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Tips Students

Top Tips to Maximise Your Student Space in a New Rental 

One thing that remains consistent with student housing across the globe is that space is usually at a premium. If you’re renting at the more economical end of the spectrum, chances are you’ll be working with a smaller space. But there are ways to make that space work for you, whether making use of nooks in a room that might be going to waste or creating the illusion of a larger space through colour and layout. Here are some tips to maximise your rental space, without the need to upsize your property. 

Make use of storage anywhere you can

Storage is the obvious solution to any rental property, but you really need to think outside the box when it comes to a small space. Avoid using large free-standing pieces – they might seem like a good way to keep your belongings organised, but they can make a small room feel more crowded and they’re bulky. Look at areas of your property where you can sneak in added storage to free up space, such as under the stairs, beneath your bed or adding shelving above door frames. Adding storage vertically and maximising wall space is also a great way to utilise an area of a room that typically goes to waste. 

Go light and bright

You might be surprised just how much of a difference the right colour scheme can make to a property. When you’re aiming to maximise space, the trick is to go lighter and brighter, to create the illusion of a bigger room. Opt for decorative and smart lighting tricks with different coloured bulbs. Or, experiment with 3D printing ideas to create stylish desktop lamps and inspiring tinted bulbs, as Tata Rossi, a professional photographer explains, “creative bulbs can be done in different colours and shapes, allowing you to show off your creativity and create unique lighting for any room”.

Most landlords will be open to you painting a property if it’s a neutral colour, so speak with them to see what you’re allowed to do, and opt for clean neutrals such as white or tinted creams that will bring more light into the room. And, don’t neglect the floor; it’s a large part of a room and can work wonders to enhance that illusion of the room being larger than it is. Instead of carpet, why not choose vinyl flooring that reflects light and is easier to maintain too, as an added bonus. 

Consider your placement of furniture

The placement of furniture and your belongings goes a long way to maximising a rental property’s capacity, and you might be surprised how you can redesign a space to create a functional and aesthetically-pleasing home. By rearranging your furniture, you may find that it opens up new opportunities for storage or simply how you use the space on a day-to-day basis. For example, maybe you pull the sofa out from the wall so you can fit a tall bookshelf behind it that can act as storage for books, DVDs and ornaments. Or maybe you can replace a coffee table with side tables at the ends of the sofa that will free up floor space without losing the functionality of somewhere to put your drinks or phone. 

Create zones

Partitioning a room, particularly if you’re renting a studio flat, can be a great way of feeling as though you have more rooms than you have and can help to create a cosy yet functional space. You can split your room into a sleeping area and a space to work on your coursework, for example, or maybe you have an open plan living and kitchen area. In this case, separate the two sections with a moveable partition that adds interest to the property but also offers privacy without taking away too much of that all-important space. 

Think multipurpose

If you can find items that do double duty, it will help you to make better use of your available space. Just because a flat or house is on the smaller side, doesn’t mean you have to get compact furniture to fill it. In fact, small spaces can appear even smaller if it’s cluttered with numerous small items. Instead, try to prioritise the items you really need and think about ways you can have those items serve multiple purposes. For example, can you swap out your dining table for a foldable alternative that can double up as a place to eat and work? Or maybe you can change up a regular bookshelf for one with a fold-out desk that provides storage and a workspace in one.

Declutter

Finally, the less you have to fit into your student rental, the easier it will be to maximise your space. There are always things we hold onto that tend to sit in cupboards or on shelves for months without us using them, whether it’s books we haven’t read, DVDs we’ve not watched in years or clothes that don’t fit anymore. So if you’re on the move to a new rental, take the opportunity to have a declutter and think about what you really need to keep and what can be passed on to someone else or donated. You might be surprised once you take a look at your belongings just how much you’re finding room for that you don’t need to. 

Make the most of hidden opportunities  

There are endless possibilities when it comes to a small space, and you don’t have to assume that your interior decor options are non-existent just because your home is on the smaller side. Making the most of your own space will help settle in especially if you’re sharing a student house with good friends and you want to live together harmoniously! In fact, with a bit of creativity, illusion, DIY know-how and considering places in the property that might otherwise be ignored, you can utilise every inch of the property and also create the sense of a bigger property. 

