Wizardry, Witchcraft, and Kingston: Housemates and House Hunting

Greetings Househunteronians,

For the latest installment of the Municipal Affairs Commission blog I take you on a fantastic and mystical journey filled with strange smelling creatures, a loyal group of courageous friends, and of course a lightning bolt scar.

You guessed it; I’m talking about housemate selection and picking a house in the University District. (It’s rare that I get to use a spaceballs reference, especially during a Harry Potter reference, so enjoy this.)

Let’s start with the strange smelling creatures and the loyal group of friends. When picking housemates there are some basics that you should be considering:

1.      Group size (not everyone wants to live in a large group)

2.      Cleanliness (pay attention to potential housemate’s Res rooms and dining hall habits)

3.      Budgets (the range of rents in Kingston is wide)

4.      Lifestyle (i.e. level of noise, safety, study habits, expectations around guests etc.,)

5.      Style of conflict resolution (there will be conflict! Dishes and bathrooms are the source of many arguments)

Now you might be thinking to yourself, “Meh. I can handle this. I’ll just learn to live with this person.”

Bad call. It’s really important that you get along with your housemate(s) or one of two options could occur. They could make your life a living hell or they could leave you in the uncomfortable situation where they try to leave the lease.

If one of your housemates leaves before your lease expires, you and your housemates are still responsible to pay the entire rent to the landlord. Fact.

The small things can quickly become big things with housemates. It’s incredibly important that you’re honest with each other – if they’re not doing a good job with the dishes, or like to hang their clothing all over the house, you need to nip the issue in the bud. Tell them you don’t like it, fix the problem and move on.

One last thing about housemate selection: if you don’t want to live with your current housemates, emphasize that while they may be good friends, you don’t think they’re good housemates. If they are your friends, they’ll understand and everyone can move on.

Now what about that lightning bolt scar? It’s on the roof the house you’re looking at!

Here are some good resources to find a place in Kingston:

1.      Google – Every assignment’s best friend.

2.      Queen’s Community Housing listing service

3.      Ask friends, siblings, teammates, or club members who may be moving out of a good house

4.      Check the AMS Marketplace boards in the JDUC

5.      Check the housing listings on Facebook

6.      Watch for flyers around campus and on the poster collars on University Ave

7.      Check local newspapers, especially the Kingston Whig-Standard

Once you’ve picked a few houses that you want to look at, contact the landlord and ask for a viewing. However, before you go to see the house be sure to consult the MAC Interactive Housing Map! The map gives you valuable background information on the house which can help you make an informed decision! It also has some resource videos so you get an idea of what living in Kingston is like!

There are some questions you should be thinking about when looking for a house. Why did the previous tenants move out? What did they think of the landlord? How is the water pressure? How soundproof are the rooms? Is there a dishwasher/ washer and dryer? Etc. Think about what you want in your house and make sure you get it!

Finally, do NOT freak out. There are tons of properties in the University District which will be perfect for you. I got my house in February; I know others who got their in August! Do not rush to get a house – you’re only going to hurt yourself by rushing to sign.

I hope this helps! Best of luck house hunting!

Municipally Yours,

Dave Sinkinson
Municipal Affairs Commissioner (2011-12)

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