YOUTH MATTERS Abigail Alder...Mention the word ‘student’ and there’s no home for you...

Room in student house required. It’s just five simple words, yet it couldn’t be more complicated.

When looking for a room and finding yourself in phone call after phone call, you then realise everything has been filled.

In Chichester there is never enough accommodation available, especially for students. Meaning two weeks prior to my term beginning I was in the same boat as many others, homeless with nowhere to stay.

Eventually I did find somewhere, but it was the worst place I have ever lived and I would not wish it upon anyone.

A broken fridge and a never-ending list of rules, which included ‘make sure you open the window when you have a shower’, ‘take off your shoes when you come in the house’, and my personal favourite ‘you’ve used the washing machine too much’. This was on top of the fact no visitors were allowed and the aerial was broken.

There was a front door available, but I was forced to go through the back and on one dark September night it ended with me covered in oil from the lock on the gate. What a load of rubbish.

And to top it off... once when I went home for the weekend, my landlady entered my locked room because she felt it imperative to open the window.

I only found out later because she decided to tell me about it. May as well have left the door wide open for her. So much for personal privacy!

I suppose when a contract is handwritten, you should really know better, however as a naive and desperate student I did not see the alarm bells ringing. Not even the estate agents around Chichester have anything.

You would think after the tenth visit you would have some sort of luck, but as soon as the word ‘student’ is involved, no-one wants to know.