You'll be surprised at how fast the time comes for you to start thinking about your living arrangements for next year. By December of my first year we knew a lot of people who had already put their deposits down for a place they wouldn't live in for potentially another 9 months. It sounds pretty crazy, but the good places get snapped up fast. Now finding a place at Keele wasn't relatively complicated, they held a great housing fair in which you got to meet local landlords and agencies, and they also have a site dedicated to local student housing in the area.
I'm not sure what it's like for other universities around the country so I feel that's where Weroom could potentially come in, it's a platform that I really like the sound - and look - of. It's a database where you can list your spare room or find one to move into. Realistically, this is a place to go if you're on your own. From my searches in local areas it's often only one spare room up for grabs, so if you've had trouble finding a place with friends or, like many did at Keele, couldn't find a place to crash upon their return from studying abroad, then I think this is a brilliant site to turn to.
The site is relatively easy to make your way around. Above you can see the first page before you become a member, here you can search for places to live but only for so long before it prompts you to become a member. Below is the screen you see upon becoming a member. It's bold and simple and once again, easy to find your way around. The best bit? Listing your property and making your account are both free.
It's easy to become a member but Weroom offer you the opportunity to become a 'verified member' too. This means taking down your credentials for the purpose of demonstrating that you're a trustworthy person - if not trustworthy, at least real. I think this is actually a brilliant idea, for those sceptical about using this website at least you know that the person isn't fake; they are a genuine person with a very real room to spare/real interest in renting. I think in terms of safety, this is a brilliant and important aspect of the website. The reasons why Weroom believes verification is important can be found here.
As you can see in the above screenshot, you get to create your own profile. It's like a social media space specifically for flatshares, which I think is great! You can add a description about yourself, activities and education, any languages you speak and you can also import your LinkedIn Data - though that's more for the soon-to-be and graduates among us! If you set a location the 'News' tab will keep you updated with any new listings and all those that are current too. You can easily make bookings and send enquiries to potential flat shares and I feel like it's much more practical than trawling paper ads or visiting agencies.
How to go about listing your room is quiet easily explained in the screenshot above, and how to go about renting a room via Weroom is shown below:
Simple or what? Your criteria can be your location, distances around this location as well as the amount you're willing to spend on rent.
Via your profile you also have the opportunity to list any more specific requirements or details about yourself:
There are only a few options, but there is space to share more of what your likes and dislikes are via your profile. Though, I do believe vegetarian should be an option too. I do like the fact you have the opportunity to make these selections.
Next year Weroom are hoping to put together a 'University survival kit' to send to students who sign up to use Weroom - which I think is a great idea! I was sent through one of these kits and at the moment it is slightly lacking in what I'd like to see in a kit, but it's got the markings of something good.
With the kit I received:
'1 mug to help you through the difficult mornings
2 condoms in case you run out of them
3 magnets to decorate your fridge with
1 tote bag for shopping
1 headphone jack splitter because sharing is caring
1 bottle opener to kick the night off
1 poster to hide the stains on the wall'
In my case I actually used a poster to hide a dent in my wall...but you know, whatever you get up to. Personally I think what's contained in the box is great, but perhaps a few lovely vouchers and some sweet treats would tide us over for a little bit too! The tote bag will certainly be useful now that there's a levy in place for carrier bags. 5p isn't much to spend on a bag but how often do you shop as a student? A tote bag is easy to slip into your bag or pocket and have with you on those long days where you need to stock up on pizza and ice cream.
I'd have quite liked to have seen some travel minis too, because they come in so handy when you run out of all your shower products! What would you like to see in a survival kit for your first few weeks at university?
There's a lot more to explore on weroom so do visit their website!
To finish, I quite liked these interesting figures from a poll conducted by Weroom:
· 43% of people were renting as students when they experienced deposit disputes
· 60% of 18-24 year olds want to see letting agents fees banned
· 53% of 18-24 year olds said they experienced a dispute because of property damage that was not the fault of anyone they lived with
· 35% of 18-24 year olds experienced a dispute because of the landlord not maintaining the property adequately
· 33% of 18-24 year olds ‘give in’ to avoid confrontation
· 40% of students are aware of their rights as tenants
*I was sent the university survival kit in return for this post. All screenshots are taken directly of the Weroom.com website.