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Tips

Three top tips for finding a safe student property

The freedom and independence that comes with living in your own home away from mum and dad is one of the most exciting things about any student’s university journey. But with this newfound independence also comes a huge level of responsibility, both for your personal security and safety.

With most new undergraduates living on campus in their first year, safety within student accommodation will largely be taken care of by university services. If you lose your key, for example, security will be on hand to let you in. But when moving off campus, this safety net is stripped away, and the onus falls on you and your housemates to find a safe new property for the next year or two.

According to one survey, 39% of students felt pressured into starting their property search, but it’s important to properly take the time to find a place that’s right for you, since this is a pivotal part of your uni adventure. So how do you set about taking this exciting step? Here are three of our top tips to ensure you will feel completely safe and comfortable in your new digs.

Speak with current tenants

There is no better way of getting a proper feel about the safety of an area than by speaking to people who already live there. When viewing a property, you can expect to bump into fellow students who are currently occupying your potential future home. Instead of eyeing up how you might redesign their bedrooms, take the time to pick their brains, or ask for contact information if you’d prefer to talk away from the landlord (if you’re being shown around).

Come prepared with questions around not only the house itself, but also the local area and how safe they feel in it. Both during the day and at nighttime, it is crucial that you feel safe in the surrounding area, as you will be spending far more time off campus than you were in your first year.

Speak to the landlord about safety precautions

As well as feeling comfortable in the area, it’s just as important to feel safe inside your property. Whilst you will generally get a relatively good sense of how safe a house is just by visiting it, it’s advisable to also speak to the landlord about any measures or precautions that they’ve taken to further protect the property and its tenants.

Look out for security cameras/alarms and check locks on the doors and any outdoor storage spaces. All of these additional measures can help to prevent theft during your time at university as well as a whole host of other crimes, so this is a crucial part of your search. As well as your personal security, you should also look for and address any health and safety concerns. Things like fire extinguishers, no signs of mould and fully-working appliances should all be on your checklist for things to look out for when visiting a prospective property.

Use university services

Whilst it can feel like you’re being kicked off of campus into the big wide world at the end of your first year, the university will still be on hand to offer support and services to help you take the next step safely. They will be your first port of call when you begin your search for an off-campus home.

Not only will they be able to share their knowledge of the local area with you, but your student union will also be able to point you in the direction of some reputable landlords or estate agents. This can be helpful as using a landlord who regularly deals with student properties will be able to better advise and support you throughout the duration of your tenancy.

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Tips

How to choose the perfect housemates for shared housing

For many reasons, you may find yourself in a position where you are considering shared housing. Whether you’re a student moving from halls into your first privately rented property, or a working professional moving to a new city, shared housing is an excellent way to save money on rent, meet new friends and make great memories.

Statistically more of us than ever are living in shared housing, and that covers all ages from 18-50+ years old. A survey in 2015 showed that the number of house sharers rose by 186%, and last year flatshare website SpareRoom reported that searches for shared housing had increased five-fold over the past 10 years. 

Despite being a popular option, choosing to live with friends, acquaintances and even strangers can of course come with its complications, and can be extremely daunting. We’ve gathered together a foolproof list of things to consider ahead of moving into shared housing, to help you find the perfect housemates, and not ruin your renting experience. 

Schedule a meeting to hang out, sit and talk

Now, this may seem obvious. However, if you’re moving from overseas, using an app to meet new people in your house share, or in a rush to find shared housing, it can be easy to find yourself in a situation where you skip out on crucial chats before moving in. Make sure you put some time aside to sit down and talk about details, and if it’s easier this could even be done virtually over FaceTime.  

