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Leaving your student house over Christmas

Leaving your student house over Christmas
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No doubt, you’ll be buzzing to go home for the Christmas holidays. You will have just finished a monstrosity of a work load and will be getting ready for the season of mince pies, mulled wine, presents, prosecco and beloved home-cooked foods.

Before you jet off across the country, it is worth thinking seriously about leaving your student house over the Christmas period.

Burglars are aware that student areas become ghost towns over Christmas and will use this for their gain. This list may seem extensive, but these small tips take a matter of minutes and could save you and your housemates a whole lot of stress!

1) Turn the water off

As in a typical student house, you’ll probably have to do a bit of search to find your main water supply line. They can normally be found in the basement, but it’s worth checking this with your landlord. Turning off the water supply isn’t vital, but it could prevent any leaks which will cost money and potentially cause damage to the property.

2) Do a deep clean

The word every student loathes nearly much as revision: cleaning. No buts, unless you want a rat infestation and an outbreak of mold, pick up that mop and bucket and start scrubbing. Gather your house together before you leave for a proper clean up of every room in the house. You probably should have been doing one for a while anyway, and blasting loud music can make the ordeal less painful.

3) Clean out the fridge

Remember, a “deep clean” also includes items like the fridge. No one likes coming back to four-week old milk and lethal smelling cheese. Importantly, you’re going to have to encourage your housemates to do the same.

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4) Make sure all the windows are locked

Take a proper look around the house and ensure that all windows are fully secure. The majority of student burglaries happen because of open windows, so don’t let this be your mistake. Hopefully I shouldn’t have to mention that the front and back doors also need locking…

 5) Figure out what to do with your heating

It’s generally accepted that your heating systems shouldn’t be completely turned off during the Christmas holidays. Doing so could lead to frozen pipes which may eventually burst. Ask your landlord for their suggestions, but putting your heating on a timer for about two hours a day should do the job.

6) Lighting

I’d suggest turning all the lights off because I’m a stingy student and also care for the planet. However, it might be worth investing in a light timer which creates the illusion that you’re in the house. A light timer might set you back a couple of quid, but it’ll be a lot cheaper than a burgled household.

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7) Make sure the bins have been taken out

Maggots, rats, insects, need I say more?

8) Don’t turn off the electricity supply

You may have in mind that absolutely everything needs to be turned off, but the electricity supply isn’t included. Doing so is likely to turn off your central heating boiler and stop fire and burglary alarms.

9) Unplug everything

It’s important to do so for the environment and for your safety because electrical items can fuse easily. BUT, do not unplug your fridge and freezer.

10) Inform your landlord

 Drop your landlord a quick email to say when the last person is leaving and the first person is returning. Likewise, let them know if someone is staying over the Christmas period.

 11) Brief the last person leaving your house

You may have a housemate who is knocking around for an extra week whilst everyone else has left. Make sure you give them a talking-to so they know what to look for and do before they head home. To save time, maybe just send them this list!

Nina Harris Freelance writer studying History and Politics at the University of Leeds

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