A guide to finding your student housing in Newcastle
What to do and who to avoid
Finding student housing in Newcastle is one of THE biggest things you will do in first year. The choices you make as a wee fresher will impact the next academic year of your life. If you don’t know of anyone who has ever had to find student housing, then it will all seem strange and new to you. Luckily for you, I’ve come up with a handy guide to help you along the way.
Step One: Finding potential houses
This sounds like an obvious thing to do, but the main question is: do you know where to look in Newcastle? The first thing you need to do is get yourself onto a website like this one to scout around for some houses. You can even input a preferred area, preferred price and amount of rooms you’re looking for.
Step Two: Checking out the Estate Agents
Always, always, ALWAYS google the estate agents. In my second year, we googled ours about five months into the contract and noticed that our estate agents didn’t exactly have the best rep. One review said that it took them eight months to get their deposit back for the house (we only just got ours back last week despite having moved out in August). That was Portland Residential – very dodgy, I wouldn’t recommend. Also, make sure you avoid Walton Robinson – I have never heard a single positive comment about them.
Step Three: The viewing
If you found a decent priced, decent looking house and the estate agents checks out then its time to set up a viewing. When you go to view a house, make sure you try to notice a couple of the following things:
1. Is there any mould/damp anywhere visible? Damp is a top problem for the majority of student houses, and it’s a real nuisance having to get people in to merely cover it up every few months.
2. Check if there are windows that open. This sounds so basic, but the house I am currently in appears to have windows – but as it is a basement-level house they are jammed shut. I mean, I guess it’s to stop a burglary, but I would love some fresh air now and then!
3. What sizes are the rooms? If the room sizes are disproportionate, you have to consider whether that will be a problem. In my second-year house, we made sure we had evenly sized rooms to prevent arguments. This year, I have more stuff, so I have the bigger bedroom, and my housemate prefers smaller spaces and so didn't mind having the smaller room, so everything worked out.
Step Four: What to do if someone drops out
This is such a common problem. Two people have an argument, or one drops out of uni, and you’re left with a space in your house, no one to fill it, and threats from the estate agent saying if you don’t find someone then you’ll have to pay for it.
There are plenty of websites where you can advertise for a roommate. Sometimes the estate agents themselves help out and put an advertisement up for you – although if they do this and someone gets in touch with them, you probably won’t have a say on whether or not you want to live with them, so be careful with this.
So now you should have no trouble in getting online and finding yourself a cute little house to share with your best pals (or, at least, somewhere that’s halfway decent). Have you had any estate agent horror stories? Or even have your own tips to add to this list? Let us know!
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