Unhappy with your housemates?
Some students find that they have problems with their fellow housemates, whether that is in UWE accommodation or a privately rented property.
The first thing to remember is that it is perfectly normal to disagree and fall out! You all have individual personalities and different outlooks on life but if you communicate effectively and respect each other, life is likely to be a lot easier.
It is vital to talk to each other and if one person is doing something to annoy you or cause friction in the house then talk about it and try to come to an agreement or compromise. The housemate might not even know what they are doing is causing problems for you, so if you don’t tell them, they can’t fix it!
You need to also ensure that you talk to outside agencies such as utility suppliers, telephone companies and the landlord as well as each other to make sure that bills are paid on time and any repairs needed are reported as soon as possible.
If there are disagreements occurring within the house and despite an informal chat with the housemate(s) causing problems nothing has changed, it may be necessary for someone within the group to try and call a house meeting. Invite all housemates to attend and give everyone a chance to speak and raise their concerns. To get things resolved it may be necessary to decide on action by a majority vote so not everyone will get what they want. You could invite the landlord to come and act as a mediator at the meeting if it is felt necessary but you should be aware that the landlord does not have to agree to this.
If despite doing all this, problems still occur, the come in to see an adviser in the Advice Centre as we may be able to act as a mediator in a meeting between you and your housemates.
If you feel you have no option but to move out then come and see an adviser in the Advice Centre; if you have signed a fixed term agreement you will have a remaining rent liability if you just leave and we would never advise that you just walk away without speaking to someone first!
If you are in UWE managed accommodation then you can also contact your accommodation manager too if you are having persistent housemate trouble. If you arrange a meeting with your accommodation manager then contact the Advice Centre as we may be able to accompany you to it.
Getting on with your neighbours (or not!)
Whether you are in UWE managed housing, halls or a privately rented property it is almost a guarantee that you will have neighbours.
For most students time away at University is the first time that they have properly been away from home and there is a temptation to treat every night like a party night, but to avoid problems you need to be considerate to those living around you.
In halls there are large numbers of people so it is easy for lots of noise to be created. You will be surrounded by fellow students but not everyone will share your taste in music and certainly won’t appreciate you playing it at 4am when they have an 8:30am lecture!
If you are in a house then you are likely to also have families, other locals and students as fellow neighbours and you need to be respectful of them all.
When you move in, make the effort to introduce yourselves to the neighbours and apologise for any noise made during your moving in period. If you take the time to say hello to your neighbours, tell them who you are and what you are doing, they are far more likely to help you out if you are ever stuck with anything.
If you are going to be having friends around or are throwing that all important party then make sure that you give all of your neighbours advanced warning or even invite them. They should appreciate this and are less likely to complain if they are expecting noise. Remember most people will work and families with small children will not appreciate noise late into the night, so if your party is expected to go on into the small hours consider heading into town to continue the party at a club.
Noise at any time of the day can be a serious problem and if neighbours are really unhappy they can contact the Environmental Health Officers at Bristol City Council. Environmental Health has the power to remove equipment such as stereos and also impose fines so being considerate to your neighbours’ needs is key to avoiding more serious problems.
Your tenancy agreement is also likely to contain certain clauses regarding noise and its limitations, so ensure you adhere to its terms and your responsibilities.
For those students not living in halls, you will be responsible for ensuring that you throw away all of your household rubbish in the correct way. You will need to put the wheelie bin and recycling boxes out at the correct time/day. A collection of rubbish bags outside for long periods causes unpleasant smells and can attract flies and vermin as well as being a serious eyesore!
Find out when your bin and recycling collection days are and make sure you put the rubbish out!
If you leave bags of rubbish in or just outside of the house when you leave, your deposit is likely to be reduced as the landlord will have to arrange for these to be removed which can incur a charge.
If you have a garden, terrace or any other open space it is likely that your contract will have a clause in it which makes it your responsibility to maintain. An overgrown jungle in an otherwise tidy street will annoy and offend neighbours and is unlikely to put you on great terms with them. So, avoid any confrontation and keep the garden tidy, then in the warmer months you can enjoy the benefits with a BBQ!
Parking in general in Bristol is a nightmare so think twice – do you really need your car? There are more ways than ever before to get to Uni, regardless of your campus, and they are likely to be cheaper than petrol! If you must drive though then be considerate when parking near your house. Blocking your neighbours’ drive over night when they need to leave at 8am for work will again do you no favours, so park safely and sensibly or use the bus!