Accommodation: Tips for Shared Living

It can be a great experience to live in a shared house with friends. To keep avoidable conflicts with flatmates to a minimum, this page includes a few helpful tips.

Bills and utilities

If the bills are not included in your rent, then you are responsible for paying them.

On the day you move in, make sure you take readings from the gas and electricity meters and tell the suppliers your readings. If you don’t do this, you could end up footing the bill for the previous tenants!

If you don’t know who is supplying the services you can contact:

  • Gas: Transco meter helpline: 08706 081524
  • Electricity: Meter Point Admin Service: 0845 6015972
  • Water: Welsh Water: 0800 0520145

You can usually have more than one name on the bills. If only one person’s name appears on the bills, remember that person is liable to pay them. If you live in a houseshare, make sure you’re not the only one named on the bills!

Top tip: Use Glide to manage the bills and avoid arguments with your flatmates – sign up at the start of your tenancy, and you’ll hopefully never have a falling out over bills.

TV Licence

If you have a TV, you’re going to need a licence. You can find out more on the TV licensing page.

Broadband

At the start of autumn term sales representatives for broadband providers often hang around near our campus, offering deals to students. Check with your landlord and tenancy agreement before you sign up for anything. Your house is probably already connected to a network – it may cost more effort and money to have a new line installed.

Beware of any offers to “amend” a pre-printed contract. Some students have been forced to pay 12-month contracts for the full duration, despite sales representatives’ “amendments” promising shorter contracts.

Everyday Living

You may find the following pages relevant:

  • Student cooking and healthy eating – Includes useful links, recipes and more. Just don’t forget to clean up your dishes and the kitchen after you’re done!
  • Cultural differences – if you are living with people from different cultures for the first time, this page offers some advice.

Stuff to take with you when you move into your new home

Before you move, check what is provided in the house that you are renting. If crockery, cutlery and pots and pans are included, don’t weigh yourself down by bringing these items with you. In the majority of cases you will require bedding (duvet, pillow and linen) and towels.

When moving in, it’s a good idea to stock up on household items such as cleaning equipment, detergents and refuse bags.

If taking any furniture with you, it is your responsibility to ensure that it complies with standards related to Fire Safety. Check that any chairs, mattresses etc are clearly labelled to show compliance.

Repairs

Landlords are legally responsible for repairs to their property. If a repair is required, make sure that you inform the landlord in writing straight away even if you initially inform him/her verbally. Landlords are not obligated to carry out repairs until they have received written notice. The work should be carried out within a reasonable period of time – for example, a repair to the central heating boiler or blocked drains should be dealt with quickly but you can expect minor problems to take a little longer.

If an unreasonable amount of time has elapsed and the repairs have not been done, remind the landlord in writing of his responsibility to carry out the repair. Keep copies of all letters and send by recorded delivery so you have proof of receipt.

If the repairs are not carried out within a reasonable amount of time after you have written to your landlord, you can seek advice from:

Never withhold rent if your landlord has failed to carry out a repair. This would place you in a vulnerable position as it amounts to a breach of contract. Although you may feel justified, your landlord can take you to court for non-payment of rent.

Redecorating

Make sure you have the landlord’s written permission before decorating or making any changes to the property. If the landlord has not approved of any redecorating or changes you could find yourself lumbered with a hefty bill when you leave, or money deducted from your deposit.

Neighbourliness

Living in private accommodation means that you are now living in the local community – and you should endeavour to be a good neighbour.