Student renting: Everything you need to know

November 23, 2020
Guide

Student renting: Everything you need to know

According to research by Statista there were 2.38 million students enrolled in higher education courses in the United Kingdom between 2018 and 2019.

Many students opt to move away from their parents’ houses for university, often choosing to live in private rented accommodation such as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) or house shares.

Very often, university is a young person’s first renting experience, with students usually residing in student accommodation or halls in first year and in shared houses or flats thereafter.

Ome’s Deposit Replacement Membership provides tenants with the option to choose manageable monthly payments over a traditional deposit, helping with flexibility and affordability.

Read on to find out everything you need to know when it comes to student renting, including an explanation of what a tenancy agreement is and what to do when your tenancy is ending.

Before you move in

The renting process starts long before moving in and involves doing in-depth research on the area, deciding on your housemates, viewing houses and signing the tenancy agreement.

What to look out for in your tenancy agreement

Student renting: Everything you need to know

A tenancy agreement is a contract between the renter and landlord which defines responsibilities for both parties.

Make sure you read and understand the tenancy agreement fully, before signing it. Essential things to look for when reviewing a tenancy agreement include:

  • The names of everyone that will be living in the property
  • The cost of rent, the payment due date and account details
  • The tenancy start and end dates
  • How often the cost of rent may be reviewed
  • The deposit amount and how this will be protected, such as through mydeposits or a deposit replacement scheme such as Ome
  • Specific details of the circumstances that would lead to the deposit being withheld

Different agreements have different implications for your responsibilities as a renter. For example, if the agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) you might have joint liability with your housemates if funds are unpaid or if there is damage to the property.

Most student landlords prefer to have separate tenancy agreements with each renter and therefore they are individually responsible for their share of the rent.

Conduct a thorough check-in with your landlord

Your landlord or letting agent should provide you with an inventory list before you sign the tenancy agreement.

It is best to examine the condition of the property and its contents with your landlord and all renters present. Document any comments in writing and ensure you take time-stamped photographs, these can be useful when checking out at the end of the tenancy.

If during the checking in process you feel the condition of the property is unacceptable, raise this issue with the landlord before the tenancy agreement is signed so that it can be rectified and included as a clause in the agreement.

Take note of the rules

Student renting: Everything you need to know

Landlords will often remind renters, especially students, of their expectations on nuisance noise. Student houses may be in residential areas and being respectful of neighbours may well be a clause in the tenancy agreement.

It’s important to cultivate a positive relationship with your landlord in order to resolve any issues with the property whilst you’re living there. Check out our blog on how to build a good relationship with your landlord for some handy tips.

Other rules will often include no smoking in the property, this could be a clause in your tenancy agreement. It is worth noting that it is in fact an offence to smoke in shared areas of residential properties. Smoke free legislation applies to the common parts of an HMO building like hallways, kitchens and bathrooms etc. more information is available here.

Your landlord or agent should provide you with information relating to your responsibilities, and the potential deposit deductions that will occur if there is damage to the property or cleaning required at the end of the tenancy. Download our partner, mydeposits’ guide on how to keep your property in good condition.

There may be updates, rules and guidelines issued by the Government due to the coronavirus pandemic, so check out our blog on staying safe as a tenant during coronavirus and stay up to date with the latest guidance on the gov.uk website.

Moving out

Student renting: Everything you need to know

When you vacate a property, it should be left in the same condition as when you moved in.

Here it can be useful to refer to the check-in report which you completed at the start of the tenancy. Check-in reports can help eliminate any confusion about the state of repair within the property before you moved in.

The property should be left in a clean and tidy condition, this includes appliances, for example fridges and ovens. In cases where the property has a garden, this should be maintained to an acceptable standard.

Even if it is the responsibility of one housemate to clean their own room, an unclean room could cause deposit deductions or charges for everyone if you have a joint tenancy agreement. When moving out refer to your tenancy agreement for a reminder of the specific breakdown of your responsibilities.

Wear and tear within a property is natural and inevitable. But if you have caused excessive or serious damage please refer to your tenancy agreement as you might need to replace damaged items.

It is always best to conduct a full check-out inspection of the property with the landlord and all tenants present, just as you did before moving in.

Deposit disputes can often sour a previously pleasant tenant-landlord relationship. According to our research, over half of student deposit disputes are down to cleaning. The second most common reason for student disputes was landlords failing to provide a reason, and the third due to general redecoration.

Check out Hamilton Fraser’s end of tenancy cleaning and inventory checklist, to make sure you’ve covered all bases.

For more information on student tenancies and top tips for first-time renters, read our blog, ‘Top tips for student renters’.