Well, here we are, practically at the end of the year. Exams and finishing of Honours projects beckon, nearly everyone is stressed, and they hate most of their friends. This also goes for flatmates – but if you can suffer living with them now, you may decide to flat with them again next year. However, an equal number of you will want to leave your flat, and if you never see your flatmates again, it will be too soon. This column is for you: how to leave gracefully.
The first of two parts I want cover is how to leave without your flatmates detesting you. You might think you don’t care now, but the muppet who leaves her hair in the shower drain could be your Psyc tutor next year. Don’t burn your bridges. To do this, I suggest the following:
If you have a roster, stick to it – everyone has too much to do, and if it has kept you together all year, it has stood the test of time – dust, streaky windows, brown toilet bowls and Grant’s chilli con carne. When you move out of your room, make sure it’s clean. Otherwise the poor bugger of a Masters student who has until January to hand in his thesis has to make sure it’s presentable so he can get his bond back from the landlord. He really does not need to be burdened with all the dirty socks with holes you left in the bottom of the wardrobe.
If you have been screwing one of the crew, it may be time for the big break-up. Squillions of couples break up during exams. DON’T BREAK UP UNTIL AFTER EXAMS – even mediocre sex is better for you than slow arsenic poisoning before the Astrophysics 315 exam. A break-up in a flat is hell on all the other flatmates, and they have enough drama in their lives already.
Don’t have your end-of-exams party until everyone in the flat has finished theirs as well.
Make sure you settle all your bills before you go – this is A MUST. This is the one time of year you should borrow dosh from your parents, even if you never have in the past. If you leave bills for others, you will get a ‘reputation’ for something far worse than slutting around. No one wants to flat with a tight arse.
Get your mail redirected, otherwise all those notices from Pacific Finance will get thrown away – but maybe that is part of your cunning plan!
Part two – how to leave without pissing off the landlord and with your bond back.
Leave the place tidy – very easy. But it also means that when you leave you do need to clean the place to at least the same standard you would for when your Nana comes over, or your Dad’s second wife (if you like her). Landlords particularly like clean ovens, rangehoods and fridges.
Also, remember those windowsills. If you are renting from Quinovich, they will give you a totally unrealistic list of stuff – if it was not done when you moved in, you don’t have to do it when you move out.
Try to get rid of your rubbish as you generate it. It is such a drag having to cruise the streets two days before you jet home to the Hokianga to find a skip to take all your broken furniture and takeaway packets.
Fix anything that is broken and is your fault. My personal favorites are the crack in the glass door that appeared when you slammed it HARD on your ex-boyfriend, or the heated towel rail that came off the wall when you tried to dry the lounge curtains on it (assuming you washed them in the first place). If these things aren’t fixed and you didn’t tell the landlord about them, it takes him extra time and money before he can get new tenants in, during a time when tenants may be thin on the ground.
Don’t take all the f**king lightbulbs!
Tidy up the garden a bit even if it’s not in your agreement. Okay, that’s a bit of a grease, but it may get you a good reference.
Now, if you forget everything else I wrote, remember this wee gem:
STOP YOUR RENT AT LEAST 2 WEEKS BEFORE YOU WANT TO LEAVE. This is because once your landlord has your bond, it can be bloody difficult to get it back off him. If I had a dollar for every landlord who keeps at least part of your bond for little things that he shouldn’t, I wouldn’t have to write for Salient. You both have to agree and sign the form, but if you need the money and part of it will come back to you, you will probably sign anyway just to avoid having to go to the Tribunal for the rest. If you have just enough bond to cover the rent you didn’t pay, then the landlord has to be much more serious about breaches to pursue them.
Anyway, enjoy the summer and when you return, DON’T rent from Nadia Henderson or Key Property Management. Don’t flat with George Savrov, Ivan and Leila or Jazmine Leniston (or anyone else psychotic). You have been warned.