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19th September 2018

Renting as a Student

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It is an exciting time, a new start, leaving the nest, embarking on one’s life adventure but the start of University can also be a worrying time, particularly in regards to accommodation.  All too often we picture a student home as being run down, cold and in a poor state of repair. We read about uninterested Landlords not offering the level of service you would expect from a private rent.Thankfully, the Government has altered the renting landscape for students which should make the entire process clearer, safer and less stressful.

New rules come into place from October 1st 2018 and from this date adequate size bedrooms (no less than 6.51 metres squared for one adult) and sufficient rubbish bins are among some of the things a Landlord must now provide. Please note that Landlords have 18 months from the law coming into force to get the bedroom sizes right.

There are also proposals to ban unfair letting fees and to cap tenancy deposits, so keep an eye out for this when looking to arrange housing for future terms.

It is also suggested that the student knows the following tips on move-in day:

  1. Deposits must now be protected in a deposit protection scheme. This means the Landlord cannot make deductions at the end of the tenancy without good reason. You also have a mediator to give a fair assessment as to whether the reduction is fair.
  2. Check the safety of the property. If possible this should be done before move in date. At the very least check that the windows open, certificates for gas and electricity are available and that the property is hygienic.
  3. Agree an inventory, keep a copy and ensure it is signed. This is a good way of ensuring that both parties are aware of pre-existing damage to the property. Most of us have smart phones or a camera, take pictures! It is good evidence later on.
  4. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the property – although YOU should ensure that they are working
  5. Know who is responsible for the bills. Is your rent bill exclusive or bill inclusive? Make sure this is clearly defined in your agreement. Often there will be a mix of the two.
  6. Landlords have a duty to keep the property in a state of repair. Ensure you have their contact details or details for the maintenance team if applicable
Where possible obtain a draft tenancy in advance, you can deal with any problems early and crucially before you sign.

Do not be afraid to contact your landlord – they must, (by law!) fix issues with water, gas or electricity. If they refuse, be aware that Councils can step in to assist and it is likely the Student Welfare Service at your University can also help.

Finally, the Government has published a How To Rent Guide and this should be provided to you.  However, in the event it is not, a version can be found on the Government Website.

For further help and tips please contact Russell Wignall on 01223 447493 or email Russell by clicking here.