Saturday, August 21, 2010

Unit 1: finding a property in Southampton

Once you have been accepted in the Uni (Solent or University of Southampton), your first think in mind (after all the "OMFG I'm gonna party hard next year!!"s, of course) is "Where am I gonna live?"If you are a Solent student, I think they provide you an accomodation in a student residence, so, in that case... you are very lucky! But if you are attending University of Southampton (and so do I), it will be a little bit difficult if you are going there as a full year of first semester student.

What I have done (and what I recommend you to do) is going there in August and looking for a house there. You can look for one through internet in some sites such as:

- SASSH (which is suggested by the Uni; you'll need to enter the pass "SASSH")

but I strongly recommend you to go there and visit some properties. There are lots of tentan agencies in London Rd, and you can visit Tenant Direct in New Rd, which is on a 5 minute walk from London Rd. There, they will check their databases looking for a property that suits your needs (price, bedrooms, area...) and will take you to the own properties in order to visit them. This fact is VERY IMPORTANT. Please, visit a property before you let it, cause English student houses are not the best quality ones and nobody would like to live in a pigsty for a year.

The standard English student house is a 2 floor terraced house with a rear garden and a small front garden. They usually have from 4 to 8 bedrooms, so in case you need a property with less bedrooms than that, you should start looking for one sooner. I started looking for a 3 bedroomed house and finally got a 4 bedroomed one so my mates and I will have a spare room. You'll have to pay a regular rent of 65-75 pounds per week. If they ask you for more, you better ask them why.

Once you find a property, you'll have to provide your agent with some documents and information:

- A copy of your passport, which will be the most important ID for you during your stay.
- Any document confirming that you will be studing in the UK (eg. your Letter of Acceptance)
- A guarantor based on the UK.
- In case you don't have one (which is very likely), you'll probably have to pay 6 months in advance.
- A person confirming you're a reliable tenant.
- Your tutor's contact details.

Usually, furnished properties come with one bed, one desk and one wardrobe per bedroom plus a couple of sofas, fridge, freezer, washing machine, cooker, oven, microwave and that sort of things. You can buy anything you may need in Ikea or ASDA, which are in the city center. The second one is cheaper, but you'll probably prefer the Sweeden brand.

My house's front door!