Be honest about what it is you’re looking for in a housemate and shared housing 

Honesty is the best policy, after all. Being misleading about your lifestyle and what you’d like in a house share (and vice versa) can lead to future tensions. Consider what your daily schedule looks like, and what you think will complement it in a housemate. For example, does your university course or job have a lot of contact hours that could be unsociable, or could someone who is working from home and leaving the heating and TV on all day lead to tensions over the bills at the end of the month? We recommend writing all of these points down to discuss.  

Housekeeping, it’s not all fresh laundry…

Everyone’s idea of “clean” is very different. If you’re a bit of a germaphobe, you definitely won’t want to find yourself in shared housing where crusty dishes are left in the sink on the regular. Before committing to living together, try to establish what kind of a cleaner they are and see if a house cleaning schedule early on would avoid any awkwardness.  

Consider your social life

This is particularly important for those studying at University, or in a demanding job. A conflict in social lives can cause stressful living situations. If you’re a social butterfly, find yourself regularly recovering from the freshers flu, and are looking for a more social house share, it’s probably best that you don’t live with people who never leave their rooms. When considering your housemates, ensure you ask lots of questions about how they spend their free time. Ask what their ideal day-to-day circumstances would be in the house. Are they looking for someone who they can make friends and have dinner with, or would they rather keep themselves to themselves? 

Make sure they can pay their way

No one likes to have the money chat, but let’s face it, when it comes to living together it’s definitely the most important and stressful part of renting. It’s essential that you ensure that your potential housemates are able to pay their portion of the rent and bills before entering a contract together. This should all be confirmed through referencing checks, however, if you or other members of the house share are unemployed or studying, one way to alleviate this stress is to ensure there is a guarantor. If you’ve got concerns about members of your shared house paying their portion of the rent, Only My Share is also here to help you rent with confidence. 

Our service ensures that you are only responsible for your portion of the rent. Only My Share’s guarantee means that if a housemate is unable to pay and the landlord pursues you, we can step in. This is perfect for shared housing with friends, and strangers and can help to reduce difficult conversations and the risks of you having the liability of someone else’s costs. 

If you’re looking to enter a shared housing contract, find out more information about the Only My Share service by getting in touch today, or visiting our knowledge base here.  

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Tips News

Stark warning to parents as Only My Share’s loss ratio increases by 350%

  • Only My Share warns of the dangers of joint and several liability clauses
  • Huge rise in payouts highlights the risk to parents
  • Withdrawal of pandemic-related government support creates even greater need for caution

Rent arrears protection service Only My Share has issued a stark warning to parents after a rising number of claims has seen its loss ratio increase by 350% over the past year. The company is hoping that parents can learn from its experience in order to protect themselves financially, particularly in the face of pandemic-driven government support beginning to fall away.  

“Many families are likely to be feeling the financial pressure as this year progresses. Yet many are also unaware of precisely what they are committing to when signing a tenancy agreement with a joint and several clause in it. With students already seeking accommodation for the 2021/22 academic year, we are keen to warn parents to be cautious.” Edmund Fulford, Relationship Manager, Only My Share

Under a joint and several clause, the tenant is liable for a housemate’s rent if that housemate doesn’t pay. This applies regardless of whether the tenants even know each other. Students looking to live in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and any parents who sign up as their guarantors therefore need to be on the lookout as they are also legally liable.

Only My Share, which is part of the Housing Handfamily, is an insurance-backed guarantee service that prevents individuals from being liable for their housemates’ rent, for a fixed cost of £99 per year for protection of up to £10,000. With the guarantee in place, if a landlord demands rent that another housemate owes, Only My Share steps in and makes the payment.

With so many students defaulting on their rent in the past year, Only My Share has come to the rescue time and again – hence the company’s 350% loss ratio increase. Relationship Manager Edmund Fulford comments:

“It’s been an expensive year for Only My Share, but the pandemic has also shown the strength and solidity of the brand. There’s a definite sense now that if we can get through everything that the pandemic has thrown at us then we can survive any challenges that the future may hold.”

