Lifestyle, Student Life

What I've Learnt From Renting A Student House

This year has been stressful.
Whilst dealing with the jump from first year to second (yes, that is a VERY big one), we’ve also been dealing with a few house issues. And, as we were a little naive at the beginning of the year, these issues have escalated and it just hasn’t been fun. So, I thought I’d share some more general tips that I’ve learnt, which could definitely help you in what you need to ask a potential landlord. I was not prepared, so hopefully this post helps to prepare you!
Check your contract at LEAST twice
This one sounds obvious, but honestly this has caught us out this year. Our contract looked fine before we signed it, but afterwards we discovered many things about it that simply just weren’t great.
Utilise university student support staff
Honestly, they can help so much more than you think. We dismissed them a little in first year, but I really wish that we had taken our contract to them to have a look over before we signed it. Oh well, live and learn.
Know your rights
This is SO important. As long as you’re paying rent on time, your landlord has no right to enter the property without your permission. They also have to give 24 hours written notice before they enter for maintenance works etc. The government website can really help with this.
Put all of your names on the bills
Having one bill in each person’s name may sound like a fair deal, but you’ve got to look out for yourself in these situations. If that person were to leave, then another person would have to take the responsibility on, and the person who left may not pay you for your bill, even though they owe it to you. It can get very tangled very quickly, so it is easier just to put all of your names on the bills and that way you are all responsible.
Get all communication from your landlords in writing
When wanting to sell a property to you, landlords often *may* embellish the truth or make fleeting promises about paying for a TV licence to you. It *may* sound great and you *may* trust them. But, come September when the TV licence hasn’t been paid and your landlords ‘don’t remember’ promising that to you, you will really wish that you got it in writing. This can even be just through email or text, just make sure you’ve got proof.
Ask if they have given planning permission for any work in the area at all
There’s currently a house being built next to ours and it’s incredibly noisy. Credit to our landlords, they didn’t actually know that it was going to be built this year as they signed the planning permission years ago. However, I really wish that this had been one of our questions before we decided to go for the property.
Check out your tenancy
Is it a joint tenancy where you all rent the whole house? Is it a single tenancy where you rent a room each? Both have their benefits and drawbacks, just make sure you know what you’re entering. In a joint tenancy, it can be a nightmare if someone leaves because you will be liable to cover their rent, but in a single tenancy if someone leaves then you could end up living with someone you don’t know. Decide which is most important to you before you make this decision.
Ask your rights to end your tenancy, and get a reply in writing
Again, this may be something that you don’t ever expect to happen, but there’s no harm in finding out. Sometimes things don’t always go our way, so it’s very handy to know where you start from the very beginning.
If you need any specific help or advice, feel free to leave a comment or to DM me on social media and I will try and help you out to the best of my ability! Please note, this is not sanctioned legal advice, these are just a few tips that I have learnt from my own experience.
H x

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