10 tips on how to rent student accommodation hassle-free
Renting student accommodation with friends or having your own place can be a hugely exciting experience. For many, it’s the first time you will have lived away from your family for an extended period, so you’ll want to ensure you’re happy with your choice of accommodation.
There’s no need to worry about how to rent student accommodation near your university campus. The SPCE team may have graduated some time ago, but we can certainly provide you with many useful pointers to ensure a stress-free experience when renting private student accommodation:
- Choose your letting agent wisely
Unfortunately some letting agents will attempt to charge extortionate amounts to student tenants, who may be asked to pay hundreds of pounds in administration fees alone. Always check for vastly inflated inventory, credit reference and insurance fees, along with cleaning and moving-out fees. Any reputable letting agency should be able to provide a full list of up-front costs. Your university accommodation office should also be able to speed up your decision process by supplying a list of approved lettings agencies.
- Always negotiate rental fees
Bear in mind that there may be some flexibility in the amount of rent your landlord is looking for. Don’t always accept the first figure and be prepared to ask if it’s possible to pay a little bit less – a full property reduced rent is better than an empty property after all.
- Seek references before selecting your accommodation
You will be spending much of your time at university in your student accommodation, so it’s important that you choose wisely. Never sign on the dotted line for a property without obtaining sufficient references from previous tenants. Try and speak to them about the landlord, the property’s condition and whether repairs and other requests are promptly attended to. This will give you a good indication as to whether the accommodation is right for you.
- Choose the right tenancy agreement
If you’re going to be sharing private rented accommodation with other students or friends, it’s important to know how your tenancy is organised as it can have implications for other things. If you share the property and its facilities – without exclusive possession of any particular room – you’ll be on a joint tenancy agreement. If you have exclusive possession of one specific room whilst sharing other communal facilities, you’ll require a sole tenancy agreement. Bear in mind that joint tenancy agreements make you jointly and individually responsible for the whole rent. If someone you live with doesn’t pay their percentage of the rent, the rest of you must make up the shortfall!
- Your landlord’s obligations with your deposit
Landlords have a legal obligation to safeguard your initial deposit and should place this cash in one of the three government-approved schemes. The landlord must inform you within 14 days of taking the deposit where the money will be stored and how you can get it back at the end of your tenancy agreement. In the event they don’t let you know, the landlord incurs an immediate penalty of three times the value of your deposit. At the end of your tenancy period, you’ll be required to return the property in the same condition that it was originally let to you – after allowing for fair wear and tear – in order to receive your deposit back in full.
- Always make an inventory list on your moving-in day
Be sure to make a list of contents in the property when you move in, making a careful note of the condition of everything. Make sure this inventory of items is signed by you and your landlord and dated. Both you and your landlord should keep a copy of this document. It’s also a good idea to take plenty of photos on moving-in day as future evidence in the event of disputes at the end of your tenancy agreement.
- Clarify what’s included within your rental costs
In order to avoid any hefty and unexpected bills at the end of your tenancy agreement, it’s best to clarify with the letting agent and the landlord what’s included in the cost of the rental. Some landlords will include water rates within the rental fee, while others may also include electricity, gas and even satellite television. Either way, it’s good to know what you’re liable for from day one.
- Insist appliances are checked before you move in
All gas appliances within your private student accommodation must be tested annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. Your landlord must be able to provide proof to you that the necessary checks have been made prior to your moving-in date. It’s also the landlord’s responsibility to ensure all electrical installations are safe, with PAT testing carried out periodically every five years on portable appliances e.g. microwaves and kettles.
- Safety, safety, safety
Your student accommodation should be your own retreat; a safe cocoon that enables you to relax and feel secure whilst studying and building a career for yourself. It’s an unfortunate fact that areas dominated by student accommodation experience higher-than-average crime rates, so security must be paramount when seeking a property to rent. Ensure all locks to windows and doors are in good order and that burglar alarms are fitted and working correctly. If you’re in a shared house with people you’re not immediately familiar with, ensure there is a sturdy lock fitted on your bedroom door to protect your belongings when you’re on campus.
- Be considerate of your neighbours
The last thing you want when studying for your degree is to develop a running feud with your neighbours. By all means have a good time after a busy day studying, but respect your neighbours – don’t play loud music beyond permitted times and comply with all other terms and conditions specified in your tenancy agreement. If you don’t, your landlord will be within their rights to proceed with eviction!
Finding reputable and reliable student accommodation to rent near your university is becoming easier, thanks to SPCE. Our one-of-a-kind student renting app connects you with legitimate landlords near your university campus. Register your interest in our app to be alerted of its release and get access to a safe and trusted platform to find the best student accommodation in your area.
Simple student living is just a few clicks away.