Only My Share recently revealed a new partnership with StudentTenant.com, the UK’s largest online student letting agent. The company is also deep into partnership talks with two other companies, with announcements to follow in the coming months. According to Fulford, the last few months have been incredibly busy on all fronts. He concludes:

“Awareness of the dangers of joint and several clauses is growing, but at a very slow rate. We’re looking to fast-track that knowledge. The level of payouts that we’ve made as a result of the pandemic should demonstrate to students and their parents just how vulnerable their position is if they sign a rental agreement that includes a joint and several clauses. Only My Share can de-risk that vulnerability by £10,000.” Edmund Fulford, Relationship Manager, Only My Share

For more information, please contact Only My Share today on +44 (0) 203 887 2961 or visit https://onlymyshare.com/

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Tips News

Letting Agents: Only My Share is here for you.

Rent protection is incredibly important for landlords, renters, and guarantors. Only My Share is on a mission to remove the risk for everybody with one simple service. Our rent protection guarantee is easy to use, cost-effective, and offers renters in shared accommodation and their guarantor’s security and reassurance, alongside our bespoke
services for landlords who are looking to guarantee the rent and get help with rent recovery when other outlets fail. Only My Share is proud to already be working with some incredible partners, find out below how our service can benefit letting agents.

The problem Only My Share is here to solve.

So, why is rent protection so important? When tenants are living in shared accommodation, they sign a joint and several liability agreements. This means that they are not only liable for their own rent but also for the rent of their entire house should the other housemates not be able to pay their share. This in turn also means that their guarantors are liable too. Tenants could end up owing rent that isn’t theirs technically but is legally due to contractual obligations.

In the case that a tenant defaults on rent, the process of chasing payments and recovering them from tenants or guarantors is hard work, time-consuming, and often leaves landlords out of pocket. That’s where we come in to help. Only My Share’s block management product has been created with these issues in mind. Our service allows landlords to cover tenants that are up-to-date with their rental payments and fees across a single property or whole estate (depending on requirements). This means that both parties are offered full protection, provided with peace of mind, and that the rental process runs smoothly.

The benefits of Only My Share for Letting Agents.

Only My Share has a bespoke and incredibly beneficial service for letting agents. Our product keeps letting agents one step ahead in a competitive market by helping tenants rent with confidence and landlords guarantee their rent.

Our flexible model means that letting agents can offer great value, and get contracts signed quickly. Landlords are satisfied as they are fully protected against rent loss, and tenants are happy knowing that they aren’t liable if a housemate falls into rent arrears. In effect, letting agents recommending our service to landlords and tenants also improve their offerings as agents by helping landlords reduce their liabilities, covering tenants and guarantors affordably, and offering new products.

What’s included for letting agents?

Rent loss protection – It’s simple, but Only My Share guarantees that landlords don’t miss out if tenants can’t pay.

A simple procedure – Claiming on a rent guarantee is easy, there’s one simple form and then we’ll be in touch and the rest is left for us to cover.

Letting agents can offer a better service – Offering protection means a competitive advantage – client relationships and services are improved by providing our product.

You can count on us – With all problem cases, we are here to help with both rent recovery and rent guarantee.

One size doesn’t fit all approach – We’re aware that landlords have different tenancy agreements with their tenants. We tailor this to make sure that the plan is suitable for their tenancy arrangements.

There are no limits – Whether it’s a three-bed house in Bournemouth or a seven-bed house in London, our rent protection guarantee covers everyone.

Make a commission – By reselling our products to landlords, letting agents can improve services, and earn a commission.

How it works for letting agents.

Letting agents act as an introducer of our services to their landlords, using focused marketing material which is provided. This means that letting agents can up-sale their offering, improve client relationships and get contracts signed quicker. By offering policies to landlords, letting agents earn a commission, making our scheme a win, win for
everyone.

Only My Share has tailored plans for letting agents, it’s very quick and easy to get involved and start offering our services. We put together a bespoke plan for each agency, including a commission structure and anything else that is required. Letting agents then recommend our services to tenants and landlords, it’s really as easy as that.

To find out more about how Only My Share can help letting agents, please drop us an email at info@onlymyshare.com and one of our team members will be in touch as soon as possible.

