How Not to Get a House
From second year, most students at Warwick arrange their own off-campus accommodation. Having now gone through this process, I can share some tips on making it as stressful as possible for yourself.
Wait Until Term 3 to Start Thinking About It
This is the most important part of having a bad time getting a house; between finding housemates, deciding where you want to live, doing viewings and reading tenancy agreements, the process can easily take a very long time, so minimising your wiggle room ensures that you will have to deal with many important decisions while under a lot of stress.
What can’t be avoided is the fact that there are more rooms available than people looking for them, so you will eventually find a house, unless you literally do not have enough time to look.
Don’t Make Close Friendships
I believe the most common choice for Warwick students is to share a house. Even if there are individual contracts for the rooms, you’ll be spending a lot of time with these people, it would be beneficial to know them well. Finding a group of people you want to live with can be made much harder by avoiding social situations where you could make close bonds with fellow students; a good friend would likely be a candidate for becoming a housemate, so ensure you have as few as possible!
You may then have to resort to looking for housemates online. Options for doing this include Facebook groups and the “Housemates Wanted” forum on the Student Union’s website.
Never Explore the Areas around Campus
By staying huddled in your room at all times when not at a lecture or seminar, you can stay in the for dark about what the various locations near campus would be like to live in. This makes it harder to narrow down your options when you start searching.
Pursue One House at a Time
There are many reasons why you may suddenly be unable to take a house. Someone could leave your group, a different group could get in first, or the current tenants could decide that they want to stay there for another year. By halting the search and viewing process once you have found somewhere you could potentially stay in, you have the opportunity to waste weeks if it doesn’t work out!
Allow Members of Your Group to not Engage with the Renting Process
There can be a lot of complexities and details involved in finally getting a house sorted, such as needing to pay rent and a deposit. If anyone in your group doesn’t realise until the eleventh hour that they have a problem, it opens up an opportunity for a mad scramble to sort everything out before moving in.
Move Into a House You’ve Never Visited with People You’ve Never Met
When things are really coming down to the wire, you may need to make big gambles such as these. They have the advantage of potentially being unfixable by the time you discover something is wrong, since you will have already signed the let. However, most people are nice, and there isn’t as much risk to moving in with a friend of a friend, for example. The risk of moving into a house you haven’t visited is also reduced if even one member of your group has been to see it.
Sign Up to Pay Bills Under the Wrong Name
This is more of a niche one, which is only likely to work if your name is easily misspelled. For example, my name is Aidan, but the name “Aiden” seems to be much more common, and is typically how people assume my name is spelled when they have only heard it spoken (while creating an account over the phone, for example). If you can pull this off, then you can wait for a full month hearing nothing from the energy company until you eventually get a letter asking this poor stranger called Aiden to pay his overdue bills.
If, for some reason, you want to reduce the amount of stress involved in finding a house, then you may wish to do the opposite of what I have recommended here, most importantly by starting to look into houses now if you haven’t already.