Moving out of University accommodation and into a shared student home can be an exciting time, however it can also bring some new responsibilities. And this year, more than ever we’re looking to you to help keep yourself, your housemates and your community safe.
Here we’ve put together a list of the key things you need to know and do as you move in.
- Get your bills sorted
While it might be boring, bills are now inevitable and need to be sorted as soon as you can. Firstly, double check what bills you actually need to pay. Even if your contract is ‘bills included’, double check what this really means, as you might still need to pay for things like WiFi and your TV licence.
Water: Water is an easy bill to sort out, as there is only one supplier in the North West – United Utilities. All you need to do is contact them to tell them when you are moving in, then set up an account with them. You can also create an online account to easily submit future meter readings.
Gas and electricity: You can find out who your current gas and/or electricity supplier is on the Ofgem website.
There are many different suppliers for gas and electricity, so it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time looking for the cheapest supplier. You might find it useful to use a price comparison website such as uSwitch or Compare the Market to find the right deal for you.
TV licence: If you plan on watching live TV or BBC iPlayer you will need a TV licence. If you get caught without one you could potentially be given a hefty fine, so make sure you get it sorted when you first move in.
Council Tax: All student-only houses are exempt from paying council tax, and houses that have a student living there with other people working are eligible for a discount. If you’re unsure, check here whether you need to be paying.
If your house is exempt from paying council tax, you still need to inform the council that you are a student in order to get a full exemption or a discount. If you are asked for any further evidence or an exemption certificate, you can get this from the Student Services Centre.
Insurance: If you or your parents already have insurance, check whether the policy will cover contents in your new home. There are plenty of deals available and it is worth shopping around to make sure you get the right cover. Endsleigh specialise in student insurance and some private halls include contents insurance in their rental price.
2. Fill in your inventory and take pictures!
To make sure you get your full deposit back at the end of the year, the first thing you should do is agree a full and proper inventory with your landlord. This is a document recording the condition of the property and the listing the items within it, which can be checked if there are any unnecessary deductions from your deposit when you move out.
Take photos of everything in the house, especially if there are any parts that are broken or dirty when you move in. These photos can be really valuable if you get accused of breaking anything in the house or leaving the house in a worse condition than when you moved in.
Also check that your landlord has provided all the safety certificates needed and that your house has all the correct safety measures in place, these include:
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): EPC are certificates that review and grade the property energy performance.
Electrical Certificates: These ensure that tenants are protected from any exposed wires, faulty connections, malfunctioning appliances.
Gas Safety Certificate: Landlords must arrange a yearly gas safety inspection that has to be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer and a copy of the certificate must be given to tenants.
Fire Safety Checks: These include things like ensuring a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor and fire extinguishers.
See advice from Shelter for more information.
3. Register with a GP
It is likely that you will have moved into a different area of Manchester for your second year, and therefore it’s best to register with a GP that’s closer to your home. You can find the closest GP service to your home here.
4. Share household responsibilities
In halls, especially if you had a cleaner it’s likely you didn’t really have to think too much communal spaces. Things will be different now, and it’s definitely worth putting some thought and effort into how you’d like to run the house to make sure you all get on and have somewhere nice to live. Rotas for cleaning etc. may be too much to you, but it’s important to make sure everyone contributes.
You can save money and time by buying products you all need for the house together (cleaning products, loo roll…). There’s no right or wrong way, but it’s easier to have discussions early on about how you want your household to work.
Waste & Recycling
Getting to grips with bins is always confusing, especially as there may be a different system from what you’re used to.
It’s important to make sure your bins go out on time and on the right days. Find out what day your bins are collected, or order new ones on the Manchester City Council website. Make sure you also recycle whatever you can – check what can and can’t be recycled in Manchester.
Don’t forget that you can order recycling bins for free from Manchester City Council, but if your main black bin goes missing, you’ll be charged for a replacement.
6. Remember you’re part of a community
It’s important to remember that you’re a member of a mixed and diverse community and that your lifestyle as a student may be different to your neighbours. Don’t forget that whilst there may be lots of other students living near you, there’s also people who are elderly, have young children, work shifts or even have health problems.
It’s always important to be considerate of those around you and be a good neighbour, but at this time it’s vital that you follow UK government guidance at all times, including restrictions currently in place in Greater Manchester on socialising. Remember, at present you must not socialise with anyone outside of your own household.
The University works closely with partnership agencies, such as Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council to respond complaints about students in the community, which are taken very seriously. Antisocial behaviour and breaches of COVID-19 guidelines may be subject to University disciplinary action and that’s as well as having enforcement action taken against you by local agencies.
We want you to enjoy living in Manchester and your time at university, so remember none of this is one way. You also have the support of the partnership and the right to a live in a peaceful home and safe community. If you or your housemates are being affected by noise or have safety concerns, don’t be afraid to report the issue
Help and support
If you would like to have a chat with a University representative, about any aspect of off campus living get in touch with Manchester Student Homes, firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the team on 0161 275 7680
You can find more information on managing your money from Student Support and Advice