Getting a handyman to fix your student accommodation

A bit of a different post this. It is all about the inevitable repairs that need to be made on properties be it the fault of the landlord, tenant or just ware and tare.

student accommodation

The first thing most student tenants think when they see damage is “OMG I am going to get charged for this”. But that is not always the case, it all depends on hats broken and how it broke. Most letting agents will enlist the services of a handyman such as 1st handyman of Bristol, or they will have a handyman employed by the company to carry out repairs directly. Who does what is simple. Big complicated repairs are often carried out by the sub contracted handyman whilst the smaller minor works such as unblocking loo’s, changing light fittings etc are completed by the letting agents maintenance team.

Chances are the big jobs the student did not cause damage and it is a refurbishment or something serious is going wrong with the property (roof leaks, pointing, old windows etc), so as a tenant you need not worried about being charged here. However the smaller jobs that are not ware and tare are often chargeable such as unblocking a loo, replacing a shelf, damaged furniture etc. So what’s the best thing for a student to do to keep his handyman charges down?

  • Do not over fill things – that includes drawers as they bases fall out, toilets, sounds gross but if you think it is slightly blocked dont use it and try and unblock it yourself, do not leave it till the last hour, and of course shelves. Shelving and furniture is not industrial and will not hold every single thick book you have so please use common sense.
  • Get it fixed your self – that’s right maybe a parent or even a local handyman you find on-line will be able to make minor repairs on his way home form work for a small fee. Always worth considering.

It is not just the tenants that need to review the way the property is maintained. The landlord could benefit from from couple of tips. To often a landlord is in fear of how much he or she should be paying out to have works complete. Click here to find out what a typical handyman in bristol charges for maintenance works. The key I suppose is staying opn top of your maintenance and fixing things right the first time. If the bath keeps leaking through to the kitchen then maybe you should consider a new suite and tiles. It is inevitable that you will need this one day so why keep throwing money at re-sealing and grouting constantly when you already know how it will finish.

  • Fix it right the first time – perhaps the more expensive solution that day, but in the long run it will save you lots of money
  • Buy good quality fixtures and fittings – when everything is nice and new it makes problems and damage caused by poor use more easily identifiable when inspections are made, thus looking after your investment.

So take these tips away with you and hopefully you now think differently about how property maintenance and handyman services are used through out your student accommodation.

Handyman bristol


An a different kind of student accommodation

Far from the conventional where you each scribble your name on a contract with a seedy Landlord for a contract with a property with no heating and where the running water is slightly black but he doesn’t mind if you play loud music and party till dawn, there are now, a small number of property management companies who are offering large halls style accommodation to students. These are basically halls but not supplied by the university. So, students will pay a one off figure, which will include all bills and will be paid to the property management company. These rooms will only be let to students; they will have similar single rooms with en-suites and communal kitchen and laundry areas. In this way they are very similar to the environment that students will have been residing in at university campus halls.

The advantage to society of such properties is immense. Areas densely populated with students are commonly run down with litter, graffiti and a sub-standard level of housing. Students are on a tight budget and this has been exploited for many years by the Landlord who realised he could cut corners if he shaves a few quid off the monthly rent.

Students are renowned for noisy parties and loud music, often inadvertently destroying communities around them and pushing non-student renters into other areas away from the antisocial antics of those experience freedom from parents for the first time.

If we support this new breed of student accommodation, segregating student housing from non-students, we will be offering a better standard of living to students, with safely maintained properties and clear cut one cost a month bills which reduce the possibility of damage to credit ratings at such an early opportunity in adulthood. We will also, however, be offering a far superior standard of living to those previously forced to live amongst student households. No more late night partying and streets littered with kebab wrappers, no more constant ‘student night’ flyers tempting them to taste test 2 for 1 cocktails at the latest student bar. No more trying to get infants to sleep whilst loud drinking competitions happen on the other side of the wall and no more graffiti on your front door.

Segregating these living styles does not mean segregating students from the mainstream population; it merely means ensuring the best possible opportunity for comfortable and happy lifestyles for all parties. Students like to live a certain lifestyle and that can be made acceptable within areas designated for this behaviour ensuring those not wishing to live in such areas are afforded the opportunity to live in a more peaceful and less disturbed home. More could be done to encourage students to develop within the community, such as volunteering opportunities and projects working alongside others residing in nearby areas.

