Guidance choosing Housing

Too often landlords and estate agencies think they can get away with cutting corners or over-charging students as the common stereotype is that we are all a bunch of alcoholic idiots that are easy to please and have a general cba attitude to life.

To be fair some students might fit the stereotype, but the SU should give as much information and guidance as they possibly can so that students already in Manchester, or arriving on exchange, know all the basic stuff and have the upper hand when signing the contract.

When signing a contract  you most likely will be, or have been, under a considerable amount of pressure. It is quite easy to see how this situation is used to the advantage of the person on the other side of the desk and although you won’t totally understand many things between the lines, after asking 2 or 3 clarifications you just give up and sign.

The Union offers a service that will read contracts and whether if it’s fair or not but most likely, did you know about that?

Chances are you didn’t but even if you did, most likely there will be no time for that as the landlord mentions the famous other 3 groups that have also expressed interest in exactly the same house and that may sign any moment. You know they are probably lying, but what if they are not?

Quick consultation with future house mates  ‘What to do?’ is the recurrent question everyone asks each other..

#dispare #panic #fml #Iwantmummy #cba

Some might call their parents, hoping to get their blessing and put an end to their agony.

In the end… Everyone signs the contract.

Our University together with the other universities in Greater Manchester have set up an amazing service called ‘Manchester Student Homes‘ that through its website and advisers can do a lot to help students find the right house that complies to all the standards of living that we’re entitled to by law, BUT many Students don’t even know of its existence.

What could the Union do?

  • Give ‘crash courses’ on how to pick the right house, what to look out for, understanding contracts, deposit schemes and so on.
  • Create a basic guidance booklet and distribute it to students.
  • Work in partnership with Student Media: dedicated coverage in the Mancunion, shout outs and pod-casts on Fuse FM and a Documentary series exposing ‘bad’ landlords and agencies together with short guidance videos with advice. This year as head of documentaries at Fuse TV I ‘mapped out’ the idea for a basic, 3 episode guide (coming out soon!) to choosing housing just that I wasn’t able to complete the project as I left for Sweden but the team that is working on it is doing an amazing job!
  • Create a standard contract in partnership with Manchester Student Homes, that landlords or agencies can choose to use if they want the quality standard certification from the our Union.

The last point particularly, won’t be an easy task. If our Student Union work together with the ones of the other universities it could be achievable; 100.000 students live in Greater Manchester, we can work together and we will have it our way.

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