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Tips

Rent Protection: The Top 5 Things To Look Out For In A Rental Contract

Finding the perfect student house can always be stressful, however, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract and should never be entered lightly. It’s important to take your time, do your research and communicate any questions or concerns you may have before signing. Rent Protection is Only My Shares top priority.

If it’s your first time renting, the process and terminology may seem confusing initially, but Only My Share is here to help. From guarantors and agreements to deposits and rent protection, we’ve pulled together the top 5 things to look out for before signing on the dotted line.

Back to basics: What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between yourself and a landlord. This contract sets out the terms and conditions of your tenancy and allows you to live in the property as long as the agreed rules are followed and you pay rent.

Know your type of tenancy agreement.

Often, students will be renting as a group of sharers. Student lets usually involve an assured shorthand tenancy agreement for 12 months. There are also two main types of tenancy agreement that may be offered to a group of students:

• Individual contract: This is between each individual tenant and the landlord.
• Joint tenancy agreement (most common): The whole group is responsible for collective rent payments and the property.

It is important to understand the difference between the two and understand which will work best for you before agreeing to your contract.

Joint and Several Tenancy agreements.

Most students and sharers will choose to live in a joint tenancy as they’ve met a group of friends that they want to live with, or are looking to meet new people through a house share. However, entering any kind of contract will always come with risks.

With joint and several tenancy agreements, when you sign the same contract as other people in your house, you are responsible for not only your individual rent but also the collective rent of the whole house. This means that if someone leaves the house early or chooses not to pay rent, you or your guarantor would be liable. Find out more about Joint and several liabilities here.

Luckily, Only My Share is an affordable rent arrears protection service that stops this risk with one simple-rent protection guarantee. With just a one-off payment of £99 you can have peace of mind that, should one of your fellow sharers find themselves unable to make a rent payment, you and your guarantor will not be left to foot the bill. Find out more about our rent protection services here.

Secure a Guarantor.

As a first time renter and student, landlords will often require a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a parent or guardian (often required to be a UK homeowner) who will agree that in a worst-case scenario, they will cover your rent payments. Before entering your agreement, it’s important to have this discussion and be prepared.

It is very common for students and sharers to find themselves in a situation where they are unable to find someone who meets the requirements of a guarantor. If you find yourself in this position, you should check out our sister company Housing Hand, which is a rent guarantor service. Find out more here.

Deposit Protection Schemes

When renting a property, you will be required to pay upfront usually 1-6 weeks worth of rent. This is to cover for late rental payments or in case of damage to the property. The law states that all deposits that are taken by landlords must be put into a government-backed deposit protection scheme within 30 days.

Students will often get a large portion of their deposits taken from them at the end of their lease. This is due to damage, but sometimes landlords will try and get more than what is owed. However, you are entitled to get this money back, and this is where the deposit protection scheme comes in – so it is vital to make sure this is in place before your agreement.

Read the small print

This may seem like an obvious point, and a tedious task considering the length of the average tenancy agreement – however, this is one of the most important parts. Here are some of the main points to look out for:

• Double-check the rental amount.
• Check the start and end date of the tenancy is correct.
• Read the terms and conditions/obligations carefully (what you are and are not able to do during the tenancy).
• Agreed repairs – make sure anything that needs fixing before your move-in date has been pre-agreed here.
• Furnishings – ensure that any furniture that comes with the property is stated.

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Tips News

Only My Share was in the Telegraph!

We were featured in the Telegraph in an article about the “Dangers of Joint Rental Contracts” , this issue is becoming even more prevalent especially in the last 12 months. As renters are increasingly uncomfortable with taking on additional financial responsibilities, with the ongoing uncertainty in the marketplace, renters and their guarantors are taking every precaution they can. 

The article highlighted case studies about tenants and their parents who have been chased for hundreds of pounds after horror story housemates have failed to pay their share of the rent, which is becoming the norm more than ever before. 

James (who asked to use a pseudonym) was a customer who contacted Only My Share, shared his story with the Telegraph.  He was in his final year of University and along with three of his housemates was being chased for £800 of outstanding rent by their landlord after the fifth person they lived with failed to pay. 

