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Parting thoughts (part 1)

Though the Pubcrawl has been over for a couple of weeks now, this page will float around for posterity's sake. It's been a good learning experience for us all.

Highlights of the event include tackling the clubs of London every night after the crawl, Fun name tags and lots of beer.

Some learning for next year's crawl:
1) Advertise everywhere - facebook, portal, spam with e-mails, carrier pidgeon. There where a number of people this year who didn't know about the crawl but would have benefited from coming. On that note...
2) Get everyone out possible - new students, current students, with or without flats. The FHPC is your first real chance to get to know people. The first day of getting together is much more relaxing having met a large group of people already.
3) Better integration with IT. There's a bunch of information on Portal about flat stuff that would be good. In fact, if there were dedicated webspace for FHPC, it would be much easier.

Epp... have to run for class. More later.

FHPC Week 2

Great times this past week at the pub followed with nights of post pub partying.

A couple of housekeeping items:

A general reminder to everyone out there to please remove your flatshare entry if you've found flatmates already. Flatshare page can be found here.

With the name tags at the event, please indicate if you're still searching for flatmates. We've done this so far with triangles - Personally, I wouldn't mind people drawing their favorite animal or their favorite food. Eh. Just distinguish yourself.

Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at the Windsor Castle for the start of week 2.

FHPC Kickoff!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the Flat Hunters' Pub Crawl Kickoff last night at the Windsor Castle.

We were a reasonably large group, taking up the bottom floor and spilling out into the street. The Globe tonight should welcome even more people. If this is your first time joining us, we're not hard to miss. Look for red name tags with delightful nicknames like "Lady Killer" and "The Perv".

Some pictures of the kickoff have been uploaded here.

Not all pictures taken are up yet. This is about a third of them - Please feel free to blame the shoddy speed of my current internet connection.

Just look for the rowdiest group there...

Just to reiterate a comment from the Pub Crawl Schedule around how to find the group at the pubs we'll be frequenting.

How to find us
Windsor Castle: we have a reservation and will be on the _first_ floor.
Globe: no reservation for this. Call Stuart mobile if you're unsure who we are.
Volunteer: we have a reservation inside.
Hobgoblin: no reservation again.
Metropolitan: no reservation, will be inside.

You will spot us easily: there will be some people in the LBS T-Shirts, and you've already probably seen our faces on Facebook or Portal, so... see you there! If unsure - call Stuart or any of the volunteers (you can find their mobiles on the Portal)

Things to remember when renting a flat

If you rent a flat through an agent, you will pay the deposit and the rent (first month and following months) to the agent. The deposit will be held by the agent under the 'Tenancy Deposit Scheme' which also outlines which rules and procedures will be followed for the return of such deposit at the end of the tenancy and in the event of a dispute arising between the landlord and the tenant.

Unfortunately, agents are different, properties are different, and contracts are different, too ! (they could vary from agent to agent). 

Important points to bear in mind:

* the break clause - this allows you to terminate the rental before the end of the tenancy. Normally you can do so after 6 months + notice. This can vary and not all agents will mention this - however, as someone has said before, you should ask for it and normally it will be inserted. Occasionally you may find a landlord which objects to this - if that were the case, my advice would be to steer away from that property and find another one, as the landlord is very likely going to be troublesome on other things as well!

* notice can be 1 months or two months. Normally it is the agent which determines that and there is little negotiation about this. It should be clear whether you could give notice within the 'non break' period or not - this will bring the minimum tenancy from 6 to potentially 8 months. In the two cases I have witnessed, I would be allowed to give notice only after the non break period was over, thus bringing the minimum tenancy to 7 months in one case and to 8 months in the other.

* the contract will be done between you and the landlord - however, especially if the landlord is living abroad, it can give a power of attorney authorisation to the agent in order for them to sign on his/her behalf. It is also important to find out whether the property is 'managed' by the agent as well - in this case all queries are handled by the agent and not by the landlord. It does save a lot of hassle and makes things a lot easier for you if it is, although the landlord is charged extra for this !

* normally the tenant does not meet the landlord upon signing the contract, especially if the landlord is living abroad (even if that is the case, you are entitled to have an address and a contact number in the UK where the landlord or an authorised representative can be reached). This is why the landlord will ask for references and a credit check - the TWIMC letter from the school works wonders, and the credit check is normally performed by an external agency - and you are supposed to bear the cost (around £50). It would help greatly if you could open your bank account prior to letting your property; otherwise there are ways to get around this. Note that my agent will charge me £ 25 if I pay the rent by any other mean than a bank transfer - (check, credit or debit card) - they won't take cash.

* other issues I have dealt with regard subletting the property, hanging posters on walls and making a duplicate copy of the keys. Subletting the property could be possible depending on the contract - in the first one it wasn't possible, and in the second (present) one I should ask for the landlord or agent consent before doing so. Note that the only person resposible for damages done by sublettors to the property is you ! Regarding hanging posters on walls, you should ask for the landlord's authorisation before doing so; the same applies for making a copy of the keys (at least as how my current proposed contract is set up).

* finally, it is important to note that any requests you may have should be made when submitting an offer - if you think the flat (or a room) needs a new coat of paint or if you want repairs to be carried out, you should state so immediately. It's also important to let the landlord know if you need additional furniture (I asked the landlord to provide a sofa as it was missing) or if you want him/her to remove some of the current furniture because you will be using your own. Rental period is normally 1 year and in most cases you can negotiate the starting date as well. Remember to negotiate the rent - the agent will have a clear idea of what is acceptable by the landlord and what isn't. Some agents will ask you to submit a 'holding deposit' equal to one or two weeks of rent either before submitting an offer or once an offer has been accepted. They should stop marketing the property after receiving this although wait until you have signed the contract to say that the propery is now yours - as the landlord could walk away at the last minute ... : (

Good luck ! ; )
If you direct your attention to a few posts earlier or to the handy link list to the left, you'll notice that the final schedule for the Third Annual Flat Hunters' Pub Crawl has been posted. Please join us for the official kickoff at the Windsor Castle on 13 August!

