As first year students start to look towards their second year, they’ll begin planning for life outside of university halls, and securing rental properties.
The majority of students won’t have dealt with a letting agent before, and it will be their largest expense each term, so it’s important they make the right decision about where to live. Universities often offer services to help students with their property search, but there are several things to consider beyond this.
Sally Lawson, President, ARLA Propertymark, said: “Renting a property with your friends at university is great fun and a rite of passage for many. For most, this will be the first time they rent a property or make a financial commitment of this nature, so it can feel daunting when you’re starting to look. First and foremost, make sure you’re starting your property search with a reputable letting agent. ARLA Propertymark agents adhere to the highest professional standards and have client money protection in place so that if any funds go missing, you’re protected.”
Students looking to privately rent a property at university should following the below tips from ARLA Propertymark
Work out what you can afford
Look at your outgoings every term, and work out how much of your student loan you can allocate towards rent. This will help you determine the type of property you can afford, and the area you can rent in. Don’t forget to factor in bills including the internet, your TV package and licence, energy and water. You won’t be required to pay council tax but if you’re living with any non-students they will be responsible for their share. If you’re renting a large house with friends, the bedrooms may vary in cost depending on size, so make sure you’re clear on your budget before you start shot-gunning the biggest bedroom.
Finding a property
As a starting point, approach a reputable agent to help you with your search. Use the ARLA Propertymark find an expert tool for peace of mind that you’re in good hands. When you find a property that you like, try to speak to the existing tenants about their experience of living in the property.
Don’t bow to pressure
Take your time making decisions about where you’re going to live. Don’t let your friends pressure you into signing a contract for the first property you see, and you shouldn’t feel pressured into handing money over straight away either.
Know where your deposit is going
Before you move in, you’ll be required to pay a security deposit, which is usually around six week’s rent. This must be held in one of the three government-authorised tenancy deposit protection schemes, and your letting agent must show you evidence of this. If you don’t receive the details, ask for them as soon as possible. You will also be given a copy of the government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide and will be asked to provide ID to show you have the right to live in the UK.
Moving in and the inventory
When you move in, your letting agent or landlord will organise an inventory. This will state exactly what condition the property is in, and list all the furniture and fixtures, so there’s a record of what belongs to the landlord and, more importantly, what condition everything is in. This will help you to avoid any disputes at the end of your tenancy, so it’s important it’s carried out to a professional standard.
During your tenancy…
The number one rule when renting any property is that when you leave it, it must be in a good condition and one that you’d like to find it in. Keep it clean throughout the year, and maintain the garden so it doesn’t become overgrown. Don’t be scared to report any repair issues and if anything breaks in the property tell your agent as soon as possible.
Use the support available to you
You should ask your letting agent for the ARLA Propertymark Student Guide, which has tips and guides to help you through the whole process from the start of tenancy to the end.