Students guide to renting: What you need to know

If you’re searching for student housing, it may be your first time living away from home and navigating the world of renting alone.

If you’ve no previous experience renting or dealing with a landlord, the process may feel a little daunting, and you could be unsure of what to look for in a landlord, letting agent, or student housing.

Making sure you’re clued up on the process and know what a landlord’s obligations are, can help you to ask the right questions and make good choices when you rent student accommodation.

Here at Mistoria Estate Agents Salford, we have a team of specialist student letting agents who help students across Salford and Manchester to find safe and comfortable housing let by trusted landlords.

We’ve put together this article to provide students with some advice and guidance on what they need to know before they begin their search for rented student accommodation.

Budgeting for student accommodation

Before you begin searching for the perfect student pad for you and your mates, you’ll need to figure out the price range of the accommodation you can afford.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to pay for more than just your rent. Other bills you’ll need to factor into your budget include:

  • Gas and electricity
  • Water
  • Internet
  • TV licence
  • Insurance

With the price of gas and electricity currently soaring, it may be useful to take note of the energy efficiency ratings for the houses you view. Generally, the higher the rating, the cheaper your energy bills will be.

Some student rental properties will have bills included, and you should check with your agent to see if the property you are looking at has this as part of the rent.

The Save the Student website has a handy online rent calculator that you can use to work out an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on rent each month.

Students have the same rights as any other tenant

Just because you’re renting an apartment as a student, it doesn’t mean you have any fewer rights than a regular tenant renting a house from a landlord.

Make sure you’re clued up on what your rights are to prevent unscrupulous landlords from taking you for a ride. Your landlord’s obligations include:

  • Provide adequate fire safety equipment.
  • Check all electrical equipment provided is safe.
  • Ensure gas appliances are safely installed, maintained, and check annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Give at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property.
  • Repair and maintain the structure of the property.
  • Repair and maintain any problems with water, heating, plumbing, and major gas and electrical appliances.

Understanding HMOs

Many student houses are HMOs, (that’s a house in multiple occupation to me and you!) A rented property is classed as an HMO if it houses three or more unrelated people who share facilities, so many student houses fall into this category.

If your landlord is letting an HMO then they must have an HMO license and meet the legal requirements for an HMO.

The tenancy agreement is legally binding

Make sure you have read and understood your student tenancy agreement before you sign on the dotted line, as the contract is legally binding.

Student tenancy agreements are usually either joint or individual fixed-term shorthold tenancy agreements. A joint tenancy agreement gives all tenants in the property shared liability, and the contract will start and end at the same time for all tenants. Individual tenancy agreements allow students to start and end their contracts at different times if required and give each tenant responsible for their own actions.

You will probably require a guarantor

Most student landlords require their tenants to provide a guarantor, that’s someone who agrees to pay any outstanding debt for you if you’re not able to. Debt could be outstanding rent payments or amounts owed for damage to the property. In most cases, the guarantor is the individual’s parent or guardian.

The reason student landlords usually require a guarantor is because many students are living away from home for the first time, have not yet earned a strong enough credit history, and may not be in regular employment because of their academic commitments. This makes renting to students a higher risk for landlords, and a guarantor provides them with better security.

It’s important to note that if your tenancy agreement is a joint one, then guarantors are responsible for outstanding rent or damages caused by any of the tenants listed in the agreement.

You will be required to pay a deposit

Before you move into your student housing, your landlord will ask you to pay a tenancy deposit. Your deposit acts as security for the landlord, giving them something to fall back on if you break any of the terms of your tenancy agreement and fail to pay rent or damage the property.

The amount you are required to pay as a deposit depends on the property and your landlord, but it is usually somewhere in the region of one month’s rent.

Your landlord is required by law to put your deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. They should put the money into the authorised scheme within 30 days of receiving it and provide you with information about which scheme they are using.

Should you use a letting agent?

When you choose to use a student letting agent, like our team here at Mistoria Estate Agents Salford, you have peace of mind that there are a team of experts on hand to answer any of your questions surrounding renting student accommodation.

We act as a link between you and your landlord, ensuring that everyone understands their obligations and that all relevant rules and regulations are being respected by both student and landlord.

View our student accommodation available to rent in Salford or give our team of student letting agents a call on 0800 500 3015 for further help or advice with applying for an apartment as a student.

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