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What’s it like living in….Montefiore Halls?

Halls Questionnaire: Montefiore 

Was Montefiore your first choice? 

No, I originally applied to be in Glen Eyre. However, I had a great time in Monte and I’m glad I ended up there! I don’t think it matters too much which halls you are in, as the experience you have is determined more by the people you meet and what you make of it.

How many people live in your flat/corridor?

There were 7 of us in our corridor. It was a nice number to share with as it was sociable enough, but meant the kitchen was never too busy and you didn’t have to wait ages for a shower. However, in some ways it was a shame that Monte has flats as it would have been nice to have the freedom to visit others without a locked door in the way!

What’s the social atmosphere like in your halls? 

The social atmosphere in our halls was great! A few of the flats in our block became very close, and we all still live together and see each other frequently two years later. Having said that, there were people in a few flats in the block that we didn’t know at all because we never saw them! I think it really depends who you end up living with as to how sociable your halls will be. If you aren’t that close with the people you live with, there will be plenty of other people in your block to get to know!

 Are you catered/self-catered? 

Montefiore is self-catered. For me personally, it was great because it meant I was able to cook whatever and whenever I wanted. In first year I definitely would never have been awake early enough to get breakfast in a catered hall! It allowed me a lot of freedom, and cooking together is quite sociable. Plus, we had a communal kitchen that we always socialised in, whereas many catered halls don’t.

How was moving in day? 

Moving in day was a great experience. We were given a fresher pack that introduced us to the university and its services, which was really helpful. I was a bit worried about meeting the people I was going to be living with, but it was a lot of fun – by the end of the day it was like we had known each other for ages! The JCR organised a night out in the Monte Bar, which was a great chance to get to know new people.

How were the Fresher’s Weeks events in your halls?

Fresher’s week was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had – be sure to make the most of it while you can! The JCR put on lots of events, which was helpful as we weren’t familiar with the city yet. Everybody was so friendly and I met so many new people, many of whom I’m still good friends with. The Uni also have events like the Fresher’s Fayre and the Bunfight which are definitely worth going to to find out about all the societies and what goes on at the Uni.

Do you find your halls to be in a good location? 

Monte is a little further away than other halls like Glen Eyre. It was about a 25 minute walk, but you get a free bus pass for the local Uni-Link bus service, which makes getting anywhere in the city easy. It would have been nice to have been a bit closer, but it wasn’t a huge issue.

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New Students and Private Housing

If you haven’t received a place in Halls of Accommodation or are choosing to live in a Private Rented Accommodation you will have to start thinking about where to live and who to live with.

Southampton have Private Rented Open Days to help you find accommodation and give you the chance to meet other students. These are held at  Winchester School of Art on Friday 26th August 2011 and atSouthampton Highfield Campus on Tuesday 30th August 2011 and Wednesday 31st August 2011, and will run from 10am to 5pm on each day.

The day includes the following activities:
– A presentation by Accommodation Service, Students’ Union and Private Rented JCR to give you advice and answer any questions you may have

– Some ice breakers and workshops to help you meet other students and introduce you to some of the people you could be living with.

– The chance to get out in the city and view some houses.

Register for the Private Rented Open Day by following the link below:

http://www.soton.ac.uk/accommodation/privaterented/looking/prdayregister.html

Southampton Letting Agency Directory

Assured Lettings

Address: 95 Kings Georges Avenue, Regents Park, Southampton, SO15

Telephone: 023 8078 7869
*

Cryers

Address: 38 Bedford Place Southampton, SO15 2DG

Telephone: 02380336565

Email: info@cryers.co.uk

Website: www.cryers.co.uk

*

Homelife Lettings
Address:  56 Portswood Road, Portswood, Southampton, SO17 2FW
Telephone: 023 8058 6838

Websitehttp://www.homelifelettings.co.uk/

 *

Lettings Direct:

