This post is skating between my work/experiences working at a University and a rant that has been brewing for some time.
Having moved back to Southampton after graduating and no longer being a Student my eyes (and ears) were opened to some really annoying habits certain neighbors have had.
This post isn’t about insulting students or tarring them all with the same brush but I think It is important to be responsible neighbors. I think everyone has a responsibility to be respectful to people around them when living in private rented accommodation. Inspired by this link; http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/07/22/hot-weather-bad-for-neighbourly-relations/ I decided I would outline some things that I have noticed about local/student relations.
- Lettings agencies leave signs outside homes for what seems like ALL YEAR. They look untidy and invite burglaries.
- RUBBISH IS EVERYWHERE! I remember when I moved out of my final year Student home there was a bin man (sorry refuse collectors) strike and so there were mountains of rubbish left outside and it looked and smelled terrible. Walking home from work down roads dominated by Students in 2013 and I have found a similar site, without the strike. Mattresses, furniture and general waste left everywhere. I don’t want to play a blame game but it goes on all the time and me thinks its not always the tenants who cause it. If you are moving out how about trying to dispose of things responsibly? Because I feel embarrassed to live around the mess people make of Southampton streets.
- People drive like crazy down long, straight roads, it happens all over the city and I think it’s a miracle I haven’t been mowed down!
- On the subject of cars, since when did you need a car EACH? It was hard enough parking along roads in Southampton while I was a Student now it’s nearing impossible. Perhaps think about whether you NEED to bring a car with you to University. Think of the cost! And the environment. Fair enough if you have a placement to get to (they can be a trek) or are commuting to Uni, but do you really need one when you can walk or hop on a bus so easily?
- NOISE! This will sound so cliched but living in our previous flat for a year we had particularly bad neighbors who, after several polite requests still didn’t pipe down (until past 5am). Either partying or skyping (on full blast, with no headphones) it is tedious and makes getting up for work the next day so hard and yes I was wearing ear plugs. I know I sound like an old lady here but when you’re sandwiched between Students who still have the stamina to party you end up feeling grumpy and yeah OK bitter that you can no longer keep up with them.
This all harps back to when I have mentioned University as a bubble, often people can forget where they’re living and who they are next door to. As the person complaining/ putting up with it you feel so powerless and like a complete kill joy if you have to go over and ask them to be quiet. I hated each time I had put up with noise for hours and had to go and say something, felt like a right ass, which shouldn’t be the case when I’m not the one being ridiculous*. It means your house/flat no longer feels like a place you can relax or call a home.
*Disclaimer; I am not saying I was an angel as a Student, countless occasions I was shushed by friends on the way back from a night out, and did I listen? Hells no. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I could time travel I would go and smack myself up the head*
I may write a further post about what to do if you’re faced with noisy neighbors or how I think private renting should be improved… but I feel like I have ranted enough. Student housing issues are something very close to my heart and I know a lot of them get ripped off by landlords in this area.
If you want to improve the state of renting in the UK (Student or otherwise) Shelter have some awesome campaigns you can get involved with here: http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns/fixing_private_renting