Think you've found the perfect student house?
Don't forget to check these things before signing the contract!
The Landlord/Agent: Are they PAL accredited? Would you feel able to approach them if anything went wrong? Will an inventory be provided when you move in? (if it isn't, it is adviseable that you create your own and send it through to your Landlord/Agent for their records).
Cost: What is the deposit? Will your deposit be placed into a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme? (It is a legal requirement for your deposit to be protected). Is the rent affordable?
Location: How far is it from University? Is the area well lit? Will you feel safe walking to/from University? If you have a car, is there suitable parking?
Condition of the Property: How does the property look? Are there any signs of dampness or condensation, such as mould on the walls or carpets? Do all the lights work? Is there hot and cold running water?
Furniture and Fittings: What is the condition of the furniture? Is there adequate storage space? Are any appliances provided and are they in good condition? Does the cooker and fridge work?
Safety: Is there an in-date gas safety certificate? Have all the appliances been PAT tested in the last 12 months (look for stickers on the plugs)? Are there working smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector? Is there a fire blanket in the kitchen and fire extinguishers elsewhere in the house? Is there an evacuation plan? How secure are the locks on the bedroom doors, windows and front/back doors? Does the door have a bolt or chain?
Outside Space: Is there a garden? If so, is it secure? Who is responsible for maintaining the garden? (Look in the tenancy agreement/contract).
Make sure you have fully read and understood your contract before you sign it. A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, so it is vital that you fully understand and agree to the terms before you sign it.
And finally... do not feel pressured to sign a contract or pay money to a Landlord or Agent. If you are feeling pressured into signing a contract, that is not a good sign! Get advice immediately if this is the case.
If you want any advice regarding finding housing, understanding tenancy agreements or dealing with housing issues - get in touch with the SU Advice and Support team; you can drop in anytime from 10:00-16:00 (Monday to Friday), call 01707 285022 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.