Guest blogger Produced by

Martina Gardeva (Bulgaria)

I am Martina Gardeva from Bulgaria studying MSc Tourism Management and Marketing. There will come a time when you receive your offer from the university (congrats!) and you must start looking for your next home. Finding private student accommodation can be quite stressful and time consuming – let me help you with my guide for a smoother renting experience in Bournemouth.

Research all your options

The first thing you need to do when looking for private accommodation is to thoroughly research your options. First, join as many Facebook groups for private rentals as you can find. There are also popular sites you can use to find a flat such as Rightmove, Padsforstudents, Lettings BU, Spareroom, RoomBuddies, etc…

The universities’ Facebook page ‘Find a housemate’ is one of the best ways to find a house/room. You can talk directly to students, ask them questions about their experiences at the property, get photos, and on top of that you don’t need to pay any fees!

A third option is to consider using an agency. Although you will have to pay administration fees, you will have professionals looking for your housing options and you won’t need to do it yourself. Easy and effective, isn’t it?

Don’t take chances… Have a plan!

When deciding on where to live, I suggest researching which areas of town would be best for you and try to check if they are safe. For example, when I participated in a BU Live chat about accommodation, they advised me to avoid Boscombe, as it is not as safe as other areas. Consider whether you prefer to live close to the town centre or close to the university. In addition, set a price range of what you can afford to spend on monthly rent and don’t forget the utility bills if they are not included in the payments.

Emailing for extras

If you live in Bournemouth or somewhere nearby it is easy to arrange a viewing of any flats you are interested in. However, as a foreign student, I did not have the chance to travel all the way to England just to look for a house. Instead, I got in touch with the owners via email and requested more photos of the rooms available. After I decided to take the house, I asked them for permission to sign my contract online and send it back to them. Luckily, many of the landlords here know how international the university is and they try to help you as much as they can.

Take the stress out of contracts.

A smart idea would be to ask your parents or someone who might be familiar with contracts or rental agreements for advice regarding the terms of the tenancy agreement. Make sure you clearly understand all your rights and obligations! An alternative is to contact SUBU – the Student Union Bournemouth University. Not only are they familiar with UK tenancy laws, but they are more than happy to review any of your contract agreements and let you know if anything is sketchy. All the financial information will be in the contract and you can transfer the money easily online through your bank account (once you have set up your UK account) or using TransferWise (for internationals).

Pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of your life! Living alone is not as scary as it may look!

Martina Gardeva, Bulgaria, MSc Tourism Management and Marketing, 2017/18