Coming to the UK: House-hunting
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich needs to rent a place to live in the UK. The language focus is on the words and phrases you need when looking around a flat that you want to rent. We also focus on vocabulary connected to describing rooms and household items. Your task is to describe the type of falt or house you would like to rent in the UK. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess, too. Enjoy!
Welcome - Coming to the UK - House-hunting
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to be talking about the language you need when you want to rent a house.
Jack: That’s right. If you move to the UK or another country where English is spoken to work or study you are going to need a place to live.
Rich: And that often means looking at different houses or flats and deciding the one that is right for you. This usually means speaking to a landlord (the person who owns the flat) or an estate agent (someone whose job it is to rent and sell houses and flats).
Jack: So, we’re going to look at some of the language you might need when looking around a house or flat.
Rich: First we will have a roleplay for you. Jack will be the landlord and I will be the possible tenant or renter.
Jack: And, after this conversation, we will look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.
Rich: We will also have a task for you to do which is when we ask you to use your English. This week we’re going to ask you about the type of place you would like to rent if you were moving to the UK to study or work.
Jack: And, don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have another football phrase for you to guess.
Football Phrase 1
Jack: But, before we look at all that, let’s look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week we’ll give you one more chance to guess and give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rich: The phrase was _______. In football, this word is used to describe a team that is unlikely to win because the team they are playing are stronger, better or are in much better form. We often use the term _______ when we are describing a team that are in a low position playing a team who are in a high position.
Jack: Well done if you got the right answer last week - although if you were listening carefully like I know a few of you were you might have heard me slip the phrase out by accident. Anyway, well done to those of you got it right including, Milos from Serbia, Naturibe, Tavoalejo and Daniel Agger from Colombia, Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Liubomyr and Alex from Ukraine, Lakerwang from China, and Elghoul from Algeria - all of you wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: Do you think Daniel Agger from Colombia is the Daniel Agger who used to play for Liverpool?
Jack: I don’t think so Rich. People choose different usernames on websites! We’ll tell you the answer to this football phrase and we’ll have a new football phrase at the end of the show.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: As we said at the beginning of the show, in this week’s podcast, we are going to talk about renting a flat or house. We are going to do a roleplay; Rich wants to rent somewhere and I’m the landlord - I own the flat.
Rich: Afterwards, we are going to look at some of the language we use but the first thing we want you to do is to answer two questions while you listen.
Jack: The questions are: one - What are the positive and negative things about the flat? And two - Does Rich decide to rent the flat?
Rich: Are you ready?
Jack: I’m ready.
Rich: Hi, I’m Rich I called on the phone earlier. I’m here about the flat. Are you Jack?
Jack: Ah, of course, yes. Yes, I’m Jack - the landlord of this wonderful place. You’re looking for a room to rent?
Rich: That’s right.
Jack: Let me take you around the place. Are you a student?
Rich: Yep, I’m studying Mechanical Engineering. I’ve just
Jack: First time in the UK?
Rich: To live, yes. I visited a few years ago but only saw London.
Jack: I see. Well, you’ll get to see the real UK round here. No Big Ben I’m afraid.
Rich: What’s the area like?
Jack: It’s a pretty down to earth place. Lots of students live around here. It’s close to the university. I think you’ll only have a 10-minute walk to lectures.
Rich: That’s good.
Jack: Shall we have a look around then?
Rich: That’d be great.
Jack: There’ll be four of you in all. Two of the other tenants have been here for a year already. They’re students, too.
Rich: Cool. Where are they from?
Jack: Ahmed Adam he’s from Sudan a really nice bloke and Milos from er … Serbia, I think – he’s studying Sports Science or something like that.
Rich: And the other flatmate?
Jack: Rafael from Brazil – he’s just moved in last week – first time in the UK. Talks loads – he’ll probably want to practise his English with you.
Rich: I can deal with that. This is the living room then?
Jack: Yep, big TV. Sixty inches that. You’ve got super-fast internet, too.
Rich: Cool TV and the internet will be really useful. Do I have to pay for that?
Jack: No, it’s included in the rent. You just have to pay for the electricity and water.
Rich: I read something about Council Tax. Do I have to pay that?
Jack: No, full-time students don’t have to pay. Don’t worry. This is your room here. Double-bed, fitted wardrobes, desk to work at over here.
Rich: There isn’t much light.
Jack: Hold on a second … sometimes these windows get a bit stuck. There you go. A bit cloudy today.
Rich: And a bit noisy.
Jack: Yeah, it’s the main road. Best to keep it shut most of the time.
Rich: The bathroom?
Jack: No en-suite. It’s not the Hilton. The bathroom is down the hall. Here it is. Bath, shower, toilet. Let’s go downstairs and I’ll show you the kitchen.
