Tuesday 01-11-2016 - 17:09
All across the UK, students are already being pestered to sign tenancy agreements for September 2017.
Estate agents and landlords will ramp up the pressure: if you don’t commit now, there will be nowhere left to live.
They may also say: if you don’t sign now you’ll have to live miles from campus, or that landlords will raise rents after Christmas.
In most cases, this is a lie.
Landlords and estate agents want you to sign early for a number of reasons. Firstly, they get good interest rates on setting your deposit aside in an account for 10 months. Second, it’s actually the poor housing they want to shift first, and they target students early because they think you won’t know any better. Finally, with houses going early, there is very little incentive for landlords and agents to make improvements to conditions throughout the year, or to lower rents for competition. It saves landlords the bother of the current tenants warning new students not to rent from them if the contract is already signed.
As hard as it might seem, I want to make an appeal: wait. Don’t sign - not yet.
Wait until you know exactly who you want to live with next year. Who you’ve made friends with in the first month may not be who you’re still close to by the summer. You could end up committed to living with people you’ve fallen out with, discovered are noisy and messy, or they may not stay on in their course. If people drop out later, you could be liable to cover their rent or pay a fee to find a new tenant.
Wait until you have had a chance to really scope the local housing options. Properties to let will become available throughout the year, and many landlords advertise in the summer months leading up to term. Take the time to read the contract, compare the prices and make your decision.
Wait until you know your rights. Check out the resources on readytorent.nus.org.uk for more information on what to look for and what to avoid. Your students’ union may run a housing fair this term, so contact them for information, too.
Finally, download our new Ready To Rent posters below!