Our Guide to Renting Student Accommodation
For many of you reading this, it will be the first time you’ve rented a property with your friends. To help you, we have compiled a list of useful tips and information to consider before you sign a tenancy agreement:
- First, make sure you’re happy with the group you will live with, don’t feel you have to rush into deciding as there’s plenty of good quality properties on offer.
- Newcastle & Durham have lots of different student friendly areas whether in the City Centre or surrounding areas. Make sure that the location is suitable for your needs.
- Accommodation budget –factor in utility bills if not inclusive, TV licence, contents insurance and food shopping. Rents across the region vary greatly. Also remember to multiply the weekly rent by 52 weeks and divide by the number of months of your tenancy to obtain the true monthly rent. Some landlords like their rent paid termly, over 10 months or yearly. Check this before you sign. Full-time students are exempt from paying Council Tax.
- Using a Letting Agent – most agents advertise properties that are owned by a private Landlord and offer a Let Only or Full Management services. All agents by law have to disclose their costs/ fees upfront in their advertising. Make sure you are aware of the costs, advance rent and damage deposit, in addition to length of contract. Most student tenancies are 12 months long.
- Check the Letting Agent has an accreditation or is part of a Property Ombudsman scheme – make sure you’re dealing with a professional agency who can guide you through the process and answer your questions.
- Read the AST – always read the contract before signing AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy), if you’re unsure, ask the agent to explain any clauses you do not understand.
- Damage Deposit – this must be protected in a scheme by law within 30 days, you must be issued with prescribed information (this may form part of your tenancy) and know where your money is held. In a majority of cases, we will issue the prescribed information on behalf of the landlord.
- Safety – At the beginning of your tenancy make sure you have all the correct certificates in place. By law a landlord must provide you with a CP12 (Gas Safety Certificate) if there is gas.
- Inventory – Tenants will be in a much stronger position to argue about maintenance issues and deposit disputes if they have signed an inventory at the beginning of the tenancy; or have taken photographs of the property on the day of moving in. These should be date and time stamped.
Renting a property can be complex, why not give us a call or pop to our office and let us help accommodate you?