Arranging housing is rarely an easy task, especially if you haven’t done it before, and it can feel like an overwhelming process. Here are a few tips to help you out when looking for private rented accommodation during your studies:

Take Your Time

It’s important when looking for housing not to feel rushed into a decision. Once a contract has been signed it’s very difficult to go back, so it’s vital that you have all the information you need before formally agreeing to anything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and consider your options carefully.

Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of a contract before signing it. Check out RUSU’s Housing Contract guidance for more details on the information that you should be provided with before signing any kind of housing contract.

Unfortunately, students can be popular targets for rental fraud. This occurs when a person is tricked into paying a fee for a property which may not actually exist, or may not be owned by the person asking for the fee. RUSU have some excellent advice on how to detect this sort of scam.

If you have a Tenancy Agreement that you’re not sure about, the Advice Service can offer you Housing Advice and also offer a Tenancy Agreement Checking Service.

Have Relevant Documents Ready

Right to Rent checks must be made for all tenants over the age of 18 before the start of a new tenancy. You have the right to rent if you are:

  • A British citizen
  • An EU or EEA citizen
  • A citizen of another country with no time-limit on your permission to live in the UK

International students have the right to rent, but often only for a limited time if there is a time restriction on their permission to stay in the UK.

For more information on Right to Rent checks and what documents you may need to provide, click here.

Know your Rights and Responsibilities

When you enter into a contract with a landlord, you are both agreeing to fulfill a set of obligations to one another, and it’s important that you have a clear idea of what these are. Your landlord’s obligations will include things like the completion of annual gas safety checks and the protection of your deposit in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. As a tenant, you will be obligated to respect and look after the property, as well as paying your rent on time and reporting any disrepair.

Take a look at this detailed guide for more information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

Communicate with your Housemates

You’ll have a lot of important things to navigate with your housemates throughout the year, so good communication is vital. Arguments do happen and sometimes tensions will run high, but there are things you can do early on in your tenancy to ensure that disagreements are kept to an absolute minimum.

Decide early on whether there will be a cleaning rota, and what this will look like. Will you create a list of general house rules? Decide how you will pay the bills, and figure out a fair system when it comes to paying for communal household items such as cleaning products. It may help to create an informal written agreement between your housemates at the beginning of your tenancy to refer back to when needed.

 When in doubt…

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there are plenty of resources available to provide you with guidance if you’d like help understanding the terms of your contract, or advice on how to deal with disputes.

RUSU’s Advice Service have created a comprehensive guide to living in a student house which covers a range of topics, from managing disagreements with your housemates to knowing your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

For more information and advice on renting private accommodation, please contact RUSU’s Advice Service on 0118 378 4100 or email at advice@rusu.co.uk.