Tips for renting your first property at uni
AS THE first semester comes to an end, many students are making decisions about where they will be living next academic year.
So the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the National Union of Students (NUS) offer advice.
Ian Potter, ARLA's Managing Director, says: "Renting with friends at university can be a brilliant experience and if a few sensible steps are followed, it need not be a stressful process.
"Approaching renting in a measured way and knowing your priorities is a good starting point, which will allow you to take into consideration any additional advice you receive.
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"But there are pitfalls, from losing your deposit to falling foul of unprofessional landlords.
"That is why it's important for students to take advantage of the wealth of guidance available when moving out of halls or home and into private renting."
Pete Mercer, NUS Vice President Welfare said, "It's really important students are fully informed when looking for a place to rent.
"An affordable, safe and well-maintained home with a good landlord not only means less hassle, it ensures you can focus on your studies, enjoy your social time and have a memorable experience as a student for all the right reasons."
ARLA and the NUS are offering the following tips for students looking to rent their first property at university:
Tenants should always ensure that any monies are paid into an accredited deposit scheme, protected under one of the three Government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes. This is a legal requirement in England, Wales and Scotland.
Rent with the experts
There are no restrictions on who becomes a landlord. For peace of mind, be sure to seek advice from a lettings agent affiliated to a professional organisation like ARLA.
Don't ignore the small print
Find out what kind of tenancy agreement you are signing as this can make a difference to your liability. Many shared tenancies will have several joint liability clauses – meaning you are responsible for the actions of your co-tenants for the terms of the tenancy, and not just the payment of rent.
Safety and Security
Areas dominated by student accommodation can have higher-than-average burglary rates so security should always be a key consideration when looking for a rental home. Check that door and window locks are in good order. If there is a burglar alarm, ensure the landlord shows all tenants how to use it, and that it is working effectively.
Often students will have personal property covered by their parents' contents insurance, but it is important to check the specific policy wording. If you aren't covered by your parents' insurance policy, there are a number of insurance providers which offer student-specific contents insurance policies.
Always ensure you are provided with a comprehensive inventory, listing the fixtures and fittings within the property, detailing their condition and that of the property itself. It is also advisable to take a thorough photographic record of the property's condition at the start of the tenancy, if not included with the inventory and schedule of condition. If you disagree with the condition dispute it at the beginning with your own evidence to ensure you are protected.