New Site Dishes DIRT on Student Digs

New review site means freshers can get the inside story on next year’s dream home

Let’s face it, for many of Southampton’s finest the search for a house is mostly about how far we feel we can stagger back from Jesters of an evening.  For anyone who wants to make a slightly more informed decision about something as important as, well, where you’ll be sleeping, eating and bringing your conquests back to for the following twelve months, there isn’t much information out there.

Most second-years I know, myself included, somehow fell into houses by a strange combination of luck, peer pressure and panic of the headless chicken variety.  And of course, anyone who’s tried to use SASSH, the university’s own housing bulletin board, will know it’s about as dodgy as searching for a call-in masseuse on Craigslist.

Enter the new website  Set up and run over the summer by one of Southampton’s own final-year students, it allows current tenants to write under-the-hood reviews of their present accommodation, landlords, value for money—and with the onset of this year’s housing rush, it’s the essential go-to tool for all freshers.  I caught up with the bloke behind the site for a pint at the Stag’s Head.

Nice idea—wish I’d had it to check out during freshers.  What’s the ethos behind

It’s all about being uncensored.  We don’t moderate the reviews at all—we just publish what tenants have sent us.  SASSH is more a place where landlords advertise, and that’s not what we’re about at all.  The site is searchable by road, price range and landlord, and we’ve got a massive overhaul coming online today, with advice for Erasmus students, for freshers…

So how did this idea come to you?  Some sort of hilarious housing horror story?

Nah, not really.  There were supposed to be “works” going on at my house before term started, but we all know that doesn’t mean much in reality!  Inspiration just struck one day in the summer, and I literally just sat down at my laptop and started typing.  Now the site is growing fast and I have several friends helping out.

How fast is fast?

The site went live near the start of term, and the review database is already 3 times the size of SASSH.  Then again they only have like 13 or 14 properties anyway!  Students don’t look at SASSH, most of them seem to have never heard of it.  But after six weeks we at have already got 300 page hits and 99 likes on Facebook.

Hoping to hit the magic 100?

Yeah, we’re expecting interest to shoot up now it’s the first wave of housing in November.  We’ve got a whole new redesign and a load of new features coming in.  Look out for us on campus handing out flyers in the next few weeks.

Sure you’ve not got any horror stories to scare freshers with?

We’ve been all right but not so much our friends.  Fire alarms going off randomly at 4am … mould all over the walls … one guy had to ring 7 times to get his shower fixed – there are some places to avoid out there.

Even this is nothing compared to some of the abominations that pop up when you click the “worst reviews” button on the site home page—definitely good for a visit even if you’re not looking for a house.  Dodgy landlords beware!

Still confused? Find more from our Housing Special here.