When you rent accommodation for the first time there are so many things you have to consider. Here are some handy tips:
When you find your accommodation:
- Have you viewed the accommodation in person? Don't just rent on the basis of a picture on a website, particularly if it is not through a well known agent.
- If you are asked to pay your rent up front in full then only do so once are sure the acommodation is genuine. Where possible pay by Credit Card to provide you with some additional protection. Only pay by Bank Transfer if you are sure the accommodation is genuine.
- Do you understand your tenancy agreement? Email a copy to the Advice Centre so we can check it and let you know if there are any unusual clauses.
- If you are paying a deposit then find out which scheme that is being paid into. If a landlord takes a deposit, they are legally bound to place it into one of the 3 deposit schemes. Details of what to do if your deposit it not protected in one of these schemes can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/if-your-landlord-doesnt-protect-your-deposit
When you move in:
You will no doubt be excited at moving into your shared student house and we hope you have a fun and exciting time getting to know your housemates.
But there are a few general things to think about when you first move in to make life run smoothly:
- Don’t move in if you think that the property is not in an acceptable state of repair and cleanliness. Contact the landlord/letting agent immediately to advise them of this and request that the matter be rectified so you can move in. Ask the landlord/letting agent to provide you with alternative temporary accommodation or agree to pay for a hotel, if necessary. Take pictures as evidence and make sure everything is confirmed in writing.
- Once you move in, take pictures of everything so that, when you move out, you can demonstrate the condition of the property and furnishings when you moved in.
- Take meter readings (gas, electric, water) when you move in and email these to your landlord/letting agent – you do not want to pay for utilities used by previous occupants.
- Think about arranging insurance for your belongings – your landlord’s insurance will not normally cover your personal items.
- Arrange a house meeting to set up some general house rules and agree to meet regularly to talk through any issues that might lead to conflict later in the year.
- Find out which day you need to put your rubbish bin(s) out and make sure you understand the local rules for rubbish collection.
- Get a TV licence if you need one.
When you move out:
And when you move out there are a few things which can help protect your deposit:
- Again, take meter readings and email them to your landlord/letting agent so that you are not billed for utilities used after your contract ends.
- Take pictures of everything to show that items/décor is in the same condition as when you moved in.
- Contact your landlord/letting agent in good time to let them know when you will be leaving so you can arrange a final inspection, return keys and agree the process for repayment of your deposit.
- Dispose of your rubbish properly – donate to charity where possible or arrange for large items to be taken to the local tip.
- Notify people and organisations of your new address – the University, Student Finance, your bank, DVLA, your GP, etc.
- Arrange for your post to be redirected.
- Claim a refund on your TV licence.
If you paid a deposit it is important that you agree with any deductions the landlord may be making, and the deposit protection scheme is there to help if you wish to contest the charges. If you did not pay a deposit then the landlord should invoice you for any amount they felt was owed to them. If you disagree with these charges, please seek advice from the Advice Centre before you pay the bill.
Last Updated: October 2023