So now you’ve picked your housemates and you’ve found the perfect student house, what next?
As a student you will need a financial guarantor in order to sign your tenancy agreement for your property. Your guarantor must be a third party or adult relative responsible for guaranteeing your rent payments. However, your guarantor should you not make these – you should, your guarantor is simply there for a worst case scenario when you are completely unable to fund a payment – not because you blew too much of your loan in freshers! Keep your guarantor in the know of the payments you are scheduled throughout term time, so if the worst happens they are aware what costs they would have to cover. If you are an international student there are also services available to secure a UK guarantor, so don’t fret!
The deposit is a required condition of letting accommodation. It acts as a security payment bond towards unpaid rent or significant damage and it usually equates to 4-6 weeks of rent. We were once students so we can appreciate the fact this is a HUGE sum of money to depart with so early in the term. But, if your property is kept ‘ship-shape’ then you can expect this back at the end of your tenancy, just in time for summer, and it’s often quite nice to be reunited with such a large lump of cash when your loan is looking slightly worse for wear from after exams partying! Check out our post on advice to get your deposit back here!
Deposit Protection Scheme
A protection scheme MUST be used to safeguard your money, especially if your tenancy is an assured short-hold. This will ensure your full deposit is returned as long as you meet the terms of tenancy, so do not cause any damages, and pay your rent and bills. Your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days. We’ve got a whole section on the ins and outs of the deposit protection scheme here.
Most landlords and letting agents use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement – this is usually a fixed term of 12 months with a start date and an end date, and you are often only required to pay half rent during July and August if you are not living in the property. Your contract will detail everything you need to know, and agreements between both you and the landlord before you move in, so check this carefully. Your contract is a legally binding document which is why you need to make sure you are happy with your property before signing. We’ve written down everything that you need to check for in your housing contract here, so reference this when you are ready to put down a deposit.
Remember, this is a binding contract, and whilst you are going to have fun in the house you need to remember the legal side. As a tenant you must pay your agreed rent every month; take care not to cause damage; daily property maintenance; let your landlord know if any problems occur. Your landlord also has responsibilities… they must leave you to enjoy the property, only entering the premises with permission or 24 hours notice e.g. viewings, inspections If both you and your landlord have a good relationship, all of these issues shouldn’t be a problem – so make sure you keep up your side of the bargain!
Yes, you are an adult now, which means you have to pay your own bills (*sigh*). Bills need to be budgeted for, or you will be scraping your pockets at the end of the month to pay for electricity.It is more common for landlords to exclude bills from monthly rent charges, they leave it to you to sort out. If this is the case you and your housemates should work out an estimated monthly cost of gas, electricity and water bills. We’ve got a post on everything you need to know here.
The most important and exciting step of the property searching process – moving in! By September you’ll most likely be super excited to get into your new student digs with your friends from halls, but make sure you list down any issues there might be with the property before you get too excited – this means the landlord can rectify any damage to the property and make any replacements early on. Now you’ve settled – enjoy yourself, and get decorating your room to make it the perfect crib to spend your next year in!