Myth Buster

Every year there are rumours that circulate the student community which create panic and contribute to an early rental market. Let’s hear from the student’s themselves, bust open those myths, and set the record straight!

You must stay in private rented houses past year one

The University has limited accommodation for returning students so students will likely need to look to the private sector for housing. There are options; this could be in purpose-built student accommodation or in a shared house with other students or as a lodger with the landlord.

Your friendship group will work amazingly as a household, and you’ll never fall out.

There will be ups and downs living together, and this is entirely normal. It can help to make sure you take your time to get to know people and to have clear expectations from the start. Although it can be difficult, it is best to have open conversations about any problems.

The only choice for finding accommodation alone is a studio

If you are sure that you do not want to live with others, it is likely that you will need to think about a studio flat or bedsit. This can be more expensive so make sure that you budget.

It is better to use a bill management company

Not necessarily. It is important to do your research and see what is going to suit all the members of the house.

Student houses mean that I am going to freeze no matter what  

Not necessarily, landlords should provide you with the property's EPC rating which can tell you how energy efficient the house is. Legislation has changed to ensure that properties can be heated, but you should also do some research; look at the condition of the windows, speak to current tenants, etc.

Bills for houses can be ridiculously expensive

If you have not had to think about bills before, it can be surprising how much things can cost. Make sure you look at the offers that energy and Internet providers have, these can save you a lot of money.

You must secure a house early or there will be nothing left

There is always such a rush for Exeter housing, but I found a nice house with my housemates and didn’t sign the contract until late December. You want to make sure you like the house, location, etc. of the place you want to live in, or else you will have secured a house but will be miserable living there.

It is not good to be on your own when looking for a house  

There are many platforms you can advertise where you need a house – groups on Facebook, through the university accommodation guild help page, etc. You shouldn’t worry if you are on your own looking for a house – there are always houses with spaces looking for just one or two extra people – people who have dropped out of contracts, or just need spare people to fill the house.

A house close to the university is the best house

You don’t need to be super close to the University, a half-hour walk is a lot shorter than you realise, and you may even be more equidistant from town and university if you decide to live a little further away from University. Plus, you won’t get all the noisy students walking past to go for a night out!

Living with housemates is the easier option

Living with people can be great but it also comes with challenges and takes some work to make sure everyone is happy. Living on your own also comes with its own challenges, like ensuring that you are not isolated.

There’s not a lot of good housing in Exeter

There is lots of good housing in Exeter! There are other options such as the brand-new flats that have been built recently which are very modern, or private hall accommodation, with studios available too!

You need to have decided who you are living with by November

There will be people looking for housemates until summer so there is no rush to work out who you get on with. Don’t sign into a contract that you can’t get out of too soon.

All the best houses are on Pennsylvania Road and Vic Street

These houses do have the benefit of being close to campus, but do not be afraid to branch out and explore a little further away. Some of the nicest houses might be a 25-minute walk from campus but if you don’t mind the walk, it can be nice to get some fresh air twice a day.

All houses in Exeter are expensive

There are loads of ways to find cheaper rent – look for houses that are slightly further out and try to have bills included to avoid surprises at the end of the year. Think about budgeting with your housemates and find a group of people who have a similar budget so some of you are not left struggling with money! Also, if there is a smaller bedroom, you can decide with housemates to pay slightly less rent if you take the little room.

Student houses are gross and cold and full of damp and mould

Even as a student, you still have a right to have a habitable home! Various standards must be met and if there are problems in your house that your landlord is refusing to sort out, you can contact the Guild.

You need to live with your best friends, or you will never see them  

Sometimes your best friends make the worst housemates – I speak from experience! I lived with some of my best friends in second year and as much as I love them, we were not compatible as housemates at all – I am a bit of a clean freak and most of them were fine with mess, I used to go out clubbing a lot and they wouldn’t, etc… There are loads of ways to see your friends outside of your home so don’t move in with them just because you get on well – think about whether your living styles work well together or not.

Students only live in halls as freshers

Many students choose to live in private halls in Exeter. The University does offer a small number of rooms in its residences to returning students with medical needs in their further years of study.

Students have no respect for property

This is a bit of a myth and in many cases not true. Most students are keen to look after the property so that they live in a nice environment and get their deposit returned.

It is impossible to get your deposit back

Deposits should be held in a deposit scheme and landlords should not be able to take any unreasonable costs from this. It will be returned at the end of the tenancy.

All student landlords are out to get students

There is a mix of landlords and student experiences. Last year our rental agency (Star Lettings) was very fair on top of any maintenance issues – we even got our full deposit back!

Locals don’t like students

Although there can be tensions between neighbours and students, I’ve found that if you get to know your neighbours just a little, they will be friendly and come to you directly with any issues.

You must pay for a cleaner at the end of the year

As of the Tenancy Fees Act 2019, the landlord cannot require a tenant to pay for professional cleaning when they vacate the property, however, they can request that the property is cleaned to a professional standard.

There are ‘society’ houses

Some students live in houses that will help other students in their friendship group secure for the next year – however this is not because societies or friendship groups ‘own’ or have a monopoly on the houses.

You should live with your flatmates from first year.

Often, you will meet people from your course/societies, etc. who you are much better suited to living with, don’t rush it!