Rich: Oh it’s quite big. Oven, fridge freezer, microwave …
Jack: I’m getting a dishwasher fitted in a month or so …
Rich: Yeah, the washing-up hasn’t been done for a while ...
Jack: Four lads living together! You need to take it in turns.
Rich: So, how much is the rent?
Jack: The room is £300 per month and you have to pay a deposit of a month’s rent in advance to cover any breakages.
Rich: And when can I move in?
Jack: You can sign the contract now if you like – it’s for 12 months. Once you sign the contract and pay the deposit and first month’s rent, I can give you the keys and you can move your stuff in. What do you think?
Rich: Well, err .. let me think. I’ve got a couple of other places to look at but …
Jack: Before we take a look at the language we used in the roleplay, let’s give you the answers to those two questions we asked you.
Rich: The first question was: What were the positive and negative things about the flat?
Jack: Well, you seemed to like the big telly and fast internet.
Rich: Yes, I did and I also liked the fact that the place is close to the university and the big kitchen and my flatmates sounded nice!
Jack: But, you didn’t like that it was messy and you have to share a bathroom.
Rich: No, and there wasn’t much light in my room and it was a bit noisy.
Jack: So, will you move in - that was the second question. In the roleplay, you were not sure.
Rich: Mmm .. I’m not sure. There were good things and bad things about the flat. Maybe we should ask our listeners. Tell me if you think it sounds like a good deal in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
Right. Let’s look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.
Jack: The main language focus is on the words and phrases that are important when looking around a flat you want to rent. We’ll look at these first.
Rich: Then we’ll look at some of the words you need to describe a flat and some of the things you need in a flat when you rent one.
Jack: So, when you knock on the door of the flat the first thing you do is say why you are there.
Rich: In the roleplay, I said, ‘I’m here about the flat’. This is a useful phrase that you might hear or use a lot, I’m here about something’.
Jack: Yes, especially if you’ve called about a problem. Other examples you might hear could include ‘I’m here about the window’ I’m here about the fridge’ or I’m here about your internet connection’ if you have problems with these things.
Rich: You might use this phrase on the telephone, too. Then you would say ‘I’m calling about the flat’.
Jack: The next word we often use when house hunting is ‘place’. In the roleplay, I said ‘let me take you around the place’. Here ‘place’ means the flat or house.
Rich: We often use this when we invite people to our house. We say things like ‘Why don’t you come round to my place for dinner?’.
Jack: We can also use ‘place’ to mean ‘area’. When I said ‘it’s a pretty down to earth place’ I was describing the area of the city where the house is not the house itself.
Rich: Down to earth. That’s a good phrase.
Jack: When we describe someone as down to earth we mean they are genuine and not interested in superficial things. When we describe an area as down to earth we are usually saying an area is quite poor but people are friendly and honest.
Rich: Another important phrase is ‘to have a look around’ or ‘to have a look round’. In the roleplay, Jack said, ‘Shall we have a look round then?’.
Jack:’ Look round’ is a phrasal verb which means to visit a place and look at the things in it so we often use it when looking for a flat.
Rich: We could say, ‘I looked around six flats today but I didn’t like any of them’.
Jack: We can also use this phrase when we visit new cities or museums. You could say, ‘I didn’t have much time in Cambridge but I had a good look round the university area’ or ‘I had a good look round the Natural History Museum but I’ll have to go back because there are loads more things to see.’
Rich: Let’s get back to looking around the flat. In the roleplay, we spoke about flatmates and tenants. Flatmates are the people you share a flat or house with and it’s quite an informal word.
Jack: Tenant is more formal. When you pay rent to someone for a flat or a room in a flat - you are the tenant. Tenants pay rent to the landlord. In the roleplay, I was the landlord and Rich the possible tenant.
Rich: And the money you pay is the rent. Rent is a verb and a noun. You usually pay the rent every month.
Jack: You usually have to sign a contract or tenancy agreement. This is the paper you sign to say how much you will pay and for how long.
Rich: You usually also have to pay a deposit. A deposit is an amount of money you need to pay at the beginning to cover anything you might break. This is returned to you if there are no damages at the end of the contract.
Jack: And you’ll usually have to pay a month’s rent in advance or upfront - before you move in.
Rich: Move in. That’s our final useful phrase. It’s a phrasal verb that means to start living in your new home.
Jack: In the roleplay, I said, ‘Once you sign the contract, I can give you the keys and you can move your stuff in’.
Jack: Your things!
Rich: Yes, of course. Right, we’ve got lots more vocabulary connected to finding a flat on the Premier Skills English website. Find this lesson on the homepage or in the skills section and you will find lots of activities, the transcript and a quiz to test your understanding.
