Union warns against finding houses early

The Warwick Students’ Union (SU) Welfare Committee are launching a campaign to encourage first year students to delay making housing decisions until at least their second term.

The campaign, which will begin in the next fortnight and run until the end of term one, aims to help students make more informed decisions about accommodation by postponing the process until the annual SU Housing Guide will be published.

The campaign will include posters, leaflets, and online information about housing as well as specialised sessions, which will teach practical advice such as how to check through housing contracts.

This will replace the annual Housing Day run by previous sabbatical officers, which was increasingly seen as ineffective.

Head of the campaign SU Welfare Officer Leo Bøe, said: “The campaign will run at a more practical level. Its objective is to myth-bust and inform students over a longer period about the processes involved.”

He added: “Every year the same myths come up, that there will be a lack of housing, that the good houses go early. There’s a horrible trend for students to rush into a group of friends for a house for the next year. People can end up with worse houses than if they had waited.”

Many of the students whom the Boar interviewed agreed that waiting is the best policy. Ravena Vuilleumier, a first-year Comparative American Studies student, said: “I’m planning on waiting until the second term. I’m still getting into the swing of things and I don’t really have time to think about it”.

Paul Ewbank, a second-year studying Psychology, agreed: “You need the time to figure out who you want to live with, and where. There isn’t really any rush”.

However, some students, particularly first years, were worried that this years’ increased intake of students would drive competition for houses, especially in the Leamington Spa area.

One English Literature with Creative Writing student, who wished not to be named, said: “I’ve heard it’s good to get in early. Most people will probably start to think about it after reading week”.

Melissa Smith, a second-year Biomedical Science student, warned that waiting was no guarantee of success: “Last year we left it until after Christmas but then panicked. We’ve ended up paying for two months in the summer that we don’t need.”

The campaign will have to compete for students’ attention with estate agents who, once again, are planning to release their student property lists as early as the first week of November. However, Bøe made it clear that the SU should be students’ first port of call.

“If you want any advice or information come into the SUHQ Student Advice Centre or e-mail advice@warwicksu.com. We have very experienced people fluent in checking contracts and individual landlords and property”.

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