01202 961678

Student Advice from LettingsBU

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Find Your Housemates

Unless you are planning on renting alone then it’s important that you find the right mix of people to live with. You’re going to be sharing your home with them so it useful if you can all get along. We suggest that you don’t rush in to forming your group. If you can, take your time and get to know each other first. You should also understand that you’ll in all likelihood be co-signing a legal contract for your accommodation that will not be easy to get out of should there be any fall-outs.

If you need help in finding housemates then you can visit our Facebook group where you can meet others in similar situation.

Plan Your Search

Start your search? Not yet! Discuss and agree what you’re all looking for. Things to think about prior to starting your search:

  • Location. Do you want to be close to town or Campus?
  • Transport. Do you want to walk, cycle or bus it to Uni – how long will it take?
  • Affordability. How much are the rent, bills (gas, electric, water, internet etc), food, social-life, transport going to cost you?
  • Property specifics. Do you all want double rooms (or is someone happy to take the smaller room at a cheaper rent?), garden, parking.

Arrange & Book Viewings

Your group has now found a selection of properties that meet your search criteria. You now need to pull together the logistical operation that is a house viewing! Prior to booking your viewing, as a group you should agree upon a date and time when you will all be available (and stick to it). It’s a bit rubbish if you miss out on the viewing and get left with the room that no one wants.

You have a date and time agreed and you have all got it in your diaries. You can now contact us to arrange and book your viewing. You can do this by calling us on 01202 961678 or by requesting a viewing via the property advert on the website. Alternatively, if you are nearby, you can visit us in person where one of our friendly lettings team will be happy to help.

View The Properties

You want to make sure that the property is not only going to meet your group’s personal requirements (e.g. location, transport, room types etc) but also that it is has the other stuff that will help you to manage it as your new home. This could well be the first time you have had to do this so to assist you with your thinking we have pulled together a handy House Viewing Checklist that you can download and use during your visits.

Book Your Property

Hopefully you are confirming your booking through LettingsBU, with our professional team of Housing Officers and fixed Holding Deposit, but the following same principles apply if you are using another private letting agent:

  1. Contract length - Check you know the length of the contract (you will be liable for the full term once you agree to it)
  2. Holding deposit – Confirm what you will have to pay to secure a property (LettingsBU has a fixed Holding Deposit of only £99, which is held as a contribution to your Rent Deposit, however this amount will differ with private agents – make sure you ask them to list ALL costs!)
  3. Deposit – Check how much you will need to pay and when this is due (LettingsBU require you to pay the remainder of your Rent Deposit within one month, but this will differ considerably with private agents – always check!)
  4. Deposit protection – Check that your deposit will be registered with an approved protection service. For further info on protection services click here
  5. Rent – How much and when do you have to pay? (some private agents will want you to pay some rent well in advance – LettingsBU will not).
  6. Contract terms – Do you understand what you’re signing? If not then ask or get it checked independently. If using LettingsBU you can ask one of our friendly Housing Officers or take it to SUBU Advice
  7. Guarantors – It is likely that you will need to provide a guarantor as additional security for your landlord. These will need to be UK based and have a level of income that will cover your rental commitments should you not be able to, so pick wisely. If you are an international student who is unable get a UK based guarantor you may be asked to pay your entire rent for the duration of the contract up front. There are external companies who might be able to assist, such as UKGuarantor or Housing Hand (note, BU cannot recommend either and is in no way affiliated with these external companies)
  8. Utilities (gas, electric, water, internet, council tax, TV licence) – You can wait until you move in to your property to set up your accounts. However, in order to ensure you have important services, e.g. your internet, ready for your arrival date, it is best to arrange this beforehand. You can do this direct with the suppliers or there are companies who will arrange all of this for you in advance, such as: Glide or Split the Bills (note, BU cannot recommend either and is in no way affiliated with these external companies)

Moving In

You’ve paid your deposits, signed your contract and the time has come to move in to your new home. Some useful things to consider prior to arriving and in the first few weeks:

  1. Check-in date – Double check when you are able to arrive (refer to your contract or speak with your agent/landlord)
  2. Keys – Arrange in advance where and how you pick up your keys.
  3. Inventory – Make sure that you have one of these and that you have read and checked what’s in your property and what condition it is in (this will be important when you move out to avoid unnecessary charges). If you disagree with anything then speak with your agent/landlord immediately. Keep a copy of this safe.
  4. Utilities – If you have not already set up your accounts in advance (see Booking you property, 8.) the you will need to do this immediately as if you don’t your supplier will continue to bill you based on their estimates.
  5. Council Tax – If you are a full-time student you will be exempt from paying council tax. However, in order to do this you will need to provide your local council with a document confirming this. You will be provided with this information when you enrol. For further information click here
  6. Rubbish – Make sure you know what date your bins are collected, where to leave them for pick-up and return to after.
  7. Neighbours – Go and introduce yourselves to the neighbours. It is important to build a good relationship early on to avoid issues arising later.
  8. Noise – You live in a wider community who were there before you arrived and will be there after you depart. You need to keep noise levels to an acceptable level (see 7.) otherwise the local Safer Neighbourhood Team, BU Community Wardens and/or Council will get involved.
  9. Maintenance – Check you all know how to report any problems or issues with your property.
  10. Help and advice – Know where to go if you need any help or support during your time in the property. This will probably be your landlord in the first instance but if you have rented though LettingsBU our friendly team of Housing Officers are available if you’re having any problems. You can also contact SUBU Advice.

Moving Out

So, you’ve arrived at the end of your contract, you’ve lived and learned and you’re ready to move out and move on. Before you go you should consider:

  1. Utilities – Close all utility accounts and pay outstanding balances.
  2. Cleaning – Clean up your mess and take it with you. The landlord/agent will expect the property to be returned in an acceptable standard. If you don’t you should expect to be charged through your deposit.
  3. Keys – Ensure you know who to return your keys to.
  4. Deposit – Once you and your agent/landlord have agreed on how much deposit you will get back they have 10 days to return this to you. If there is a dispute this will be handled by the deposit protection service who holds your deposit.

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