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Dd (21) year 4 of uni - living alone next year, advice/tips please?
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iknowimcoming · 13/06/2021 21:16

Due to some unreliable friends (another story) - dd is now looking at one bed flats in Birmingham. She's never lived alone before so just wondered if there were any things she should be looking for or careful of iyswim?

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withiceplease · 13/06/2021 21:18

Which area?

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Umbra · 13/06/2021 21:23

Can she get a studio flat through the uni?

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iknowimcoming · 13/06/2021 22:11

Jewellery quarter is where she is now (shared house) and she feels safe walking home in that area and its decent walking distance so ideally there I guess.

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callmemaybee · 13/06/2021 22:18

Isn’t jewellery quarter expensive though? She’s looking at ~£800 per month for a one bed flat there

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wwyd2021medicine · 13/06/2021 22:39

I've got a flat for less than that in harborne...

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callmemaybee · 13/06/2021 23:00

Harborne is an expensive area, but it’s suburban and has UOB & the QE. The demographics means it’s easier to house share or find flatmates to cut costs.

JQ is the city centre so an attractive location, with a higher cost to match. It’s largely compromised of apartment buildings for “high rise/high spec living”, which is why it may be more expensive to live in - you can’t really split the cost on a 1 bed apartment like you can with a student house.

She can probably find places for £500/£600 near JQ but may be looking at a studio, more inner city Birmingham, or a something with general downsides. Has she considered moving back into halls or living near her uni? Try SpareRoom too (but be careful)

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wwyd2021medicine · 13/06/2021 23:03

If she's alone, it'd be good to be near where her friends live would be my thought - not necessarily the friends the share fell apart with, just others she knows on her course?

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callmemaybee · 13/06/2021 23:08

just wanted to add that friendships move quickly at uni, she may make up with her friends and end up living with them as planned, or even find her other friends are looking for flatmates and would happily live with her.

I know it’s June but there’s still ample time for her situation to change - I’ve seen it happen.

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BackforGood · 13/06/2021 23:31

Which University is she at, to make it worthwhile her paying JQ prices?

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iknowimcoming · 14/06/2021 09:24

She's at RBC and has a large instrument to factor in to the walk hence JQ, money isn't so much of an issue as we are happy to top up her loan some more to make sure she's settled, she does suffer with anxiety so that's not helping, and she needs to be out of current place end of June but has commitments in brum till end of July so can't just come home and look for somewhere else for September unfortunately. Lots of her mates live in jq so at least she would be walking home sometimes with other people, she often has concerts so has to come home late at times but can Uber. Having instrument at home adds another burglary risk hence her cohort living in more £££ areas generally.

She will probably do masters next year so is trying to look at it positively that she may move city then and potentially live alone, so this could be good prep for that but in a more familiar environment iyswim. And yes something may still come up with a share, but having had her fingers burned with her current housemates she's reluctant to share with just anybody.

DS starts uni this year too so fun fun fun! Hmm

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VanCleefArpels · 14/06/2021 09:38

Slightly different scenario but my son was put off sharing by his experience as a student so lives alone now he has graduated and in work. He absolutely loves having his own private space. No special tips really, make sure she’s got good insurance, shop around for utilities to make sure she’s getting the best deal, and perhaps avoid ground floor accommodation.

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Xenia · 14/06/2021 11:15

My son had to find somewhere urgently last summer due to lockdown as gap year plans were destroyed. he has shared with one friend in Bristol which they found in July last year. So not quite the same but a big difference from sharing with 8 others. For hm and his flatmate they like living near their other friends. (His rent is about £650 plus bills a month).

For the daughter who will live alone she just needs to remember to get her council tax discount (the one bed will probably not be noted by the council as student property so she will actively need to register). Also all bills will be in her name, might need a guarantor, nothing much else. Living alone can be quite peaceful unless you have noisy neighbours.

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Delphigirl · 14/06/2021 11:24

Has she thought about going into private halls? Lots are very nice and do studios. Then she doesn’t have to worry about paying utility bills broadband etc etc

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iknowimcoming · 14/06/2021 12:39

Thanks I've just had a look and there is a private hall that do summer lets so that could at least be a stop-gap for July!

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Delphigirl · 14/06/2021 13:50

Great! She could then see if she likes it enough to sign up for next year. In private halls she will also have other students around so may make some friends/at least have some social events laid on like pizza nights so she won’t feel isolated.

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iknowimcoming · 14/06/2021 14:01

Yes thanks @Delphigirl I thought it might be a good trial run too, although I guess that works both ways but at least we'd know and she could just suck it up and live with 'others' if she really hates living on her own!

