brown However, -_JQ~~~~~~~~~~}J(_ T-shirt. there is always one

Couple in love Character tra its: lt seems that these two have been together since the dawn of time, but in fact they got it together at the first LCR . After their first year together they are inseparable to the extent of wearing each other's clothes (yes she's the one you see wondering around campus wearing his rugby shirt with the sleeves rolled up, looking 'endearing') and finishing each other's sentences. At first they were

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fight off at some point. But as is the case with most cliches, it is true. Sometimes the washing up doesn't get done for a couple of days because no one can be bothered , the odd spliff gets passed around in the kitchen of an evening (not that we 're condoning it in any way) , sometimes we get the urge to listen to Nirvana while wearing

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cute, but now it's starting to wear a bit thin . Housemate potential : They might seem like the ideal house-mates: tidy, private, quiet and double the rent money for one room! Just take a moment to consider the consequences. Firstly, they could continue to be the same lovely couple. Nothing wrong with that you might think, but just consider the timing of the move into your new house. IT WILL BE THEIR ANNIVERSARY! The other scenario is that love's young dream will turn sour. The constant bickering

person on each corridor who will delight in making thi s stereotype their own and are proud to get disparaging looks from the locals. Housemate potential : If you don't mind living in a complete doss-house you should get on fine , but their constant presence on the sofa could get a bit wearing ... and never leave your biscuits unattended . The smoky atmosphere will permeate the thickest of doors, so always reread any essays on campus the next day to check for any druginduced 'errors'.

is bad enough , but when you are expected to take sides you will long for the time when the only things you had to worry about were the used condoms between the cushio ns on the sofa.

The Lad Character-tra its : You can hardly fail but be familia r with the beer-swilling , Oasis worshipping, Lynx-fuelled Lad stereotype. They are everywhere on campus: in the pub (obviously) , playing football behind Waveney Terrace at three o'clock in the morning and spilling multiple pints of lager at the LCR . Housemate potent ial: While it is easy to get on with the Lad superficially, living with him is not going to be so easy. The Lad is always a 'mummy's boy' and so clean ing is a foreign language to him . Then there are the added pleasures of 'the lads' coming round every match day expecting crisps, pizza and lager; posters of page three 'stunnas' on every available surface; and the smell of Lynx and sweaty football socks emanating from his room .

Hunting for ·housemates the end of the year because you should know the people t's decision t ime. Unless of your less financially you live with well enough to you want to end up living minded housemates. make an informed decision with the social rejects Most of the houses in about their suitability, but that no-one else can bear Norwich are terraced and what about the girl from your living with, or, even have very thin walls - none seminar group or that bloke worse, get stuck back on of your Waveney breezeyou met down the pub? Your campus sharing a cramped blocks here. This means Waveney kitchen with a load best bet would be to speak to careful planning is required their current flatmates of first years, you'd better when it comes to the give some thought to who subtly - about their general musical tastes of your you want to move in with. Many people simply move into a house w ith Haliwell (as my their flatmates from the f irst year. This is a great housemates are!) can idea if you all get on well lead to a stress disorder. and have the same ideas _. 11!11111lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll.:t Whoever you decide on, 11111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111 there will be about hygiene and disagreements about money living habits . . parties. If, however, one of etc, and sometimes you will Try to find out people's you always ends up doing all wonder if you have made the attitudes towards things like the washing up and the only right decision. There will money. Will they pay their rent days when there are no also be great parties, surreal on time? Are they willing to arguments ·are those when conversations round the put some money towards the cleaner has been in to do dinner table and someone to decorating the house? If the kitchen, you may want to talk to if you 're feeling down. you 're going to end up with reconsider. Living off campus is a step all the bills under your name Finding someone to live with closer to the ' real world ' and you are going to want to be is a big test of your relatively the people you live with may pretty sure that you 're hot new friendships and there well be friends fo~ }ife. will be arguments. By now going to be left ! n the red at~

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Living off campus is a step ~;r~!ot~s~~=~e:~ ~~~g ClOSer tO the 'real WOrld' and the people you live with may well be friends for life.

