If you’re moving into brand new student accommodation and have been worrying about missing some important piece of admin, you need not look further than this student accommodation checklist. Since moving into halls is fairly straightforward and the admin and bills are mostly handled by the halls offices, this checklist will be most useful to those moving into private student housing.
Student Accommodation Checklist
Unpack Your Bags
With this student accommodation checklist to hand, I guess we should start with the obvious. You live here now, so get your stuff out your suitcase and start living. Maybe give your wardrobe and draws a little wipe down before you put your stuff in there too.
Plan To Get Your Security Deposit Back
Now, not all landlords are bad, that’s for sure, but it could be considered an unwanted formative experience on the road to adulthood to have to put in a shift just to prove that you deserve your security deposit back.
It’s all too common an experience to suddenly be told that those dents in your bedroom wall, that were there when you moved in (and were probably there ten years before you moved in!) were made by you and your housemates, and you now have to pay for the walls to be redecorated.
So, to give you the best chance of getting that money back in your hands, there are two things you should do upon moving in:
- Take pictures and make notes. Go around all the rooms in the house, trying not to miss any of the marks on the wall, dodgy door handles and loose fittings. Keep the pictures somewhere safe and email your landlord about anything that needs fixing, so you’re on record saying it was always that way.
- Check their inventory. You should receive this at the start of your tenancy contract. This should contain it’s own notes about the condition of the property and the appliances that are fitted. Whilst it’s done by a third party, it won’t be as trustworthy as making your own notes. Either way, check it and make sure it’s in alignment with reality. Four years down the line you don’t want to be accused of flogging a fridge that was never there in the first place.
Perform a Safety Check
At the same time as checking for issues, make sure you test all the locks on the doors, make sure the windows close properly, and see if your alarm works (if you’re using one). Student accommodation is notorious for being an easy target for criminals and you want to be able to sleep well knowing your fort is protected from the baddies out there.
Ensure Your Student House Has A Gas Safety Certificate
It’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure your student housing is safe to live in, but it’s always good to check they’re doing their job properly.
Every 12 months, all landlords are legally required to renew the Gas Safety Certificate (CP12) for all gas appliances in a property. Ask to see it, if you don’t already have it. It might go without saying, but an exploding house is the last thing you want when you’re studying for your finals.
Also, all gas work carried out in your home should be performed by a Gas Safe registered engineer, not just any old bloke your landlord hires.
Check The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
Again, this is mostly the landlord’s responsibility, so don’t get worried about what you need to do. There should be at least one smoke detector on each storey of the house, so check those are fitted. There should also be a CO detector where there’s an appliance that uses a solid fuel source (wood, coal) but not gas, so the landlord doesn’t legally have to put one by your boiler or oven.
What is your responsibility, is to test that the smoke detectors work once in a while, for your own safety, and get a CO detector yourself if you’d prefer to be on the safe side.
If you’re in Scotland the laws are stricter on landlords – amongst other things, they should provide a CO detector for boilers.
Get Your Utilities & Broadband Sorted
Perhaps you have your bills included in the contract, in which case you can skip this one. Otherwise, get your best headphones out to enjoy some top-quality ‘on-hold’ music tunes, as you can expect to spend many fun hours raving on the other end of the line with Virgin and British Gas.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Student Bills that covers everything from water to contents insurance, and our specific Guide To The Best Student Broadband Deals which will save you hours when shopping for a good WiFi deal and takes you through all the factors you need to consider.
Check Bin Collection Days
Important knowledge – unless you don’t mind sharing your house with rats. Put your postcode in here to find out your collection days. There may also be some specific rules around what to do with your bins in certain cities. The link should take you to the right council website where they detail all these things.
Register with a Local Doctors
Maybe you’re already signed up to the university GP surgery, but if not then this is a must. Here’s a handy NHS tool for finding your local GP. If you also take medication, get your prescriptions sent to a local pharmacy, so you don’t have to remember to get more packs whilst you’re home.
Memorise Your New Address & Postcode
Or at least put it in your phone notes. You probably won’t have to do this intentionally given that you will be repeating it about four times an hour when sorting out your bills, but you certainly don’t want to be unable to tell the cab driver where you’re going when you stumble out of the club at 4 am.
Decorate Your Room
Alternatively, leave it completely blank and depressing like a prison cell – I personally don’t care. But I suppose I’m here to help you, so try a site like this for cheap movie posters and stuff like that. Putting up photos of family and friends from home is also a nice touch – the FreePrints phone app allows you to get pictures on your phone printed and delivered to your door for low price and effort. The inaugural housemates trip to your nearest IKEA is also a lot of fun. Grab yourself a lava lamp and a rug and you’re golden. You also can’t beat some fairy lights, cliche as they may be – getting your lights right should always be the first thing you do when entering a room.
Get The Essentials For Your House
Hopefully a few of your mates have brought some pans, crockery and cutlery along with them, but you’re bound to need a few things. IKEA also has your back here. Here’s a random list of things you might want to buy that you may otherwise realise you’re missing precisely when you need them:
- a colander
- a sieve
- a knife sharpener
- a measuring jug
- a plug bank
- clothes hangers
You should also bulk-buy as much as you can and split the cost with your housemates for everything that you might share. You’d be very surprised by how much money you can save when you start buying as much as you can in bulk. You can visit Costco if there’s one local, or do it online at a store like Suma. Here’s a quick list of things you might not think of to buy in bulk for your student housing:
- cans of chopped tomatoes
- toilet roll
- bin bags
- breakfast bars
- washing-up liquid
- tea bags
Draw Up A Cleaning Rota
You will soon discover that it is hard work maintaining any level of cleanliness in a student house for very long. Several jobs need doing several times a week and if you don’t divvy up the jobs in a regimented way, someone is going to end up unfairly carrying the burden and resenting the rest of you.
Living with people can be hard enough without any of this, so best draw up a plan that you all agree upon. This will also remind you to do certain jobs that you may otherwise forget, like taking out the bins or changing the dishwasher salt.
So, that’s the end of our moving into student accommodation checklist. Follow all these tips and you should have no nagging thoughts keeping you up at night during your first nights in your new student housing. If you found our student accommodation checklist useful, you should also check out our Preparing For University Checklist for a wider look at everything you need before coming to uni.
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