Renting in the UK – A Beginners Guide For International Students

Now you have decided to study in the UK and you want to rent rather than stay with a Host Family or in Halls of Residence, but how do you find a house? Are you scared? Don’t worry! We have created an easy-to-follow guide for renting in the UK!

Where do I look?

 

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Firstly, you will need to decide if you will rent through a Landlord or a Letting Agent. A Landlord is the person who owns the property, so you will communicate directly with them. This option is usually cheaper, but harder to find. Also, when you rent in the UK, it can be very difficult to know if you can trust a private landlord.

A Letting agent does the work for the Landlord, and we would recommend choosing this option if you want more guidance. However, most letting agents will charge an agency fee, (of an average price of £200 per tenant).

To check if your landlord or letting agent is accredited, you can enter their details here.

How do I choose my new home?

 

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The internet is the best place to start, without a doubt. The best websites in the UK for house-hunting are as follows:

Spareroom.com – great for finding other students to live with

Rightmove.com – perfect if you want to rent an entire house/apartment

Facebook – for all of the above!

Once you have found a place you like you can contact the host and let them know you are interested. Don’t forget to tell them how long you wish to stay for. There is usually a fixed period of six to twelve months and landlords might ask you to pay 6 months’ rent in advance!

I like it! Now what?

 

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Book a viewing! Never sign a tenancy agreement when renting in the UK before visiting the property in person. Some people load fake property profiles onto websites to trick you into giving them your money, so be careful.

During the viewing check to see if you think the house is safe to live in. You can do this by checking 4 main areas:

  1. Condition of the property (Damp and mould/cold/heat).
  2. Risk of fire and Accidents (Fire risks/Electrical hazards/Trip and fall hazards).
  3. Risks of infection (Hygiene/Water supply/Pests and vermin).
  4. Space and security (Security/Overcrowding/Lighting and noise).

Other things to check are if the property is equipped with a Carbon monoxide and smoke alarm. These are essential for your safety and you should insist both are fitted before your tenancy begins.

Be sure to tell the Landlord or agent straight away if you are concerned with any of the above!

I want it! What do I do?

After you have viewed a few properties, you can decide on your favourite and inform the host. If this property is available, then they will give you a document called a Tenancy Agreement to read and sign. This document outlines your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Make sure you read this very carefully and bring up points to the Landlord or letting agents if you do not agree with them. This document can be disputed and amended.

If you are happy with it, go ahead and sign!

The Landlord must also provide you with a Gas safety and Energy performance certificate.

When you sign for a property, you will have to pay the landlord a sum of money known as a deposit. The sum is usually one months rent. The landlord must protect this and should return the full amount providing nothing is damaged at the end of your tenancy. Make sure you understand how this money is returned to you and keep important documents regarding this.

Move in day

 

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When you rent in the UK, you will be given a booklet called an Inventory. This is made up of a series of photos and descriptions which show the current condition of the house. You will have to sign to agree that everything is correct.

So, it is very important to take your own photos, as the end of your tenancy, the landlord will inspect your room. This will determine whether deductions are made from your deposit.

Also, take a photo of the meter readings on the day you move in so that you will not be charged for the previous tenants bills.

Things to remember when renting in the UK

While you live in the rented property you as a tenant should:

  1. Pay your rent on time. You will have agreed on a date that this needs to be paid (Usually the first of the month) and how you will pay it (Direct debit or standing order).
  2. Pay your bills on time.
  3. Look after the property and report any repairs immediately.
  4. Do not take in a lodger or sub-let without permission from your landlord.

During your tenancy the Landlord has the obligation to:

  1. Deal with any repairs and maintain the appliances/furniture.
  2. Fix any reported problems to do with the exterior of the house.
  3. Insure the building in case or a fire or flooding.

Moving out

When it reaches the date at the end of your tenancy (stated on your tenancy agreement) you will need to:

  1. Thoroughly clean the house (including all communal areas)
  2. Remove all your possessions and dispose of rubbish.
  3. Arrange a moving out house inspection and make sure you are present. (To show your photos)
  4. Make sure you pay your rent and bills on time.
  5. Take a last meter reading to ensure you are paying the correct amount.

We hope this has given you a better idea of what renting in the UK is like.  However, if you would prefer to stay with a Host Family, take a look at our websites for more information – Cardiff, Bristol, Portsmouth or Southampton.

Happy house hunting!

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