Address: 1 Canute Road, Southampton, SO14 3FH

Telephone: 02380 70310

Email: southampton@lettings-direct.com

 *
Posh Pads
Address: 51 Bedford Place , Southampton, S015 2DT
Telephone:  023 8008 1000
 
*
St. Moores
Address: 36 London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AG
Telephone: 02380 222322
E-mail:  info@stmoores.co.uk
 
*

Student No Fee:

Address:   Rear of 9 Carlton Road, Polygon, Southampton, SO15 2HN
Telephone: 02380 223170/07980 719722
 
Email:  info@studnofee.com
 
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Tenant Direct:

Address:  282 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 2TD

Telephone: 023 8055 2785

Website: http://tenantdirect.co.uk/





Interview with a landlord…find out the tricks of the trade and how to avoid being caught out

When viewing house, what are the key things to look for? How might we recognise the tell-tale signs of a good or bad landlord?

  • If there’s any fresh paint…if it’s the whole room painted, including the woodwork and ceiling, then it’s the sign of a landlord who cares, if it’s not the whole room, particularly if it’s just the walls, that’s a sign that it’s been done to cover up a water mark and that the house is going to have problems with damp
  • Be sure to investigate any odd odours
  • Check around the windows for mould…even if they have cleaned off the mould, there will be indications (black marks) where glass meets frame. Check it out, but be aware it may not be due to a problem with the house, it could be because of the last tenant’s never opened the windows. This would lead to damp particularly if they were hanging wet washing about the house.
  • Inspect general maintenance of property… Things like broken sockets/light fillings/screws lose on door handles are all signs of a landlord that really can’t be bothered
  • Open the kitchen cupboard where water stop clock is. This is the most likely place you would be able to observe signs of water damage would be there
  • Sounds a bit random, and not the sort of thing you’d do when looking around a house, but actually a good thing to do is to go and turn all the taps on to see the water flow, and then to see if they’re dripping when you turn them off. You don’t want dripping taps as this will increase your water bill, and will also lead to limescale
  • Look for streaks in sinks or bath…this is another tell-tale sign for dripping taps.
  • Lift toilet seat to check if toilet is clean and toilet seat is securely fitted
  • Look up at the gutters…Is there stuff in them? If so, this will cause them to overflow and it will drip down the brick work and make house damp inside
  • Check if the garden is neat and tidy…if it’s not it shows the landlord doesn’t care. Plus, if you then leave it as you find it, the landlord may try and blame you and charge you to have it sorted

Is there any paper work we should ask to see, that might not necessarily be shown to us?

Yes, ask to see an up to date gas and electric certificate and also an energy performance certificate . The energy performance certificate should give you an idea of how much your bills should cost, which should be something you really think about when deciding whether to move into a house.

Is there anything important to remember the day you move in?

Make absolutely sure you do an inventory. All good landlords should initiate this anyway. Make sure everything goes down on the inventory. Things like stains and smells in carpets and little marks on the walls, to ensure you won’t be blamed and consequently charged for them when you move out.

It’s also a good idea to take pictures of any damage as a rogue landlord will try and make you pay for it when you move out.

What do you look for when deducting a deposit?

Fair wear and tear is ok. What is considered as fair depends on how long you’ve been living in the house. Say you’d been living there for a year and new carpets had been put in and the house newly decorated just before you moved in, we’d expect to get it back pretty much that was. Particularly as a newly refurbished and clean house is easier to keep clean than a house that starts off dirty. The odd mark on the wall is ok, but the general expected state after a year would be that decorations and carpets should be 80% of what they were when you moved in.

Whereas after five years, we would expect to redecorate and re-carpet.

A common example of something we might say is ‘when you moved in the grass was cut the hedges were trimmed, and now they’re overgrown and there is dog poo on the grass. You need to tidy it all up, or we will have to hire someone to do it, and bill you for their charge’

Where should someone go to for help if they are having problems with their landlord?

