With 4 weeks off over the Christmas period, many students choose to go home over the festive period rather than stay in University accommodation. It’s a good idea to prepare to secure your student accommodation. If you are planning on leaving your accommodation empty for longer than a day or 2, it’s worthwhile considering what could happen during this empty period when you’re not around. Statistically, most burglaries occur over winter and the Christmas period. Shorter days and darker nights provide the perfect cover for criminals to break in and take things. Rougher winter weather also provides opportunities for more to go wrong for example storm damage, burst pipes etc.
Taking a few proactive steps will help stop any unwanted issues from being discovered when you return
When planning to leave and secure your student accommodation
Book travel early as possible
Christmas time is notoriously bad for being extra busy as all over the country people are travelling to visit friends and relatives over the Christmas period. Travel tickets are also cheaper the earlier you book. So making plans earlier about going home is important and less stressful.
Do a Deep Clean
Nothing is worse than coming back to a mess, the longer you leave it the more cleaning you have to do after a long period of time. Wash your bedding if possible, there is nothing better than after a long journey the comfort of getting into a clean bed. Rubbish attracts pests such as maggots, flies and rats. Don’t forget to empty your bins and put them out for collection. If you can get someone to put them back when collected this will make it less obvious that the house is empty.
Don’t forget the dishes, leaving dirty dishes creates bad smells that will linger. The longer they are left the worse dried-on food will be to get off.
Empty the fridge of any perishables that will not last for the duration of your absence. Food can still produce growth and smells which can affect the longer-dated items still in the fridge
Keep expensive valuables out of sight
If you really can’t afford to lose it, take it with you. If you can’t take it, keep it out of sight so it’s not easy to find. Goods like TV’s and consoles aren’t worth stealing, but smaller expensive items like jewellery are. Personal details and documents are even more valuable because they can be used for fraud.
Do you have a ground-floor window? Keep items out of view so burglars won’t be able to see them through the window and be tempted to attempt to break in. Keeping curtains closed where possible also helps.
Get someone to keep a watch on your property.
If you’ve got a neighbour or friend staying in Sheffield at Christmas, ask them to keep an eye on your property. Even just once a week they can check if any issues have arisen or if someone has tried to force entry. Having someone milling around is also enough to deter potential criminals.
If one of your housemates is stopping then ask them to check your room is secure.
Make it look like someone is home
You can make it look like someone is home by leaving a light on in a hall or other room near a doorway. Closing the curtains will make it seem like someone is in at night.
Get as much work done as possible
Breaks between semesters should be just that, breaks. Having a pile of work ready to do when you get back will preoccupy your mind. Preparation in advance for the time you have away is one of the best ways to help you enjoy the holidays.
Buy presents online
Buying presents while at university may leave you well prepared for giving some awesome gifts this year, but think about having to travel with them. It might be better for larger items to buy them online and have them delivered to your home.
Things to do when you leave to secure your student accommodation
Don’t need it? Turn things off.
Anything you don’t need to keep on turn it off not only to save energy but to prevent potential faults like electrical fires. Some things are designed to be left on like fridges, freezers and boilers. Other electrics like TVs etc don’t need to be kept on. Turn them off at the plug this is a serious concern especially when it comes to fires caused by electrical faults.
If you can turn the water supply to sinks, baths/showers and washing machines off individually. In the event of a leak, it can help minimise the potential damage. If you can’t turn the water supply off for individual items, make sure the taps are fully closed. You need to leave the supply on for the boiler though.
In shared accommodation, Ask everyone going to do the same.
Avoid burst pipes
The cold weather in winter can cause pipes to burst. It’s ideal to set the timer on your boiler to come on for a few hours every day, aim for the morning when it is the coldest and put it on low. It doesn’t need to be set as high as room temperature as it’s not for comfort just to protect the pipes from damage. Double-check the settings though so you don’t end up coming back to a big utility bill.
Take with you valuables with you
If it’s irreplaceable or it’s sentimental consider packing it to take with you. But try to keep in mind that there might not be room for you to take everything you would like to with you.
Double check everything is secure.
When you leave double check that all windows, doors, external gates and alarms are shut, locked or set. Once you start on your Journey it may not be easy to just pop back and check.
Keep it quiet
Only tell people you trust that you are going away. Advertising it on social media is a bad idea, criminals often scour social media for signs that occupants are away for extended periods. Posting about going home for the holidays makes it public that the home may be empty and easier to be burgled.
Most importantly try to relax over the holidays
The first semester of university is full-on and stressful for students of any year. The holiday period gives you the chance to rest and reconnect with your family and friends before getting back to the grind in January.
Not looking forward to going home check out this advice from studentspace.org
About Thornsett Properties
Thornsett Properties have been providing modern student accommodation in Sheffield since 1985. We supply accommodation to over 650 undergraduates and postgraduate students studying at Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University every year. Designed to fit with your budget whilst looking for student accommodation. Thornsett Properties are property owners and not agents. All our properties are managed by ourselves and not reliant on third parties. We aim to help you succeed when you secure your student accommodation in Sheffield