It’s every student’s worst nightmare: being stuck with housemates you don’t get on with for a whole year, in a house none of you really like, in a city you’re unfamiliar with. I was especially worried this might be me as I only found out I'd got a place at the University at the last minute.
I came to one of the University's house hunting events for students looking to rent privately. I didn’t know what to expect, coming down from Bromley for the first time, but those fears were put to rest pretty quickly when I arrived.
On the day, we were asked to sit at tables with potential housemates and given lots of information on our options. We were handed lists of landlords and estate agents to get in contact with and I got on with the people at my table straight away. I went from not knowing if I’d even have somewhere to live, to meeting people who would become some of my best friends over the course of one day.
Getting to know my housemates was easy. On the first day we started a group chat on Facebook Messenger where we’d chat about household things, and in the evenings we’d hang out watching films and having drinks before heading out together.
We’d usually head to Albert Road in Southsea where there are plenty of student pubs and bars; the nightlife in Portsmouth is lively and a great way to meet people who are living in halls, so I never felt like I was missing out. When talking to my friends that were in halls, I felt like I was getting a better deal financially too. I had a big room with a double bed, paying similar rent or less than them, in some cases.
I was lucky enough to have a housemate who was super organised keeping track of our bill payments. Our gas and electricity was on a meter so it was all pretty hassle-free to keep on top of. Our house was close to a huge supermarket in Fratton and the bus stop to the University was on our doorstep. Overall, renting privately was a hugely positive experience and I wouldn’t change it.
- You’re never alone, however panicked you feel about your living arrangements. The University are always on hand to help you, even if it’s just connecting you with people.
- Consider moving slightly out of the city centre to keep costs down.
- Use group chat apps to stay on top of bills and payments.