So the Summer is nearly over, A level and GCSE results have been published and University students are thinking about their new accommodation for either the beginning of their new life away from home, or a continuation into a second or third year.
So how involved do you need to be, when it comes to them choosing and renting a room in a house near their Uni?
Student accommodation is a massive business for rental agencies. Most second and third year students move out of University Halls of Residence after their first year, and enter the world of being independent, responsible adults (supposedly!) who will live in a shared house, paying their own bills and maintaining a home.
One of the toughest decisions a student has to make fairly early on in their first term at University is which five people, whom I have only just met, would I like to share a house with in my second year? Are these newly acquired friends still going to be my friends in 10 months time, will they be trustworthy, reliable and good housemates? It’s a big commitment for anyone to make, and can be fraught with all sorts of dilemmas in the longer term. As parents, it is highly unlikely that you will to be involved in any of this process. You probably won’t get the opportunity to meet the potential housemates, the rental agents, or even view the property, however, you can guarantee that when money is required for deposits and first the month rent your 100% involvement and financial commitment will miraculously be required!
Student loans are not paid out until the term has actually started which in the majority of cases is a couple of months after rental contracts commence. If you are really unlucky, you can find yourself in a situation where the student is still required to pay for their Hall of Residence, which overlaps with their new house rental, during the period when the student is on Summer holidays and living at home, invariably rent free! So technically the student is costing up to 3 beds worth or rent in varying locations … unfair but a reality.
It would appear it is at this point in University life, that as parents we have to stand back and act as consultants and financial backers as and when required. There is no manual. We have to let them take the reigns and learn that house sharing can be a challenge, requires flexibility, sharing and compromise, but will hopefully be a fun and rewarding …. a bit like a marriage!
Can you enlighten others with your experience of student house sharing?