The road to finding student accommodation is seldom clear, and can be extremely daunting for overseas students arriving in the UK for the first time. If halls of residence are not an option, students have the opportunity to explore the huge amount of private rented accommodation the country has to offer. In this article, we bring you a brief guide on private rented accommodation to make sure you know your tenants from your landlords and your flatmates from your estate agents.
What options do I have?
The most commonly chosen form of private housing is private rented accommodation that is shared with others. This is where you either find people that you would like to move in with, or join up in a rented accommodation arrangement with strangers.
Obviously, these things generally turn out well, but the best arrangements happen when students get together to share private accommodation amongst themselves. Bear in mind that your university can help massively in this area by providing you with a vetted list of landlords in the local area that it recommends for students.
You have to take care of bills alongside your accommodation costs, and this is a fact that you need to remember when you are looking for private rented accommodation.
Sharing with a landlord
There are plenty of variations on the rented accommodation theme, but the most obvious one is private rented accommodation that you share with a landlord. There are not as many of these arrangements as there are house shares with other students, but you may find yourself sharing a property with the landlord. This means sharing communal bathing areas and eating areas, and if it is not your thing then you need to be sure what you’re walking into when you sign an agreement. This is simply an issue of looking at the fine print of any agreement and at the general rental agreement itself.
You will most likely be expected to pay a deposit for the rental agreement. This is standard practice; but you need to be careful that you are protected from any issues once the rental agreement has finished. For example, landlords have the right to take some deposit back for themselves if they feel there’s any damage in the accommodation, or that some of the rental agreement terms have been breached. One of the most common reasons for this to happen lies within the scope of breakages and loss.
To counteract this, make sure that you’ve asked for an inventory of items in the accommodation before you sign an agreement. Check it through carefully, just in case there are issues around any objects in the accommodation. If you know what was there at the start of the term of agreement, then you will not be caught out by any landlord that may feel it is his or her right to demand money for breakages or for items that they say have been lost. You can check all these details by getting an inventory.
Other factors include the state of the accommodation that you move into. You have the right, as a tenant, to expect certain standards regarding accommodation, including issues such as living in a place that doesn’t have pests in it, and living in a place is clean.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
On your side of the bargain, you have to live in the accommodation in a sensible and respectful way. You have to ask if you want to have a party, for example, And you must make sure that you treat the environment within the accommodation with respect, and alert the landlord if there are any breakages for example. Bear in mind that the landlord cannot do anything about a repair, and is not legally obliged to, until you report it to him or her.
Private rented accommodation shouldn’t be a problem for you. Try doing it with friends, because it is a lot more fun. In any case, ensure that you have looked at contracts, and that you know where you stand as a tenant. The majority of landlords are nice people with integrity, and if you pick a landlord off the student accommodation list you have the reassurance of living somewhere where the landlord and the property have been vetted and are viewed as being of a good standard.