The fifth housemate was non-contactable as he had just upped and disappeared after they finished their exams and he stopped paying his share of the rent. James and the rest of the housemates were in a predicament as they did not have the funds to pay. Their parents, who were their guarantors had to step in and pay £200 each, to cover the arrears. There was also additional charge as damages to the property exceeded their deposit, once again the parents had to pay for the fifth housemates share of the amount. 

James’ is just one story that highlights some of the issues that can arise when people fall into rental arrears and the implications this has on their housemates under a Joint and Several contract. There are many others who have experienced similar or have been in worse situations than James, to read the full article on the Telegraph click here.

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The Best Late Summer Festivals In & Around Europe

Your university year may have come to an end, but that’s no reason to slow down your partying lifestyle this summer. From Glastonbury to Benicassim, there are hundreds upon hundreds of fantastic music festivals throughout Europe just calling out for you and your friends to visit. 

Make the most of your free time before student-life stress takes over again in September – spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere of a large-scale music festival across a plethora of tents, whether they be a marquee, VIP or camping. 

While some of the bigger festivals may cost a lot to attend, we how important it is to keep the price down for you as a student. Nobody likes spending hundreds of pounds on travel costs and ticket prices – we all like to make sure we’re getting value for money. 

Each of the festivals listed below provide exactly that – an amazing experience at a relatively low cost. Whether you opt to stay at home in England or venture further afield, we guarantee you’ll have an amazing time at any of these six music festivals. 

Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary.

Renowned for being one of the best festivals in the world, let alone Europe, Hungary’s Sziget festival attracts thousands of fans and incredible headliners every single year. Taking place in early August, the week-long event is one of very few global festivals to occur on its very own island. 

With some of the biggest names across all genres of music attending the festival later this year, you will be able to watch the fairly popular British protégé Ed Sheeran perform among many other high-profile acts, including Foo Fighters and The 1975. 

Highlights: Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, The 1975, Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Dates: 7th – 13th August 2019.  

Boomtown – Winchester, England. 

One of the more weird and wonderful music festivals you will ever come across, Boomtown is as unique as they come. Featuring a throwback carnival of music and street performances in a purpose-built wild-west-style town in the English countryside, this festival will provide you and your friends with a truly unforgettable experience. 

Oh, and it has some pretty great acts performing this year too. The likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Groove Armada and Chase & Status will be gracing the streets of Winchester’s Boomtown later on this summer. 

Highlights: The Streets, Chase & Status, Chronixx, Groove Armada, Ms. Lauryn Hill. 

Dates: 7th – 11th August 2019.  

Reading Festival – Reading, England. 

While you may feel like you do enough reading at uni already, this festival puts a much more fun spin on the word. Probably the most student-focused music event there is, Reading Festival is often a rite of passage for undergraduates across the land. 

Originally set up to be the UK’s flag-bearing rock weekender, while the festival still tends to feature more guitar-based bands and artists, it has branched out in recent years to include other genres. This year’s line-up exemplifies this in particular, with a smorgasbord of acts from the world of hip hop, pop and dance. From Post Malone to Royal Blood to Bastille, the festival really has something for everyone. 

Plus, if you’re based further up north, the same line up plays at Leeds over the same weekend, so you can get the exact same festival experience as you would in Reading. Win-win.

Highlights: The 1975, Royal Blood, Foo Fighters, Dave, Bastille, Post Malone. 

Dates: 23rd – 25th August 2019.  

Creamfields – Daresbury, England. 

Known for being one of the world’s most iconic dance festivals, Creamfields is the place to be if you’re into house anthems, fist-pumping trance and heart-pounding drum ‘n’ bass. The three-day event will take place in Daresbury later this August, with headline acts like Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia and Martin Garrix gracing the stages of the small Cheshire-based village’s festival. 

With so much music to bounce to, the event tends to push people to their limits. In other words, prepare yourself for one helluva hangover. However, if you do make it through until the very last thing on Sunday, you gain the legendary status of being a ‘hardcore caner’ – a badge of honour that remains with you for eternity. 

