A guide to choosing your second year house in Canterbury

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An insight on the best way to find a house for your second year at university.

Searching for a house may seem like a long way away, but it’s good to be prepared. Firstly, don’t feel pressured to go house hunting very early on in the term. You may think that you’ve found the perfect future housemates but everyone puts on a front during the first month of university. I would recommend waiting until around Christmas. Two thirds of Canterbury’s population are students, so there will never be shortage of houses. You don’t have to live with your current housemates just because it’s convenient. You are bound to meet a lot more people on your course or from societies who could also make great housemates. On the other hand, you can say no to people you don’t want to live with. It might be an awkward conversation, but it won’t be as uncomfortable as sharing a house for the entire year.

When house hunting, make a short list of what you want and what you need in your home. Be realistic, because you will never find the perfect place as these are student houses, but have an idea of three criteria that are deal-breakers. Make sure you visit a number of houses before choosing one. The first property may seem great but the next few could be even better, so don’t rush into it. When at a house viewing, don’t be afraid to take any photos/videos or ask questions, especially if one of your future housemates aren’t there. You will see a range of houses, so photos will help you remember which one is which. If any of the current tenants are there during the house viewing, ask them questions about the property too, who better to ask than someone already living there.

When deciding on bills packages make sure it’s definitely worth it. Depending on the size of the house and the amount of people you’re sharing with, the cost can differ. Do your research; ask the previous tenants how much they’re paying, google the average cost for a house of your situation. On one hand a bills package may be a bit more costly (paying a set weekly/monthly fee) but it means you don’t need to worry about constantly turning off the lights, freezing to death, or timing your showers. It’s a good transition into the adult way of life but with a little less stress. Alternatively, if you do decide to pay for bills separately, there are a range of companies such as Billings Better, Glide and Split the Bills, which are designed specifically for students. Just make sure you arrange it before moving in. You don’t want to be left without electricity or Wi-Fi. Trust me, it’s not fun.

Canterbury has various residential areas for second year houses. Here are the most popular zones, that UKC students often opt for:

1. Hales Place

Price wise it’s one of the cheaper areas to live, however, it’s considerably further from the town centre. With irregular buses, it means a lot of walking up and down the hill to campus and other parts of the city. It’s not the safest area to live in either but is full of students and you’ll always find someone walking in that direction after a night out. Well known roads include Downs Road, Long Meadow Drive, Tenterton Drive and Headcorn Drive.

2. Eliot Footpath

A bit more expensive due to its prime location. Only a ten-minute walk away from both campus and town, it’s a popular location for UKC students. It does have bus routes running along Forty Acres Road, but you won’t really need to use them. It is also very close to Beverly Meadow, which is perfect for a summer Barbeque or a kick about with some friends. Well known roads include St. Michael’s Road, Bramshaw Road, Salisbury Road and Beaconsfield Road.

3. Whitstable Road and St. Dunstan’s

Not quite as cheap as Hales Place, but still reasonably priced. They’re quieter zones of the city with fewer parties and rowdy students. They have regular buses running down Whitstable Road, so you will always be able to get to and from both campus and town, mind which end you’re at though, as if you’re on one of the closer stops to the university, those buses tend to be full by the time they get to you and you may end up waiting even longer. Additionally, Canterbury West Station is within a close walking distance. Well known roads include Cherry Drive, Bishop’s Way and Meads Way.

4. Wincheap

Despite having fairly cheap houses, living in Wincheap is inconvenient for a Kent Student. Even though you are near Aldi, Canterbury East Station, and Club Chemistry, getting to campus everyday is a trek. It’s not the nicest of areas and is far away from most things. It’s better to leave this zone for Christchurch students.

At the end of the day, you’ll only be living in this house for a year or two. So, if your living situation doesn’t end up the way you planned, you don’t need to stick it out for very long.