This new way of student living also offers increased security in perhaps the more vulnerable times of a student’s life, with access granted by keys to communal areas as well as personal keys for individual’s private areas. At a time when young adults are acclimatising to the ways of the world and adult life and are perhaps not as security conscious as they will eventually be, this added security will offer and increased peace of mind – especially to worrying parents left at home concerned about their offspring moving into the big wide world alone!

With increased security, improvements in society, financially clear agreements and single management of large quantities of student accommodations, this certainly looks like the way forward in student lettings and I strongly suspect we will see increasing numbers of companies keen to introduce such offerings to the student market! Watch this space!

student halls nottingham

student accommodation, when to start looking


It is that time of year again. Christmas has been and gone and if you are still living in University Halls it is time to start looking for alternative student accommodation for when you return to uni after the summer break. September may seem like a long time away, but in terms of the academic year it will soon come round so you need to act now to secure the best deals and the best student properties available in the Nottingham area.

Landlords and Letting agencies will be working hard to attract your attention and draw you into signing up to a tenancy agreement with them. There are hundreds of student properties available in Nottingham and they will be keen to fill as many rooms as quickly as possible. So where should you begin your search? And who can you really trust for honest advice about renting student property?

Well your university will have loads of reliable information about the properties in your local area. They will be able to advise you on suitable locations, those that have good transport links for example and those areas that  are heavily populated by students therefore offering security and a sense of community. They will also be able to give you an idea of how much you should be paying for what and all the properties they recommend will comply with current unipol standards so you can be sure they are safe, lean and legal.

There are several letting agencies in Nottingham offering student accommodation. They will of course be promoting their own properties so bear that in mind when you contact them. They do however have to abide by strict guidelines aswell  though, so again the standard of properties on offer should be perfectly acceptable.

Do you research, talk to existing students about their experiences with various agencies, take your time but do not leave it until the last minute to make your choice. Prices can vary dramatically as can the facilities offered, read the small print so you are clear exactly what is included and hat will be charge as extra. You may have enjoyed the freedom of the last year or so without your parents but this may be a good time to call on them for advice, and perhaps to help with negotiations between you and the letting agencies. Especially if you are relying on them for financial help when you move.

1st time student away from home

Living away from home for the first time? My friend there is a lot for you to learn! There are bills to pay, companies to chase, agreements to keep to and cleaning to be done! Where to start I hear you ask?

house partying

So for the purposes of this article I will assume that you already have your student accommodation lined up, I got mine sorted out through Shields Student Homes in Nottingham. For the first time, you will be living away from Mum and Dad and braving life in the real world all alone!

Excellent I hear you cry, no more chores, no more nagging. I will be free to party till dawn, celebrate my youth and enjoy the freedom that comes with living alone.

chilling with friends

Well, sadly, it’s not quite like that! Firstly, you will be studying – bear in mind that at some point you hope to have a degree with which to settle down when you want to do all that boring stuff like getting a job, getting married and eventually having kids. If you don’t put at least a fair amount of effort in now then you may not end up with that degree and will, instead, have 5 years of partying to put on your cv (not quite as attractive perhaps?)

Living along means chores are definitely not out. When your Mum asked you to make your bed and put the odd wash load on she was trying (perhaps in vain) to teach you about running a household and what goes into it. So hovering, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, doing the washing, ironing and cooking are very much in. Even if you split them between all of you in the household it will take some time and if you ignore it you’ll end up in a pigs sty and perhaps in trouble with your letting agents or landlord.

Food shopping is a new and exciting thing all together – you will be drawn to the alcohol aisle, crisps, chocolate and of course ready meals when you first venture into Tesco alone with your small budget that you have allocated for food shopping. This won’t last. Well it can’t really last – your body requires sufficient fuel to help it run and feeding it twixes and kitkats is not going to do the job – if you haven’t done so yet, ask your mum for some last minute cooking tips. It is indeed true that if you can cook yourself a roast chicken then you can survive alone (with this one meat, cooked in one way, you can make a roast dinner, salads, pasta, curry’s, pies, the list is endless!!)

So the key when living alone and renting (what is essentially somebody else’s house), you need to be aware that they want that house kept in a reasonable condition. Otherwise they will expect you to pay for the damage to it. So while mattress surfing down the stairs seems like a good idea after a few pints when 15 of your mates are egging you on, when your landlord wants you to pay to replace the banisters and that means you can’t afford to eat for a month, it may not seem like quite such a good idea! You need to respect the property you are RENTING just as you did your parents home – hopefully this will help you to avoid any large property damage fees at the end of your contract (when your landlord will walk around the house and check for damage!)