Highlights: Deadmau5, Faithless, Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, Pete Tong. 

Dates: 22nd – 25th August 2019.  

Green Man – Brecon Beacons, Wales. 

If you’re looking for a festival that both take place in a stunning location and features a much more chilled out vibe, we have the place for you. 

The Green Man festival in Wales is set in the country’s stunning Brecon Beacons – an expansive mountain range of Old Red Sandstone peaks. More relaxed than most other music festivals tend to be, the event tends to attract a slightly, how do I put this, more mature audience. 

There is, however, still ample opportunity to down a box of wine until the early hours of the morning – if you’re so inclined. 

Highlights: Four Tet, Idles, Amadou & Mariam, Father John Misty. 

Dates: 15th – 18th August 2019. 

Dekmantel – Amsterdam, Netherlands.

For anybody who’s into electronic music and loves finding new artists to listen to, Dekmantel could be your ideal festival. Rather than following the typical festival formula, the Dutch festival steers clear of headline-grabbing artists, instead opting to support upcoming artists that you may not have heard of before. 

Truly an experience like no other, Dekmantel is the place to be if you like identifying new trends. Plus, it’s relatively quick and easy to get to – book early enough and you can fly to Amsterdam for under £100 return, or hop on the Eurostar from London for a similar price.

Highlights: A whole host of upcoming electronic artists. 

Dates: 31st July – 4th August 2019.

To see more like this head to our news page.

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The guide of unusual things for students in London (for all budgets)

You’ve shipped out of your home and you are spreading your wings in your new life as a University student. It makes perfect sense to NOT follow the crowd. There is so much to do in London, but it’s easy to get caught in the tourist trap or stick to one patch. If you are looking to get the most out of your student experience in London, check out this guide of unusual things for students in London to make your student days (and nights) memories of a lifetime.

Escape games

If you are a puzzle-pro or a gamer, but want a screen break and some crystal-maze action, check out the growing trend ‘escape rooms’ in London. What are they? Escape rooms give you (and a bunch of your fellow student mates) the chance to detect a murder, carry out a bank heist or flee some zombies and escape the room you are locked into. Your skill at solving hands-on challenges is what gets you and your team out.

Super fun and a little bit different to yet another night at the student union bar!

Visit Eel Pie Island

As a Time Out review points out, “the pies are a little thin on the ground, but it is a real island.” This private island in the Thames is periodically opened to the public. Housing 26 artists’ studios, this overgrown hamlet is a welcome escape from the whir of London’s city life. It’s nice to do something different and you can tell your parents you’ve been somewhere the Rolling Stones once played. Trust me, they’ll be impressed.

London flying experience

For students with a leisure-time budget to blow, why not take to the skies and experience the delights of light sport aviation. IntoTheBlue offer a range of flying experiences from introductory flying lessons to pilot starter packs and flights to the Isle of Wight. With the opportunity to take the controls when airborne, you’ll be able to test out if becoming a pilot is the career path for you.

Flights depart from Damyn Hall on the Essex/London border. Take the District Line eastwards to Upminster at the end of the line, then hop in a taxi. It’s just a 5-minute car ride to the airfield.

White Water Rafting (yes in London!)

Thanks to the London Olympics you can now experience white water rafting in London at the Lee Valley White Water Centre. From as little as £39 per person you and 8 friends (there’s a maximum of 9 persons per raft) can plunge into the rapids and experience the twists and turns of this Olympic course. Or try tubing, inflatable two-man kayaks and hydrospeeding. Choose whatever most floats your boat to get the ultimate whitewater experience!

Moo canoes

If white water rafting is an adrenaline rush you don’t think you can handle, how about a gentler water bound experience? Tandem Kayaks and canoes decorated with a Friesian cow print are available for hire by Moo Canoes so you can navigate the waters of London for some alternative sightseeing.