Another flat hunting option for all the flat hunters out there is current students. There are a number of current students out there looking for sub-letters or new flatmates. All current students looking to fill some extra rooms are encouraged to join up with the FHPC or post on Portal.


Important Forms for Letting Agents

The following are the most important forms you will need when flat-hunting either during or after the FHPC and we would recommend you have these to hand whenever visiting Letting Agents to make the process run a bit smoother.....

1. A referral letter from your current landlord/mortgage company/bank saying that you are good with your money or paying rent etc. on time

2. 3 Months bank statements (you'll need this for the HSBC account and loan paperwork as well)

3. 2 x Letter from the school

a) the 'Reservation Fee' letter - you should have received this from the program office already
b) Accommodation Reference Letter - this is available from the MBA reception team (but please allow at least 48h between the request and picking the letter up):


Hope this helps - any queries on this give us a shout!!

Fees and Tips

Interesting threads in Portal over the past little bit about the fees to be expected when looking for a flat.

References Verification Fees are standard.

But Security Deposits before viewing are decidedly not.

There may be occasion with less reputable agents where one does not entirely trust the legitimacy of the flat that one sees. To help with this, for £3 the Land Register (http://www.landreg.gov.uk) provides details about ownership of property in the UK.

All you prospective flat hunters out there, please feel free to add more tips that may be helpful.


Pubcrawl Schedule (Confirmed)

Pub Crawl Schedule (Final Version)

The 'Kick Off' event will be at the 'Windsor' on Monday Aug 13th at 7pm - come and meet your new home for the next two years!!!

                                *Monday - Friday at 7 p.m. *

Mondays: (Aug 13th, 20th) - Windsor Castle
Tuesdays: (Aug 14th, 21st) - Globe
Wednesdays: (Aug 15th, 22nd) - Volunteer
Thursdays: (Aug 16th, 23rd) - Hobgoblin
Fridays: (Aug 17th, 24th) - Metropolitan


Windsor Castle (Mondays)
98 Park Road
London, NW1 4SH
Tel: 020 7723 9262
(Closest pub to LBS. Located on Park Road near the intersection with Gloucester)

The Windsor

Globe (Tuesdays)
43-47 Marylebone Road
Marylebone, London, NW1 5JY
Tel: 020 7935 6368
(Across the street from the Baker Street Tube on the corner of Marylebone Road and Baker Street)

Volunteer (Wednesdays)
245-247 Baker Street
London, NW1 6XE
Tel: 020 7486 4091
(At the North end of Baker St. near the Sherlock Holmes Museum)

Hobgoblin (Thursdays)
21 Balcombe Street
London, NW1 6HE
Tel: 020 7723 0352
(It is basically halfway up Balcombe Street, a couple of streets behind Park Road)

Metropolitan (Fridays)
a.k.a. 'Wetherspoons'
Station Approach
Marylebone Road

London, NW1 5LA
Tel: 020 7486 3489
(Right next to Baker St. Tube stop)

Brief map:

Flathunters' Pub Crawl 2007

What is it?
It's really a two weeks pre-class party that happens from Monday to Friday before the official start of classes. Party meaning that you get to meet all your future friends, classmates, partners, or work partners in a fun and informal setting.

It's really to network and party. But it does have a function too - most MBA2007s and 2008s (and arguably MIFFTs, EMBAs, etc) were able to find their flat mates or room mates through this event. Its also a great way to put together a group and negotiate with estate agents collectively.
We will try to have some leasing agents join one day per week to provide some advice (and their business). This is not definite, but if this works out, we will let you know.
So it's not all partying really... Best of all, by the time you get started with school, you would've already met several of your classmates.
We will definitely ask our fellow MBA 2008 class join as well if they also want to get flat mates or sublet their flats.

Do I need to register or something?
No. Just come!
If you will be looking for flat mates you will help yourself and us if you fill you flat share profile (Portal -> London info -> Flatshare) as completely as possible. We will then print this list, give everyone a badge and you will be able to find the people with similar requirements on the list, search for them in person.
If you’re not interested in flatsharing you might not fill in your profile!

Any good practices what I should write in the Profile?
Ah, good question, yes.

General things
  • Weekly rent budget you are prepared to pay including bills (range from desirable to maximum)
  • Number of flat mates you want to share with
  • Are you coming with a partner (yes/no)
  • Distance from school you want/can to live in: walking distance (5-15 minutes)/ bike distance (20-30 minutes)/tube or bus ride
More specific things (if applicable):
  • you want a parking lot near the flat
  • you are allergic to pets or certain types of scents
  • you are a vegetarian
  • you are an early riser or on the contrary - like to organize loud parties at your place after 11 p.m.
  • you would prefer culture diversity or would like to live with some specific nationality
  • etc
Don’t forget to add a selling point! Like:
  • you cook for friends when time allows (any specific cuisine?)
  • you are a good negotiator (great to have one to talk with the landlord)
  • you are finance, accounting or IT guru
  • you’ve lived in London and know some great places around the city
  • you know how to do everything around the house
  • you’re a doctor
Plus any other preferences, but, please, be short (Excel file that we’ll print out do not allow much space!)

What if I come to London on the 20th?

You do not have to show up to all of evenings. Come when you can! On the 21st, 22nd, etc.

Any other questions? Ask! :)