Every year, as early as October, some landlords and agents in Plymouth start to ask their current tenants to decide whether they want to renew their contract for the following year or not. As some students are unsure of the renting process, they may not challenge this request.
However, we're here to tell you that there is no need to panic. In fact, we'd encourage you to wait until after Christmas before you commit to any housing contract for 2022/23.
We know that housing plays a significant role in your university experience, which is why it's super important that you take your time and don't rush into any decisions that you may later regret.
8 reasons to hold off on signing
1 - Friends for life?
You may feel like you've found your friends for life already and you can't imagine living with anyone else next year. While for some of you this will be true, we often find that friendship groups start changing in the second semester as students start to get to know one another better. We'd advise you to see how you gel with them after the Christmas period before committing to living together for a whole year!
2 - Save your cash for Christmas!
Committing to a new property doesn't come cheap - this could make for an unnecessarily broke Christmas. Give yourself more time to save up and shop around to find yourself the best deal. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to wait until your Student Loan drops in January before putting a deposit down for the next academic year.
3 - Don't lose your money!
If you’ve already viewed and like a property, but you don't sign the contract within two weeks of sending your holding fee, you will lose the money you put down for the property (maximum one week's rent) - this puts unfair pressure on you, especially considering most agents/landlords don't offer to show you the contract at this point. The contract could include clauses you wouldn't be willing to accept e.g. no overnight guests. Remember you can get your contract checked for free by your SU Advice team, find out more and send us your tenancy contract at upsu.com/advice.
4 - You could end up paying for a room you don't use
Usually, the only way to get out of a tenancy agreement is to find a replacement tenant. This means, in the worst case, you could end up paying rent for a room you're not using with no student loan to help you out. e.g. if you have to leave university due to unforeseen circumstances.
You might not find someone to take your room
You can check out our Facebook group – ‘Plymouth Uni Students Housing/Accommodation Community’ where you will notice there are far more people advertising rooms than there are people looking for rooms. Most people looking for a replacement tenant do not find one.
You might not have seen the best ones yet!
Most contracts state that tenants don't have to decide whether to renew their contract or not until the final two months of their tenancy. For this reason, many properties won't be advertised until semester two or the end of the year, meaning you could miss the chance of getting that dream house if you’ve already signed up for something else.
You might get a better deal later in the year
There are more student properties than there are students in Plymouth. As the academic year goes on, you'll find some landlords will lower their prices to attract students. If you'd like personalised advice on when it's the best time to look for you, just ask an SU Advisor for a chat through our website. They can get to know your circumstances better through a short chat and give you customised guidance.
Save money on a 10-month contract
It can be a pain getting tied into a 12-month contract when you know you won't be living in the property all year round e.g. if you're heading back home for the summer. You have the right to request a 10-month contract or ask if the landlord/agent is willing to lower the rent price. In the past, we've saved students hundreds of pounds by helping them to secure amazing deals later in the year.
Your SU Advice team is here to support students at the University of Plymouth throughout the year, for free and impartially. If you need any kind of support the team is here to help you, find out more at upsu.com/advice
To get support from the SU Advice TeamClick here