For me, renting privately meant I didn’t need to compromise on a lot of the practical things that are important to me. I didn’t feel restricted when looking for a place to live. I could look for houses that would suit my needs. Things like double glazing for the winter, furnishings, being close to transport links to uni, and also the financial aspects: I was lucky enough to avoid agency fees by finding a private landlord.
Of course, I had the same worries as anyone else arriving in a new country to study might have. Though I’d visited Portsmouth for an Open Day, I hadn’t really explored the city fully. I arrived from Romania really close to the start of my first semester, so I was a little panicked about finding somewhere nice to live with a reliable landlord on such short notice.
The University housing team were really helpful in giving me the resources to find housemates. I joined several Facebook groups and websites and there was always someone there to answer my questions quickly. The housing team were great throughout the whole renting process, giving me advice on things like previous tenants’ outstanding bills and other teething problems.
Once I’d found housemates and a place to live, I could really enjoy the city and all it has to offer. I think that because I wasn’t in halls and restricted to one part of Portsmouth, I saw more of it. I still love walking along the seafront and hanging out by the bandstand – areas that aren’t really associated with the uni. I didn’t feel excluded from the student experience because I made so many friends through societies that lived in student accommodation. With my house, there weren’t the same restrictions. I could have family and friends over whenever I liked and I even had a garden. Overall, it was a great experience and one I’d recommend.
- Make a budget and stick to it. Be strict on yourself with this.
- Look for the practical things like double glazing, heating, etc. It sounds boring but it’s well worth it.