Set off from the floating bar and café in Hackney Wick or from Limehouse Basin, close to Bank Station. There are a variety of routes depending on how long you want to spend on the water and how much of a challenge you are looking for. Prices start from £26 for the first hour, with subsequent hours charged at £10 per hour.

Secret Cinema

Step into your favourite film. This might break the student budget, but I guarantee Secret Cinema will be the talk of your Halls for the rest of your student life! With a group discount tickets will cost you and your buddies £72.12 each (ouch). But if studenthood to you is all about amazing and unusual London experiences (as well as getting a degree of course), then this one has to be on your list of must-do’s.

This is the ultimate alternative night out in London. It’s a cultural phenomenon EVERYONE is talking about. So, what is it exactly? Secret Cinema is an epic immersive cinema experience. You dress up as a bespoke character and can literally become a part of the film. Awesome!

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Time Out London listed the ArcelorMittal Orbit slide as the #1 activity in the capital in its opening year. The world’s longest tunnel slide is 178 metres long and incorporates 12 twists and turns. During your descent you’ll be able to see glimpses of the Olympic Park, as well as get plunged into darkness. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a brilliant slide experience not to be missed. Add this one to your list of things to do as a student while you are in London.

Tickets cost £13.50 and need to be booked in advance. It’s a popular attraction!

Shakespeare’s Globe

If you are reading English, studying theatre or aiming for an acting career, you’ll likely be desperate to see some of London’s fantastic productions. The Globe theatre offers Yard standing tickets from as little as £7. It may be standing with a restricted view, but with tickets at £7 a pop you can’t really argue with that. There’s no excuse – everyone should get to grips with Shakespeare. Invite your parents and they might upgrade you to the seats!

Unusual Things for Students in London: About the Writer

This article about “Unusual Things for Students in London” was written for Only My Share – the leading Rent Arrears Protection company by Annie Button. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself against up to £10,000 of a flatmates’ rent areas under a joint and several contract in shared accommodation, visit onlymyshare.com or call 0203 887 2961.

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Tips

Tips for University Parents

4 Must-Read Tips for University Parents

Congratulations! Whether your child is prepping for their first semester at a university or their last, you deserve a pat on the back for supporting them as they begin to tackle the world as an adult. While the fact that your child is on their way to becoming a young professional is certainly something to be celebrated, there are plenty of challenges that lie ahead. Though you survived the terrible twos, it can be argued that a panicked “I slept through a final exam” phone call from your 20-something is almost as unpleasant. Luckily, these Tips for University Parents will help you navigate this exciting and transitional time in both of your lives.

Create Quick Cuisine.

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  University students spend staggering amounts of money on food delivery services, so take some time to teach your child a few quick and easy recipes. No need to get fancy, some simple dishes will remind them of home and keep them from totally adhering to a diet of pizza and beer. It’s a win-win as you’ll be able to sneak in some quality time, and your bank account will thank you!

Money Matters.

After the basic cooking skills and a quick laundry tutorial, some smart financial decisions guidance is one of the most important things university parents can teach their children as they become increasingly independent. One common mistake made by university students is signing a rental agreement with housemates only to have them fail to pay their share, especially on Joint and Several Agreements. As a parent and possible rent guarantor, you may find yourself taking on massive debt along with your child. To avoid this, I recommend checking out a service like Only My Share that protects you both from a future financial disaster.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

As the title suggests, communication is key. As a university parent, the most important thing you can do is remain on the same page as your child. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will agree with every decision your child makes or that they will follow all (ok, any) of the (amazing) advice you give them. It means keeping an open line of communication and discussing future goals to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Information is Power.

University students are notoriously terrible when it comes to passing along important information in a timely manner. Between their busy social life and crammed class schedule, your child might not be the best when it comes to keeping you informed. This may be borderline infuriating for a university parent, but luckily university websites are packed full of important information and dates of semester breaks just waiting to be transferred into your calendar. Make sure to check your child’s university website every once and awhile to stay up to date.

This article about the “4 Top Tips for University Parents” was written for Only My Share by Ameena Debboun. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself from rent arrears in shared rented accommodation, visit onlymyshare.com or call 0203 887 2961.