Moving out? Top tips for avoiding charges

It’s that time of year: exams are coming to an end, the sun is starting to shine, and freedom seems close enough to taste. If you’re planning on heading home for summer, you’re probably starting to think about when to move out of your student accommodation. Cue the flood of memories of uncomfortably lugging suitcases up to your room a summer ago. On top of that, you’ve got the state of your room to think about this time around! Reading through our handy check-out guide will give you a good idea of how to get your room straight – the last thing you need on your plate is a fine you could have avoided. While checking out can be a bit stressful, there are many easy ways to prepare for and cope with the challenges it brings.

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Don’t leave cleaning to the last minute

While you would be forgiven for a post-exams slump, leaving the task of cleaning your room to the last minute could lead to a headache on check-out day. By setting some time aside a few days before you expect to leave to pack and get to grips with some of the bigger jobs, you will save valuable time on check-out day. Cleaning materials don’t have to cost a fortune: most supermarkets have a value range containing generic surface cleaners, sponges, and other basics. Plus, if you’re not sure of how to deal with specific types of grime, there are plenty of student guides online to help you. Getting a head start before your parent or guardian arrives will prevent delays on the day (and lectures from your mum!).

Ensure you know which areas fall under your responsibility

Making sure you are aware of your collective and individual responsibilities is key to avoiding fines and charges down the line. Any damages will be investigated, and it is your responsibility to assess them and work out whose responsibility they are. You should by now be aware of your accommodation’s policy for guests; while we all have those particularly accident-prone friends, remember you are responsible for your guests and it is yourself who will foot the bill if they cause any damage. Moreover, working out cleaning responsibilities in any communal areas is essential to avoiding group fines. While your flatmates have their own rooms to sort out, it is up to the whole flat to get the kitchen/living areas to a good standard during check-out time. Don’t get caught out by assuming responsibility for damages lies with others – you may end up with a nasty surprise come check-out.

Communication is key

The last term can be stressful, and you’d be forgiven for wanting to run for the hills this summer. However, it is difficult to divide cleaning duties if you don’t take some time to communicate effectively with your flatmates before checking out. Not everyone checks out at the same time. Some of your flat mates may choose to leave early, so before you all head off home call a flat meeting to discuss how you all will tackle communal areas. Try to keep things calm during these discussions – there is no use bickering over fridge shelves and carpet stains if you can’t reach a resolution. While accidents do happen, decide collectively how to deal with the problem. Getting a plan of action together prior to checking out will improve you and your flatmates’ chances of avoiding fines and charges.

Honesty is the best policy

While it might be a little late in the game to take full advantage of this tip, the best way to avoid any problems further down the line is to come clean (excuse the pun!) earlier on in the year. Being honest with your accommodation staff about damages in communal areas especially is important; it allows the staff to accurately charge individuals within the group if needs be. Any issues with your room that you failed to report when you first arrived could come back to bite you upon checking out. Always check your inventory before you move in and be efficient in your reporting of issues to ensure you aren’t held accountable for historical damage. And if it’s too late, at least you’ve learnt your lesson for next time!

By setting time aside to tackle your space, communicating with your flatmates about communal areas and being honest with accommodation staff, you can avoid most fines and charges by the time you check-out. By getting into good habits early on, you should then be able to jump headfirst into summer with no charges hanging over your head!

Daisy Winter
PGSV Customer Services Advisor