Students can face many different stresses at university; from the heavy work load, homesickness, social anxiety and of course financial worries. So, when we all hope it is a time of great excitement and discovery, the reality is that going to university can cause a lot of stress for students.

One particular area we know can cause a lot of stress for students can be their living situation. In particular, having to share a house with others. Living in shared student accommodation can cause some housemates to end up like this:
Shared Student Housing

Arguing over rooms, the tv, food, and often bills. Getting into financial problems because you are living with friends is the last thing that any students wants. So here are a few tips on what you should do, and how to avoid financial stress.

Get Content Cover:

It sounds seriously boring, but it is also very important. Get content insurance, so that if the worst happens and you get robbed something happens then you will be covered. It can be tough to get quotes for shared living content cover, but search around and give it a go. Unfortunately, the market is not that well served for students living in shared accommodation and so you might need to look for a specialist provider. Be sure to inform them that you live with others otherwise you could risk invalidating your insurance.

Check You Deposit Is Protected:

According to the housing charity Shelter, more than a third of private renters in England and Wales either don’t know about the tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme or don’t know if their deposit is protected. However, in England & Wales for an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ (i.e. probably yours if you started renting after 6 April 2007), your landlord must put your deposit into one of these schemes within 30 days of getting it. This means that your deposit cannot be used as cash by your landlord and should be available at the end of your tenancy.

It is also important you live with people you trust, as we all have that friend who we love but you also would never share a house with because you just know they’ll break everything. (Also take photos of when you move in, and when you leave to show you kept the property in good order).

Make Paying Rent Boost Your Credit Score:

This is another boring one that will help you loads later on down the line. Credit scores will become something you start thinking about, (and sadly worrying about), a lot in later life. But, you can make a useful start improving your credit score even as a student. Opt in to the free Rental Exchange Scheme, launched March 2016, which records your rental payments and sends the results to Experian.

Use A Bill Splitting Service:

A significant cause of arguments and stress is chasing housemates for bills. When you move in to your shared home you can each decide which utility you want to take care of, but that means each month you’re going to have to check and pay that bill, then chase all your housemates for the money back. Trust us, it can get very complicated and we have seen some mega-arguments caused by housemates arguing over bills. So try out Huru, or other services, that can help manage that process for you. At Huru, we will set up the gas, electricity, water and internet services you want, for you. Then, every month we will send each housemate their equal share of all those bills. You can see in one email a month what all the services cost for the house, and what your equal share is. So, rather than leaving it to one housemate to organise, and then chase the rest, everyone just pays their share to Huru who will make sure all of your accounts are paid.

TV License:

Honestly, few things are as boring as TV License but few things are as necessary as well. Many, many, students forget to pay their TV license and end up getting in to trouble with the service. If you rent an entire property, just a room, or live in a shared home, you need to be covered by a valid TV license to watch or record TV. This may be covered in your tenancy agreement by the landlord, so check and if it isn’t then you’ll need to sort it out with your housemates. Again, this is a service that Huru, and others, will manage for you. At no extra cost for the service, Huru will set up your TV license for you and split the cost between you and your housemates.

Make Sure You Are Being Billed Correctly:

Few things are more annoying than getting a utility bill which is bigger than you expected. Unfortunately, this can often happen if your energy provider is working on estimates of the gas and/or electricity you have consumed. Therefore, always make sure to provide meter readings to your supplier when you first move in to a property, and if you switch to a new supplier please make sure to give your new provider a meter reading when you go live on supply with them. If you use a service like Huru, we will work hard to remind you of useful tips like this, and check that your bills are correct for you.

Going forward, providing regular meter readings, such as whenever you get a bill, is the best way to make sure you are billed for what you use. This will mean that your bills are more likely to be accurate to what you have used, and you won’t fall out with your housemates over spending to much.

Set Up Call Blocking With Your Broadband/Phone Line Provider:

Now, some people might still enjoy picking up an old landline phone and having a good chat down the line. But we think we’re pretty safe saying that most students will be quite alright with their mobiles. When you set up your homes broadband provider, don’t buy their landline services as well. Instead, set up blocked calls. This will mean that even if you have a landline phone you won’t be able to make any calls, and you won’t need to face high household call bills because your mate was up late chattering to their nan on the phone. At Huru we offer default call barring on most broadband deals for students we’ve agreed for students.

Tell Your Utilities When Your Tenancy Is Over:

You’ve had a great year at uni and now you’re back home for the summer enjoying some R&R. The last thing you want is a phone call from the landlord saying their are outstanding bills for you. If you don’t tell your utility companies that your tenancy is over, and you are no longer liable for the bills, they will keep sending them to you. If you use Huru, we will inform all your utility services managed by Huru that you’re no longer paying the bills for you. So, avoid any arguments and last minute summer dramas by singing up to Huru.

Following these simple tips can help you avoid hitting your head on the desk in frustration, and instead feel a bit more like this guy…….

living with housemates

Also published on Medium.