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HOUSING GUIDE 3

www.concrete-online.co.uk

C ONCRETE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2000

ome strai 路Finding the perfect student home can be a frustrating but rewarding task. Here are a few h~ndy tips to get you started ... ou cannot gain an accurate perspective on Norwich's "plentiful" student "accommodation" until you've seen a few of the urine soaked hellholes

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available. But mixed in with / these slums there will be the odd little gem that will sparkle out from all the other Triangle terraced houses. To find these little gems though you need to be organised and fast moving.

The Student Advice Centre !has a good service called Home Run, which is a good place to start, as it supplies a regularly updated list of property available for rent. The good tolk in the said Advice Centre also

break down the list into handy bite size form so you can go straight to the section that you want to know about (most commonly the number of bedrooms). Common experience suggests that most of the landlords will have already let their houses by the time you call but do not fear as many landlords will have other properties路of varying size that may also be available. So even if the house you phoned for is taken do enquire if he or she has any more. In addition to this the Advice Centre update the list every couple of days so don't get impatient. The other way is to check around all the agencies in Norwich. Like the Advice Centre's Home Run, agencies will have a number of properties for you to look at, and can often be more reliable than individual landlords. Of course this means a lot of running around the Golden Triangle for you and your prospective housemates, but make sure you check around the area to make sure you're getting a good price. When you go to view a house, choose a time when everyone

can go. Then you will know everyone's opinion of the house and the more sets of eyes the better. There are many important

Try to find a house with equally nice bedrooms, otherwise your harmonious household could end up like a war-zone things to search for. Smoke detectors are vital accessories, as are fire extinguishers especially in the kitchen. They will be needed for when you fancy a late night snack only to discover an hour later - after you've woken up fully clothed in the on the toilet - that your Tesco economy burgers have burst into flame-s . Another essential is to ask the landlord for a copy of the property's gas safety and electrical safety certificates. Carbon Monoxide leaks can kill, and it is vital that you check this out before you sign an agreement. If carbon monoxide detectors are fitted, you're probably on a winner with the

landlord in terms of safety at least. Standard advice here, but ask if you can turn on the taps and flush the toilet to make sure that they work. If possible, look around the house without the landlord being there. The tenants will answer your question more accurately without the landlord's beady, moneygrabbing eyes staring at them. Another hurdle of the house hunting process is deciding who gets which room. Generally it's best to leave this until the end, and just try to find a house with equally nice bedrooms - otherwise arguments will inevitably erupt and your once harmonious household could end up a bit of a war zone. If someone should finally agree to accept the room no bigger than a cardboard box, your common courtesy should lead you to offer them a discount on the bills - or if you're just plain old mean, let them suffer from claustrophobia and pay the full whack. In closing, five simple words: "good luck" and "lower your standards".


• Moving away from the comforts of campus can be a daunting prospect, so here's a rough guide to the parts of Norwich students usually migrate to ...

The Avenues

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he Avenues is situated slap bang between Earfham and Unthank Road. Unfortunately the only problem is that you're not as near to the shops as you are on the aforementioned roads; and it's also not quite as convenient for buses to UEA. 'Near' is a relative concept though - all it means is that if you live on, say, one of the Welsh roads (Swansea, Cardiff, Pembroke etc), you have a five minute walk to the newsagents instead of two - not that far really. Of course, there are also little shops dotted around like the corner shop on Swansea Road, as well as the luxury of a second hand bookshcp and a non-pensioner type hairdresser on Avenue Road. One advantage of the Avenues' geographical position is that you are only half way between your friends on Earlham and your friends on Unthank, so your social life doesn't involve a lot of trekking between one and the other. The houses tend to be the usua terraced affairs as elsewhere in the Golden Triangle, and you still have lots of nice pubs nearby, like the Gl:lrden House and the Lillie Langtry.

