If you are a student ready to live off campus for the first time or a new student heading straight into the private renting sector here are some things to think about when taking on that extra responsibility.
There’s a reason student discounts exist and the biggest expenditure, other than university fees, is accommodation. Money can be tight as a student so work out the maximum rental you can afford with your income so you have a comfortable spending amount after costs. Be aware of upfront costs at the beginning of the tenancy, e.g. security deposits. Ensure you ask the landlord if utilities are included in the overall rent so you have the total amount estimated and you don’t incur any unexpected costs.
As the saying goes, you don’t know someone until you live with them, so whether you know your potential housemate or not you should always vet them. Ask yourself if they have a reliable income, pets, trusting personality, and similar lifestyle to you. The more tenants in the accommodation, the higher likelihood of issues but also the lower the rental amount. Make sure all housemates are cooperative and if you have any hesitation and are not completely comfortable with someone then don’t go ahead with the tenancy because you could be heading down a troubling path and tied into a contract.
Apartment or House?
- Apartments will have a private entrance for all tenants in the block adding security
- There are fewer tenants per unit
- More likelihood of a property manager on site
- Greater chance of noise and disruption
- Shared spaces including bins which may become neglected
- May be difficult to park if the unit doesn’t come with a space
- Able to have more tenants, driving the rent down
- More likely to have green space like a garden which would enable pets
- Less secure than an apartment
- More maintenance, more reliant on landlord
- The nicer the property/Less tenants means higher rent
Landlords are looking for security and many will want to offer as long a tenancy term as possible but this is not always possible for students. Make sure the landlord of the property you are viewing is open to the tenancy term you want which can include month to month, six month, twelve month, and twenty four month contracts. The incentive to go for a longer contract is the cheaper rental amount offered. This is because you are offering the landlord the security of not needing to find a new tenant in the next year or so. Cutting your rental period short and finding a tenant to fill your spot can bring problems because you may still bear some of their responsibility contractually. It is best to go for a short or rolling contract that you can renew or at least ensure there is a break clause in the contract so you have the option to end your tenancy term early if things are not working out.
This is necessary for every student whether or not you have a car. You want to be close to reliable transport links to your university and your nearby town or city centre because the car isn’t always the most cost effective. If you do have a car, make sure to ask about the parking situation at the property because it may be more hassle than it’s worth trying to find parking when there are suitable transport links.
Students don’t generally have credit or rental history so landlords need to protect their own interest by asking for documents and a guarantor to provide security. The guarantor will enable the landlord to ensure they will legally be able to receive the rent if the tenant doesn’t pay. A tenants guarantor must be a UK based individual earning a certain salary. This is not always possible if the tenant is an international student or the tenants family and friends don’t meet the job security and salary requirements. In this case, tenants can use UK based companies like Rent Guarantor to act as their guarantor instead of an individual.
It can be a stressful time trying to find housing and feel like time is not on your side. This key to any smooth transaction is to know what you want in a property, to ask the right questions, and to have the relevant documents at hand. With the right knowledge and documentation to support your offer the process becomes much quicker and more efficient.
Disclaimer: Rent Guarantor is not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information shared in the above blog is an opinion based on personal experiences within the property rental sector, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice.