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Living in shared accommodation in the city

Covid safety in a private flat or house in Portsmouth

Moving home can be stressful – but it's an exciting time too. And the good news is there are simple ways to set yourself up in your new home.

There are no restrictions on renting a room in private accommodation this year, but there are a few extra things you can do if you’re moving into shared accommodation to keep everyone safe and well.

Moving in

Stagger moving in times with others

To help keep things smooth, it’s a good idea to arrange different moving times with your housemates. If you’re all trying to move into your shared house at the same time, it can be tricky bringing all your boxes and personal items into the house, especially if you've roped in family or friends to help.

If you're moving in with friends, set up a calendar and assign one day to each person. Or one person could move in the morning and another in the afternoon on each day. Just make sure to give others a bit of space if you’re the first one in the house.

If you don’t know your housemates yet, contact your landlord and ask them to set up daily slots for each of you. 

Wipe down touch points

Touch points are surfaces and objects that can get contaminated with bugs or viruses. These could be kitchen surfaces, door-handles and bathroom towels – anything you touch that other people will also come into contact with.

Try to keep all touch points as clean as possible:

  • carry tissues with you to open doors
  • wipe surfaces and touch points with antibac wipes once you’re finished in a room
  • wipe all touch points when your family members or friends leave for the day
  • wipe down surfaces once you’ve finished using them, especially in shared areas like the kitchen or bathroom

Wash your hands regularly

The best way to prevent the spread of 'freshers flu', Covid and other bugs is to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds. Bring a hand towel with you to dry your hands on too – don't share with roommates, even if they’ve left one in the bathroom.

Deep clean your room

Before moving your stuff into your room, you’ll want to give it a deep clean. Even if your landlord has promised to do so, make sure to do it yourself just in case any of the touch points are contaminated.

The government website has great guidelines on cleaning. They include:

  • wear disposable gloves and aprons for cleaning – then double-bag them and put them aside for 72 hours before throwing away
  • wash clean hard surfaces with a disposable cloth and warm soapy water
  • after washing surfaces, clean them with a regular disinfectant and wipe down
  • wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds after removing cleaning gloves and apron

To prepare for deep cleaning your room, you might want to bring the following items with you on move in day:

  • disposable gloves and apron – washing up gloves will work too
  • regular cleaning products for hard surfaces and disinfectant spray
  • disposable cloths and paper towels
  • bin bags

Ongoing cleanliness in shared accommodation

Be prepared to keep a regular cleaning schedule after you move in - both for your own wellbeing and to make your job when moving out a lot easier!You’ll also want to work out how to share the costs of cleaning products with your housemates.

Talk to your housemates to set up a cleaning rota. If you’re not sure how regularly to clean or how to clean effectively, the NHS has some general cleaning tips to help prevent the spread of germs in your house. 

They include:

  • clean the toilet every few days with toilet cleaner and a brush
  • regularly disinfect the toilet flush handle and seat
  • clean baths, sinks and shower curtains regularly
  • clean all kitchen surfaces immediately after you use them
  • use disposable cloths or paper towels
  • clean and dry all mops and buckets after using them
  • always wash your hands after handling rubbish

You could also set up a sanitiser station near the front door, to help you from spreading germs picked up when outside the house.

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