Student years are supposed to be fun but you also need to be sensible – there are many things you will discover when you first live alone (the loo roll doesn’t replace itself and fridges aren’t self-filling) but you will, no doubt, enjoy the experience and learn some quite useful information on the way.

Useful Links:  Unipol website all about student living Nottingham Trent University The University Of Nottingham

Useful Skills for living away from home- My experience

Growing up, my dad could always be found tinkering with something in the house. Whether it be putting up a shelf, changing a light bulb, fixing the washing machine or mowing the lawn. As I got older my dad was keen to get me involved in doing lots of these things with him. ‘You’ll need to know these things when you move out’ was his favourite thing to say. At the time changing a fuse in a plug or reading the gas meter was not my idea of fun and I would much rather be sat on my laptop or watching TV. However I have now got to admit that he was right and thank him so much for showing me many life skills.

When I was 18 I moved from London to Nottingham to go to University. In my second year it was time to move into a student house. A house full of 6 of my best girlfriends was fantastic and moving in the focus was in girly nights in and big nights out. However after only 2 days of being in my student house in Nottingham, the things my dad had taught me came into use. It was the first Friday night and we were all getting ready for a night out in town. There was music playing and hair dryers blowing when all of a sudden it all went quiet. The power had gone. My fellow house mates started to panic. ‘We should phone the landlord’, ‘I’ll phone my mum’ and ‘I need to straighten my hair!’ were the calls of my housemates. However I knew that the most likely cause would be that the power had tripped. On the first day in the house my dad had shown me where the fuse box was and explained what to do if the power tripped. Using the light from my mobile phone, I searched under the stairs and found the fuse box and flicked on the switch which bought the power back on upstairs. Everyone was surprised I knew what to do, and I wouldn’t have either if I had not been taught. I don’t think the landlord of our student house would have been impressed to be called out on a Friday night to flick a switch.

From that day on whenever there was a problem I was the first port of call. From reading the gas meter, changing light bulbs, working the lawnmower to unblocking a plug hole full of hair – eurgh – I am the houses resident DIYer. These skills may not sound that difficult, but I was surprised how my housemates didn’t know how to do some of these simple everyday tasks.

If you are about to move into your own student house and don’t know how to do some of the tasks I have mentioned, get someone to show you now. Part of living away from home in a student house is becoming independent and surviving without the safety net of your parents. I know many people are taught how to use the washing machine and how to prepare their favourite meals but a bit of simple DIY is also helpful. Obviously, you have a landlord to do major repairs but being able to do things for yourself is a good life skill. I have also taught my housemates and when there is a problem I phone up my dad and her talks me through problems if he thinks there is an obvious easy solution. As much as I got fed up with being shown how to do things before I moved away, it has enabled me to get on confidently on my own and it is good to know I don’t always need to run to mum and dad for help.

Moving to University – Useful things for living in Student Accommodation

So you have received you’re A-Level results and are off to University! If you are moving away and are off to live in student accommodation there is lots you will need to take with you, some obvious and some things that you may not have thought of. Here is a guide to some random items that you may wish to bring with you to ensure you have all you need in your new student home. This is written from personal experience of living in student accommodation in Nottingham, whilst studying at Nottingham Trent.

  1. Clothes horse – You are likely to find that tumble dryers either aren’t available or cost too much to run. A simple clothes horse is a great help for drying your clothes efficiently, unless you are planning on taking all your washing back home for your mum to do! It is easy to find one for under a tenner. Make sure you get one that is easy to fold away.

  2. Two sets of bedding – You are likely to not have easy access to a tumble dryer so make sure you bring 2 sets of bedding so you always have a clean set available when the other one is being washed.

  3. Larger Plastic cup/beaker – After a night out you will definitely need a large glass of water by your bedside to help rehydrate you. A plastic cup is useful in case it gets knocked off, especially if you have a hard laminate floor.

  4. Dressing up clothes – Raid your wardrobe for clothes that may be good for dressing up. Unions and student nightclubs often have student theme nights so if you have any old dressing up clothes, be it cowboy hats, 70’s outfits, neon tutus etc are likely to come in handy and save you buying new ones.