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f you want to live at the centre of the student community, then choosing a house along Earlham Road is a very good move. All your staple student needs are close at hand, with pubs, takeaways, and even a Somerfleld supermarket, although if you want some cheap booze you'll have to head to Victoria Wine, also contained within the dramatically titled Earlham Shopping Centre. Earlham Road conveniently harbours some of the pubs on the staple student pub crawl, meaning that you will not have too far to stagger home after a night out. The Mitre is one of the more popular venues, and is a renowned haunt for the University's sports clubs. Alternatively you could go for a nice Sunday lunch at the Pickwick, a bit closer towards town. As you are at the centre of the golden triangle you will find most of your friends' houses are fairly close, and the joys of campus are only a 10 minute bus or bike ride away. Earlham Road residents even get the luxury of their own wheely bin, which can cause great amusement at all those drunken parties.

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lthough not right in the heart of the Golden Triangle, Colman Road has a.lot to offer students. The houses are of a more modern design than most of the student houses found in the Golden Triangle, but face traffic from a fairly busy road , which can help those late night studying sessions, or alternatively might lead you to buy a gorgeous pair of fluffy earmuffs. Situated between the rrain student area and the University, it is ideal for lazy sods who like to stay in bed a bit longer bef01e those impossible nine in the morning lectures. Living here is easy. The evening begins with take awa~ (you have a choice of two Chinese takeaways, Pizza or the local chippie), and you're also spoilt for choice when considering that pre-club drink as there are two off licenses situated nearby - although you will have to head for Earlham or Unthank for the main student pubs. And for the next morning there is a pharmacy at hand to help nurse those hangovers. On the other hand, if you feel like a night in front of the box, there is a fairly well equipped video store to cater to all your needs. Other delights include a newsagent, a delicious bakery, a hairdressers and numerous other stores to satisfy any student needs.

espite rumours to the contrary, Bowthorpe is not really the Norwich equivalent of Moss Side, Marsh Farm, or Beirut. However, it is perhaps not the most student friendly part of our fine city, and a~hough there are apparently many students living up there, you'll never really bump into them as it is advisable to try and blend in with the local populace rather than walk around wearing a velvet jacket the equivalent of a big neon sign saying "I'm a student, come beat me". Bowthorpe was largely constructed in the 'enlightened' past when town planners thought it would be a really good idea to try and create a village atmosphere through homogenous settlements complete with their own shops, community facilities and green areas. Unfortunately the plan was slightly flawed, and most of the shops are run down and closing. The community facilities (interpreted as pubs) are best approached ... well, best not approached at all; while the green areas seem to be an alternative place for people to throw a whole lot of litter. Though should you ever feel a pressing need to own a shopping trolley, look for a tree and, like the pot of gold underneath a rainbow, a trolley will inevitably be residing under its spreading canopy. Despite all this, Bowthorpe is not nearly as intimidating as many make out - just remember to say "bluddy stoodents" every time you walk into a shop.

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Earlham Road

Colman Road

Bowthorpe

Unthank Road nthank Road, or THE Unthank Road, is probably the other option if you want to be at the hub of student life. Situated about 15 minutes walk from the City centre and an easy bus ride from campus, or 30 minutes walk if you are felling particularly energetic, Unthank Road is almost as convenient as campus. As for the accomodation itself, the majority is made up of Victorian terraces of varying sizes and, of course, varying quality. And if you like your food and drink Unthank doesn't disappoint. As well as numerous takeaways and grocery stores there is a pub literally on almost every street corner.Some such as the Unthank Arms and the York Tavern have been on the pub crawl circuit for years, and for a massive Sunday lunch the only place to go is the Rose. But beware: a night down the local could well burn a sizable hole in your pocket, so it is worth looking out for happy hours and special deals and trying to use them. Either that or keep extending that overdraft.