Jack: And that’s where you can write your answers to this week’s task, too!
Jack: This week’s task is to tell us about the type of flat or house you’d like to rent if you went to work or study in the UK.
Rich: We want you to describe the property and the location in as much detail as you can. Here are a few ideas to help you with your answers.
Jack: One: What type of property would it be? A house or a flat?
Rich: Two: What about location? Where would it be? In the city or in the countryside? In London, Scotland or another city in the UK?
Jack: Three: Would you want your own place or would you prefer to share? What kind of flatmates would you like? People who you could socialise with or people who would help with the housework and leave you alone?
Rich: Four: Amenities: Would you live in a place that you need a car? Would you be OK using public transport? What do you need to have near your property? Shops? A park? A university? A football club?
Jack: Five: Inside the place: Do you need fast internet and a big TV? Is the amount of space and light important? Do you want a garden? A big kitchen? Modern or traditional furniture?
Rich: OK, so that’s your task this week. Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website or in the review section on Apple Podcasts.
This week’s football phrase:
Jack: The final section this week is our football phrase.
Rich: The football phrase is to ***** ***. I think the phrase was originally used in boxing when a boxer hits his opponent who can’t get up. In football, it means to beat another team in a cup competition which results in the other team’s elimination. Manchester United ******* *** PSG in this season’s Champions League.
Jack: Let’s see who can get it right! If you know the answer, write it in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We will announce your name in next week’s podcast if you get it right.
Rich: We also need to give you the answer to the football phrase we set at the beginning of the show. The answer as many of you know already was underdog.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week. Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
I’m Jack - the landlord of this wonderful place. You’re looking for a room to rent?
It’s a pretty down to earth place. Lots of students live around here. It’s close to the university. I think you’ll only have a 10-minute walk to lectures.
The washing-up hasn’t been done for a while ...
Four lads living together! You need to take it in turns.
There were a few more tricky words and phrases in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words. This can really help your understanding.
Looking around a flat
In this week's podcast, Rich was looking for a flat to rent in the UK. Jack was a landlord (the person who owns the flat) and they used lots of words and phrases that you could use in a similar situation. Here are some of the phrases that were used in the roleplay:
Hi, I’m Rich I called on the phone earlier. I’m here about the flat.
This is a useful phrase and is one you can use for many things or a phrase you might hear when someone knocks on your door. What do you think someone would want if they knocked on your door and said:
Hello. I'm here about the window.
Another useful word to understand is 'place'. In the podcast, Jack and Rich said the following sentences which include 'place'. What is 'place' in each sentence?
Let me take you around the place.
It’s a pretty down to earth place. Lots of students live around here.
Why don’t you come round to my place for dinner?
A final phrase to look at in this section is to 'look round' or 'look around'. This is a phrasal verb which means to visit and see the things in it. Here are a few examples that were used in the podcast:
Shall we have a look round then?
I looked around six flats today but I didn’t like any of them.
I didn’t have much time in Cambridge but I had a good look round the university area.
Renting a flat
Two of the most important aspects of renting a flat are money and contracts. The word 'rent' can be used as a verb or a noun.
You’re looking for a room to rent?
So, how much is the rent?
When you rent a place, the contract or agreement is usually between you (the tenant) and the landlord. More formally, this is usually called a tenancy agreement. This agreement will not only include the amount you have to pay but things such as a deposit and how much money you have to pay upfront or in advance:
A deposit is an amount of money you need to pay at the beginning to cover anything you might break. This is returned to you if there are no damages at the end of the contract.
And you’ll usually have to pay a month’s rent in advance or upfront - before you move in.
Describing a room
In the roleplay, different words were used to describe rooms in the flat. The bedroom was described as noisy while the kitchen was described as big but messy. In this activity, take a look at some common adjectives that estate agents use when advertising properties (flats and houses).
In the roleplay, Jack and Rich also mentioned different appliances that are found in an average flat such as a TV, microwave and oven. In this activity, match the definition to the correct household appliance.
Where would you rent in the UK?
This week’s task is to tell us about the type of flat or house you’d like to rent if you went to work or study in the UK.
Here are some ideas to help you with this task:
Type: What type of property would it be? A house or a flat?
Location: Where would it be? In the city or in the countryside? In London, Scotland or another city in the UK?
Flatmates: Would you want your own place or would you prefer to share? What kind of flatmates would you like? People you could socialise with or people who would help with the housework and leave you alone?
Amenities: Would you live in a place that you need a car? Would you be OK using public transport? What do you need to have near your property? Shops? A park? A university? A football club?
Inside: Do you need fast internet and a big TV? Is the amount of space and light important? Do you want a garden? A big kitchen? Modern or traditional furniture?
Write your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at our football phrase.