One of the most common question we are asked is "Can I get out of my housing contract?". In short, it is very unlikely.
Tenancy agreements are legally binding contracts. Your landlord provides the accommodation and you pay the rent. If one side reneges on their side of the deal, the other side can take legal action to enforce it but it does not mean the contract is invalid.
Here at your SU our Advice Team offer a completely free Tenancy Checking Service. Before you sign anything get in touch with us and we'll look over the Tenancy Agreement you're being asked to sign.
Sometimes Tenancy Agreements can be unfairly biased towards the landlord and do not tell you about your rights as a tenant. When we check over your Tenancy Agreement we can explain any unusual contract terms, and query things with the landlord prior to you signing it.
Any University of Plymouth student can use this service, but you may find it particularly useful if English is not your first language.
Get your Tenancy Agreement checked here
Before you sign anything:
So before you sign up for a new housing contract, you need to think very carefully about what you want and what you expect because having a difficult home situation is not conducive to a good experience whilst you are studying.
- Firstly, you need to think about the location of the property.
Is it next to a train line so you will be disturbed by trains? Is it near a bar or nightclub which will attract noisy clients and disturb you when you are trying to sleep? Do you need parking for a car – is the property eligible for a parking permit or have free parking nearby? Will you need to use public transport to get to lectures, in which case have you included the cost in your budget?
- Secondly, do you know who you will be living with or are you able to tolerate the behaviour of people you don’t know?
Remember, to a certain extent, everyone has equal rights to behave in the manner of their choosing even if it is different from your own and what you might expect. Quarrels with housemates can really damage your mental health and disrupt your study plans. It is unlikely that your landlord will be able to intervene – remember the landlord has a contract with each individual which is legally enforceable and they simply cannot just ask a tenant to leave.
- Thirdly, can you afford the rent?
When you decide on a property and receive the contract to sign, make sure you understand the terms you are signing up to. Check when rent is due and for what period – what are the penalties if you don’t pay the rent on time? Check out our Housing Checklist for more information on finding a property.