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PlanDeRaccordement · 14/06/2021 14:10

My DD19 lives alone and is at Uni.
Tips

  • don’t get a ground floor flat, 1st floor to 2nd floor is best high enough to prevent break in rapists but not too high to escape a fire.

  • secure entry area/lobby so that there is extra locked door between her and her flat front door. Also easier to lose a stalker if they can’t know which flat you are in out of whole building.

  • Easy walking distance to groceries, chemist, GP, and bus stop/train station.

  • good WiFi and lap top as many academic tests and papers are now done remotely from home.

  • if your DD needs to print materials, consider buying her an printer because going all the way to Uni on bus/train to print pages of work can waste half a day....

  • gather your financial documents so you can be guarantor on flat, but have flat in her name and her pay rent (even if you send her the money) so that she builds rent credit history in her name.

  • check because some places no council tax for students...so she can fill out form with council and not have to pay. Other places, like Scotland students also have no water bill. So check everything she might be entitled to.
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Rachie20 · 14/06/2021 21:16

DD has just moved into a flat on her own due to s1 year abroad being cancelled but s2 potentially going ahead (in Scotland so can give a month’s notice). Her friends have moved from one particular area to be more scattered and she’s found a place in the middle, near the main university buildings. As others have said, it’s not ground floor, is walkable to all amenities and has space for her to have friends round. The latter was most important to her. After year one in halls I think she’d rather live at home than do that again! It’s definitely not going to be cheap but is comparable to year one catered halls.

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iknowimcoming · 16/06/2021 14:13

Thanks again lovely people! Great tips about the credit score and council tax @PlanDeRaccordement thank you! She has video viewed a property literally round the corner from where she lives now which is twice what she pays now ( £1000 pcm no bills) but is super fancy with concierge and regular resident get-togethers Hmmetc etc. I'm telling myself so long as she's safe and happy right? It's only for a year right? Also worried that she'll be forever ruined for living anywhere cheaper! Going to encourage her to look at plenty ........

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Needmoresleep · 20/06/2021 11:05

A bit late to the party, but we did this last week, and perhaps our experience will help someone.

DD is returning to the fourth year of her medical degree in Bristol after a year's intercalation in London. Because of lockdowns etc she has not spent any time in Bristol over the last 15 months. Her non-medic friends are leaving and her medic friends decided to stay put this year, so she had no one to share with and, at 23, feels she has aged out of sharing student flats with strangers. Because of placements she will not need accommodation in her fifth year so felt it worth spending more this year to live alone.

So far so good, except we had underestimated how busy the rental market is. By 10.00am, five of the seven properties she had identified on RightMove had gone and DD asked for help. (I am a landlord who can sometimes be persuaded to let to students.) We got a viewing on one flat but several other people were also looking and it would have taken an above asking price offer to secure. But then we struck lucky and I was able to speak to a private landlord who was persuaded that a fourth year medical student, out on placement all day and studying in the evening was the equivalent to the young professional they were seeking, and who was happy to show it just to us, rather than field lots of calls and deal with multiple viewings. We then jumped in the car and went straight down to view.

Advice:

  1. Be quick. Identify what you want, set up Right Move alerts, and hit the phones at 9.00 and be ready to view the same day.

  2. Anticipate problems that landlords may have with taking students over young professionals, eg a student who is working office hours and studies in a library is preferable to one who is at home most of the time especially if there is a risk that they are nocturnal, and thus disturbing neighbours.

  3. Explain why they want somewhere on their own. I once took two boys who confessed they had hated their shared student house and were prepared to pay more for somewhere quieter and more civilised as it was their final year and they felt it was a worthwhile investment in getting a good degree. They proved to be great tenants.

  4. Make it a good deal for the landlord. We offered to pay full asking price, take the flat as soon as it was empty, rent in advance (landlords often have cash flow issues especially if their have just done a renovation so this can appeal), and a guarantor. (Which for us was no risk as we know DD will pay.)

  5. Be prepared. DD needed:
  • passport and student ID
  • three months bank statements, luckily no overdraft, and indeed the remains of her gap year savings.
  • to be able to pass a credit check
  • previous landlord reference as well as a character reference from her tutor.
  • deposit in cash.

    They asked about proof of student loans, but accepted that she is on an NHS bursary and made do with parental guarantees.

    I was very relieved that DD managed to avoid student takeaway and taxi habits, did not smoke and did not have a pet and had a history of being a responsible tenant. She is also very lucky that she was able to buy her way out of trouble. The alternative was either to take a room in a student house with strangers, or take a studio in a private student hall, aimed at post-grads and internationals, though the latter would not have been any cheaper.

    June is quite early to start looking. We are glad we started early, even though it means she is renting over the summer, as I assume it will only get worse.
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