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Dereham Road e:>ending upon which end of Dereham Road your house is, life could have very different faces. 1\'one of them bad. The main reason for this split personality is the length of Dereham Road. At one e,d, you are well within walking distance of town. At the other, the University is no more than a hop, skip and gleeful jump away. The entire length is blessed with numerous newsagents and pubs, although the sea·ch for a cashpoint is slightly more tricky. The best of the pubs is, by common agreement, The Fat Cat. If ~u are a lover of real ales from around the country, and Europe more generally, then this is the quiet, cosy haunt you've been looking for. But get there early if you're up for a good old session, because it's one of the City's more popular watering holes. If a quiet night in sounds more appealing, there is a video shop on the way down Dereham into· town. There are a few fast food joints, and bus stops pepper the length of the road .

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6 HOUSING GUIDE

www.concrete-online.co.uk

t's taken time, but you've finally found your luxury mansion on the outskirts of Norwich - or more likely a four bedroom terrace house in the 'Notting Hill' of Norwich, the Golden Triangle. Before you settle back into your new abode and begin planning the house warming party, there is one very important issue left to settle: signing the contract. lt's vital that you understand your rights and prospective contract before signing your life away, so if there's a bit of legal jargon you don't understand or a clause you're unsure of, take the contract to the Student Advice Centre where they can explain it to you. Make sure you check everything before you sign anything - even the smallest detail could get you into hot water. The rights you have depends on the type of agreement that you hold. Most students have an assured tenancy of some sort. Basically this means that when you have signed the contract "for a fixed period of time you have to pay the rent even if you have moved out. At the end of the fixed period you must also give the landlord notice of when you are leaving equal to the intervals in which you pay rent (ie if you pay rent monthly, then you have to give one month's notice). Should things go drastically wrong and your landlord tries to evict you, they can only take action if you have not paid your rent for two months (if paying monthly) or for eight weeks (if paying weekly), or if the legally acceptable period of notice has expired. Should the landlord wish to demolish or reconstruct your house, or if

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CONCRETE WEDNESDAY, MARCH

they are forced to sell by the mortgage provider, or if you have breached any of the terms in your contract, then the landlord can also force you to leave. Ifs important to remember that if you sign a joint tenancy agreement with other students, you become liable for their rent if they don't pay it, and you should not sign a

Check everything before you sign anything • even the smallest detail could get you Into hot water. joint agreement with people you don't know, or who have just been introduced to you by the landlord. Once you've had everything thoroughly checked and you've decided to sign, the landlord becomes responsible for any repairs that should be required to: The structure and exterior of the property; baths, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations; heating and hot water installations; If you are renting a flat or maisonette, other parts of the building or installations in it which he owns or controls and whose disrepair would affect you. Your landlord is also responsible for having any gas appliances annually checked by a CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers) tradesman. He should keep a record of this and issue it to the tenant within 28 days of each annual check. Electrical systems and any appliances supplied with the property are also the landlord's responsibility. You may be required to pay a damage

15, 2000

deposit at the beginning of your tenancy; this just protects the landlord should something be broken in one of those hazy hung over mornings, or by other means. But the landlord should not take any money from this deposit for general wear and tear, and it may be useful to take pictures stamped with a time and date just to prove that anything already damaged when you move in has not been caused by you. One of the painful parts of being a grown up is that you have to give the government extortionate amounts of money. Luckily for you they realise that you are skint, and therefore you don't have to pay Council Tax. But make sure you keep a hold of your Council Tax Exempt Certificate, which you may have to show the Council or landlord. You should be given th~ certificate at the beginning of the year. The only way you have to pay Council Tax is if you are either a part-time student or you live with a non-student or part-timers. Unfortunately, the BBC aren't quite as generous as those lovely government people, and you will have to buy a television licence for all those long hours spent on the sofa watching Richard and Judy rather then in the library. If you don't pay the licence then you could find yourself in court with a hefty fine being slapped on you. Well those are just a few basic ideas about what you should do before you get your bags unpacked. Of course, nothing should go wrong and you could already be well on your way to one of the happiest years of your life.


