Things Students Should Know Before Renting

  • Budget carefully!.Your biggest cost as a student is likely to be your rent.  However there will be other costs such as utility bills, tv licence etc.
  • Know your rights as a tenant. If you do get any problems – ask for help, the accommodation officer is there for exactly that reason!
  • Things that may seem fun at the time may not be as amusing when you get deductions from your damage deposit.
  • You should be provided with a copy of the Gas Safety certificate before they moving in – if it isn’t provided, ask for it.
  • All deposits should be held under the terms of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Landlords must inform you of the scheme that they are using within 14 days of accepting a deposit.
  • Get the Tenancy Agreement signed by The Landlord as soon as the terms are agreed.  If a Landlord changes their mind before the Tenancy Agreement is signed, all they are required to do is return the holding deposit.  This could be an enormous problem if it is the day before you are due to move in.
  • If there is an inventory inspection at the start and the end of the tenancy, you will be in a much stronger position to defend against dubious claims against your deposit. If the Landlord does not do one, consider producing their own and sending it to them – including pictures of any damage.
  • Think carefully about the number of people you will be sharing with.  Cost per person when renting tends to fall as the number of people sharing increases (maxing at 4). Student houses that sleep 5+ are classed as Houses in Multiple Occupation and become more expensive for the Landlord to run, which in turn adds cost to the tenant.
  • If a property is rented on a shared basis then only one TV Licence will be required. If you have individual tenancy agreements a separate licence will be required for each person that has a TV in their room.
  • Full time students are exempt from paying council tax.
  • If you are going through a letting agent then expect referencing and admin fees.  These can be expensive.  Try to negotiate these fees down – it can be worth it.  Ask how long the property has been on the market for when looking around, If it has been available for a while, you may be in a stronger position to negotiate.
  • Most Tenancy Agreements run for 12 months. It is possible to get a break clause inserted which allows you to leave after 6 months (with a month or twos notice), although this tends to be more common in non-student areas.  It is quite common in and around London.
  • Burglars tend to target student areas.  Students tend to less security conscious and have electrical goods. Make sure that the house has good security and research the area well.  Then bear this in mind – don’t make it easy for them but leaving doors unlocked/windows open/electronic equipment clearly on display.
  • Choose the people you share with carefully.  They will make or break the time you spend renting. Consider all factors – for example: whether you want to rent with all male/female house mates (and the benefits/problems this may cause), if you rent with a couple consider that they may break-up! How messy/tidy people are compared to you.

Other tips:

  • Think location – where is the nearest pub, how far to the nearest supermarket (shopping bags can get surprisingly heavy when carried for long distances!).
  • Make sure that everybody is clear about their financial committment i.e. their share of the rent, when it is due, the length of the tenancy (including non-term time), their share of utility bills etc.  If everyone sets
  • Make sure that all the bills are in joint names.
  • If you live more as a group, it can make it cheaper.  For example making larger meals as a household rather than everyone cooking individually.   However this may not suit everyone.
  • You could have a household kitty for essentials - cleaning supplies, toilet rolls etc 
  • If there are four or five of you think about employing a cleaner to come for a couple of hours twice a week to do the communal areas. This is likely to cost about £25 a week or £5 each which could be a small price to avoid arguments. It is a logic defying fact that everbody in a shared house thinks that they do more cleaning than everyone else. The cleaner should not do the washing up.
  • Agree when parties / playing loud music should not take place.


Can you think of any others?  Post them below.


Sometimes students need to buy renters insurance. Students in on-campus dorms are usually covered by their parents' homeowners policy, while students in off-campus apartments probably need renters insurance. However, the renters insurance can have different coverage. There is a good article that describes all types of coverage that renters policy may have.
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