Citizens advice bureau or a solicitor. [Note. There is a free solicitor service for all university students located on campus]

We don’t actually have many rights as landlords. It used to be the other way round but now tenants have all the rights, so definitely pursue your case if you don’t feel you’re being treated fairly.

What should happen to deposits?

Never pay them directly to a landlord. Make sure they are paid into a landlord society, and that you have a receipt of confirmation that this has been done.

All You Need to Know About Deposits

What is a deposit?

A deposit is a sum of money (usually equal to one month’s rent) that you give to your landlord when signing your contact. This is held for the year by your landlord to be used to repair damage that you may do to the property or to cover late rent payment. Some, or all of your deposit will be returned at the end of your tenancy.

How can I protect my deposit?

  • Take an inventory: This is a list of the contents in the house and the condition they are in at the start of your tenancy that is agreed by the landlord and tenants. If the landlord does not provide one, you can produce your own if it is witnessed and signed by a third party.
  • Take photographs: This provides photographic evidence of the contents at the start of the tenancy. Make sure you can prove what date they were taken.
  • Keep records: Keep the receipts of any repairs or replacements you have made.

To minimize the amount that is taken out of your deposit, make sure to keep the property in good condition by cleaning regularly and avoid causing damage. Have a thorough clean of the property, paying particular attention to the bathroom and appliances such as the cooker and fridge to avoid the landlord having to commercially clean them.

Check the inventory against the original with your landlord when you move out. You will be provided with a written statement and receipts to show what deductions have been made.

What if I don’t agree with the amount deducted?

If you disagree with some of the claims or amount taken out of your deposit then the tenancy deposit scheme that your landlord has used will offer a free service to sort disputes. Information on what to do if there is a dispute will be in your contract given to you at the start of the tenancy.

Student Rental Tips Video

What type of halls will suit me?

Southampton University offers a wide range of Halls of Accommodation with something to suit everybody. As this will be your first experience of University it is important that you pick somewhere that you will be happy and that suits your needs. So what kind of things do you need to consider when picking what halls to apply for?

1. Catered or non-catered?: Typically a catered Halls will provide you with breakfast and then  your choice of lunch or dinner. The food offered ranges from sandwiches to pizzas, traditional roasts and international cuisine. Choosing to go catered takes off the pressure of buying food and cooking for yourself and can provide a more traditional Halls experience. Self-catered accommodation comes with kitchen facilities shared between you and your fellow residents and offers a more independent experience and at a lower price. Shopping for food is made easy with local shops and the Uni-Link bus service to the city supermarkets.

2. En-Suite or shared bathroom?:  Choosing an en-suite room means having your own shower, washbasin and toilet. This can mean avoiding queues for the shower in the morning and choosing to live by your own level of hygiene! However, cleaning the en-suite will be your responsibility. Shared bathroom facilities are typically cheaper, cleaned everyday by the cleaners and you will still have your own personal wash basin in your room.

3. Standard room or enhanced room?: In Southampton, a standard room means having bathroom and kitchen facilities that are normally shared between 8-20 other residents. This can sound like a lot, but the facilities are large enough to accommodate everyone and can lead to a more social atmosphere. An enhanced room means shared facilities with no more than 7 residents and can be more preferable for those who like things a little calmer.

4. Proximity to Campus: Some halls of accommodation such as Glen Eyre are located within a 5 minute walk of campus, which makes rolling out of bed and into a lecture much easier! Other halls such as Montefiore and Connaught are slightly further away. But all halls come with a free Uni-Link bus pass, so travelling to Campus is made easy wherever you chose to be.

Information about what is included in each of the Halls of Residence at Southampton University can be found here 

If possible it is worth having a look round halls of accommodation on open days to get a feel for where  you might end up living for the next year! But even if you don’t get your first choice of accommodation, don’t worry too much. Your experience in halls will be what you make of it, so be sure to be open to new experiences and enjoy it while you can!