Chloe Bryer, a student from the University of Kent, shares her tips for student tenants.
Over the past week I have dipped into the wonderful NLA PR Office, gathering information about the private landlord sector, writing blogs, news and press releases. With my experience of renting for a year combined with work experience for the NLA, I thought I might be well placed to pass on some tips to students renting for the first time…
Most of the student accommodation in Canterbury is relatively nice however you can find a few places not quite up to scratch. Our house was relatively new and came with unlimited bills, internet and a TV package – this seemed a good deal at the time. We opted out of the hassle of paying individual bills but we were soon to learn we had chosen a more expensive year for ourselves, and as Christmas approached we had an epiphany: we would be paying for heating, gas, and electricity throughout the holidays! It definitely would have been cheaper and more sustainable to have had normal bills, especially as we were feeling optimistic about the weather during the summer term.
- Students beware! This is not a money-saving option! Of course there are perks, living in a sauna throughout the winter was luxury, but not if you’ve only got little dollar in your pocket!
We also had a revelation that we were liaising with an agent, not the landlord of our sweet little house. Having an agent shouldn’t be problematic, but trying to contact them and never hearing a reply is. On the whole our agent was relatively good in solving our problems; however it appeared he was juggling other properties as well as his own property portfolio, meaning he had little time left for us. In addition, if it was a parent who rang him instead of us students, the issue would be resolved in a matter of hours.
- Students it is okay to pester your landlord if you need something fixing urgently.
- You’re allowed to be persistent. It is also okay to act professionally.
- They are running a business and are getting paid to provide you a service.
- However, you are using their service and should want them to trust you, e.g. care for the house!
Students you should also know where money is going – especially your deposit! If you DONT have mummy and daddy paying for you then make sure you know who your paying and when!
- Try to plan, save and don’t leave your payments outstanding! You may receive a reminder, but not all agents/landlords are this kind.
- The better you are at this the better your credit history will be.
- Do not hand over unprotected money up front, it is absolutely necessary to check if your deposit is protected and part of a Tenancy Deposit Scheme, like my|deposits.
Hope this has given a few pointers, but remember student tenants; you have the right to question and liaise with whoever you’re renting from, just like any other tenant.