  5. Earplugs – Student accommodation can be noisy. Every night can be a night out for students and they will come in handy when you need a good rest and a quiet night in. Party till the early hours is fun when you are doing it, but not so great when you want to sleep and others are making noise at 3am! Ear plugs will help to block out the noise and help with a better night’s sleep.

  6. Tin opener – Tinned food tend to be cheap and a good student staple but is not much good without a tin opener! Student accommodation varies when it comes to kitchen equipment, so make sure you find out what you need before you go. If you are stuck look in pound shops for bargains!

  7. Extension cables/bar plugs – Most students these days tend to have a wealth of gadgets and chargers. Hairdryers, hair straighteners, laptop chargers, mobile phone chargers, alarm clocks, lamps, televisions, DVD players, games consoles etc all need to be plugged in, many at the same time, but you may only have one or two plug sockets in your room in your halls or student home. A bar plug will be useful to power a range of things at one and extensions cables are good if the plug sockets are not where you need to plug this in.

  8. Medicine – A range of cold/flu remedy’s, allergy tablets, cough sweets, painkillers etc are useful to have in stock. When you are at University you won’t have mum or dad available to pop to the shops when you are feeling rough so having some on standby is useful. These are especially useful the first few weeks as you are likely to catch the dreaded Fresher’s Flu!!

  9. Cleaning products – Unless you want to live in filth, you will need to clean! Some basic multi-purpose cleaners are the best option as you don’t want to be storing lots of different bottles.

I hope this was a helpful list of things you may not have considered when preparing to move into student accommodation.

Student Jobs In Nottingham

So, this is my first term as a student in Nottingham. I’m just getting to know people around campus, I have no idea what’s around here but I’ve heard the night life for students in Nott’s is amazing!

But first thing’s first, and as my parents like to remind me on a daily basis through text, email, Skype, good old fashioned pen to paper or whatever form of communication they can get their hands on “What you really need darling is a job!” Thanks Mum. And the search is on. The thing is, if you’re a student in Nottingham who already lived in Nottingham then chances are you’re gonna know or at least have a vague idea of the sort of places that might offer work to students. But I’ve only just landed here, literally on my own and as yet I’m struggling to remember how to get to the main entrance on campus never mind navigate my way around the battle of the bar jobs!

There’s a whole heap of info in ‘Mooch’ (the student union bar/café on campus) which is where I found out about which has been awesome. They’ve got weekend jobs for students, summer jobs for students, a massive selection of part time student jobs AND they also list student internships, work experience for students and volunteering opportunities, bonus!! Most of the vacancies are for bar work or retail, customer service assistants, some events promotion (you know the type, standing in the city centre on a Friday night with a huge pile of leaflets advertising cheap entry and drinks for student’s) but cash is cash and when you can’t afford to be choosey it’s worth a shot right? Another good site I stumbled across is which also has a lovely long list of opportunities for part time, Christmas temps, all sorts really and they say pay in Nottingham is pretty decent  with most student jobs paying upwards of £6.00 an hour or £50 per day.

I haven’t just stopped at looking specifically at student jobs though (Mother will be pleased). There’s part time jobs advertised all over the place. Nottingham has a local newspaper called The Nottingham Post which prints all its jobs in a supplement on a Wednesday, but the website is updated every day. You can search the whole site if you want, look through every job that’s listed or you can refine your search through location, job title, skills, salary, industry sectors etc. You can also set it to search jobs listed either in the last 7 days, 3 days, 2 days, current day, in the last 4 hours or the last 2 hours. This is really useful if you’re checking it every day (like me) because it saves you from trawling through a load of stuff that a student in Nottingham doesn’t have a hope of applying for- Sales Executive wanted £45,000 per annum +benefits I WISH! I guess that’s one good reason to stick to the student websites really, least you know they’re all jobs that are doable.

My brother gave me another idea for job hunting- to place your own add. He’s a bit older than me and apparently back in his day you had to put a card in a shop window offering your services which usually cost you. But being the spring chicken that I am, 15 years his junior we now have the marvels of social media so I will be tweeting and face booking my availability. Worth a try!

So all in all, I reckon being a new student in Nottingham looking for a job shouldn’t be that hard. There seems to be plenty of jobs available and they’re pretty easy to find out about. That’ll keep Mum happy at least. Wish me luck!

nottingham university student

Student work can help pay for those nights out