Special Post #14: Accommodation, Part 7 – Another way

Another post in the very on-going accommodation series about the foibles of getting a house

By now you should know that getting a house is a lot of work. Since signing the tenancy agreement a couple months ago things have been crawling along nicely. On the 5th July we will officially be able to live in the property. This is good because it happens to coincide with GuilFest, the Guildford music festival that I’m working with stage crew for. This is bad because it means paying rent. This is bad because it means having a bank account organised to pay rent from. This is bad because of NatWest. I feel a story coming on….

Our landlord wants us to pay our rent together. In order to do this we needed to find a way we could all pay into one bank account and then use that account to pay the rent. Simple, right? Well, in order to make it as fair and “jointly liable” as possible we opted to go for a 5-way joint account where all of us were account holders. This would avoid a situation where the person who the account is registered to is constantly chasing everyone else to pay up because it’s their neck on the line.

To make things as simple to manage as possible I decided to open the account with the NatWest on campus, so if there were any issues down the road, it was only a short walk away to fix them. So we all got together in the last week of term and went off to the bank with our forms. One of the things we all put on our forms was that we’d like to setup online banking to make it easier to manage the account. We managed to open a joint account with 2 account holders, but everyone else couldn’t be put on because they didn’t have valid proof of address (we’re supposed to have a recent bill addressed to our home addresses, but because we’ve been living at uni, it was hard to get them). Either way, we had the start of an account that we could use for now.

A week or so later I got a load of letters from NatWest with all the account information, including how to register for online banking. So I followed the instructions and registered. However, the website showed that their we’re no accounts. It wasn’t working. It turns out that you can’t have online banking for joint accounts. So why do they give you the option on the form! So there must be another way to check the balance of your account, right? Well, yes, there’s telephone baking. Ah, but your account doesn’t exist. Excuse me? Yes, there is no such account number. So that’s good news.

I’m left in the position where I may or may not have a bank account which may or may not have a standing order to the landlord and may or may not accept payments into it. All with only a week before the first rent payment is due. Good times. Thanks for nothing NatWest, all I can hope is that there is “another way”…