HOUSING GUIDE 7

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e ee o you have found your dream home, but can you manage to survive the year without the comforts of residences? No more cleaners to empty your bin of pot noodles, and more importantly, no one to clean that abyss otherwise known as the kitchen , as you finally discover the reality of student living. In any household you are likely to find that there comes a natural divide between those of you who actually do care if there isn't a clean surface in the house, and those whose idea of hygiene is to count how many different forms of bacteria they can collect from a leftover dinner plate that has sat on the kitchen table for over a month. And this is where the fun of a cleaning rota comes in. These exist mainly in male/female houses or the true girly house, where the prospect of living in a permanent state of disarray doesn't seem to appeal quite as much to the boys (and I am not ~;;==~~~~~~~~~~~~~~==~~~~~ being

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Changing rooms

efore saying anything about student pasta and booze. decor, it's important to make a couple The walls will usually be a rather unpleasant urine of points. Firstly, most students cannot colour, but those mammoth poster sales will come even afford a Country Homes in handy here - wherever you go in the Golden magazine, let alone copy the designs Triangle, bands, cartoon characters and naked inside. Secondly, most students' are not exactly ladies stare down and shelter you from the what you would call 'house-proud', and see the wallpaper. The carpet will either be brown (due to house as a venue for parties and somewhere to age - it was probably snow white to start off with) rest their weary head at the end of the day. I say or it will have some horrendous pattern. You know 'most students' . - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - , t h e type of pattern I because there is mean - where you always the cannot tell where student who has part of the pattern a Habitat card, a ends and a fat weekly particularly allowance from disturbing stain home and more begins. Rugs can cleaning utensils provide some than Mrs Mop. escape from the But for the other unnerving carpet, 95 per cent of and can easily be students I think it positioned to cover is fair to say their beer stains and houses are in cigarette burns. much the same Students can also state of disarray. brighten the place by adding the typical bits of To start with, most houses will contain the same student decor to make the house seem more like basic amenities. In the living room there will be a a home. Pot plants of all sizes and varieties are dead sofa, the odd chair and a knackered table. scattered around and soon become part of the All will be a in different styles and picked up from family (sadly most will be at varying stages of a skip 20 years ago by a distant landlord. But a decay - but we'll ignore that). few stylish throws from second hand shops can Candles are another popular choice - and the easily remedy the jaded seventies patterns that bigger and funkier the candlestick holder the you might come across. In the kitchen, amenities better - along with groovy picture frames to put all will be scarce too - a table and chairs, a washing those lovely drunken photos in. And of course machine (with a mind of its own) , a cooker with what student home would be complete without the congealed stains from students past (and present) traditional lava lamp sitting in the corner radiating and course \C!Steful kitche upits to store beans, the right atmo~phere, . I •

sexist without good evidence) . But before images of Jacko from Brushstrokes giving your kitchen an immaculate Flash cleaning appear, it is worth remembering that all houses have had years of student wear and tear and that you are therefore unlikely to find any kitchen

"There are those whose idea of hygeine is to count how many different forms of bacter1a they can collect." · that will ever look like home. The rota will invariably only last the first week of term, when guilt conspires to make everyone keep the house nice, and thereafter a few hardcore cleaners continue to try and keep the house tidy while complaining that their other housemates wouldn 't know what a dishcloth looked like. This is also, therefore, where most of the house arguments are likely to arise, as no one will admit to being negligent in not cleaning the bathroom/ kitchen or not hoovering the house, and you are unlikely to have much success in persuading them to do so either. Student houses were never meant to look immaculate and you will soon discover that the only time anyone actually bothers to do anything are when the dreaded landlord's inspection occurs, or when your parents decide to visit. So unless you have some gratuity to cash in, or inherit a large sum of money from an ageing relative and you can afford to rent a butler/ cleaner/ dogsbody, you have two years of arguments mixed with mess.

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Home truths 111 15 03 2000