Manchester Metropolitan University Students' Union
 

Rent Right: Ten things to do before you sign a housing contract

Friday 27-10-2017 - 11:45
Rentright 2017 blog 01

Campus may look beautiful this time of year, with the trees changing colour and the air getting colder, but October and November also means that house hunting is at the top of most student’s minds.

With 14,000 student houses in Manchester, it’s a myth that the best houses go before Christmas. You can check out our Rent Right facts,  and before you jump into anything, there are lots of things worth thinking about — everything from a decent landlord, to cost and location can affect your renting experience.

We’ve put together this handy guide to take the hassle out of your property search.

 

 

 

 

- Research the area you want to live in

Local amenities, crime rate, public transport links and proximity to your campus are some key things to consider.

Take a look at the Transport for Greater Manchester website which has a journey planner to help you work out how long it will take to get to uni, and which buses are available as well as other useful public transport information.

 

- Think about safety and security

Go to property viewings as a group and be aware of your personal safety. Check that the property is secure and think about how safe the area feels.

You can check out what type and how much crime has been in the are you are thinking of living in using the Crime Statistics website. Crime does happen, and it’s something to try not to be anxious about, but the awareness can help you stay safe.

 

- Work out your budget

Be aware of all the costs involved and decide how much you can afford to pay. Remember that in addition to rent, as well as a deposit and any extra fees, you may need to account for the cost of electric, gas, a TV licence, contents insurance, internet and water.

The NUS have a guide to costs or check out the Money Advice Services bills and rent guide to calculate how much you might pay. There are also budget tracker sheets you can pick up from outside the Advice Centre.

 

- Make sure you move in with the right people

You are signing a legally binding contract, which is a huge step to take with people you haven’t known for very long. Take your time and make sure nobody is having second thoughts.

 

- Go house hunting as a group

You should all visit the property and agree on it before you sign the contract. Remember, if you are a joint tenant (meaning all your names are included in the contract), you are all equally liable for the rent and damages for the entire property. If one of you decides to leave or refuses to move in, the full rent is still due.

 

- Take your time, don’t feel rushed and always ask questions

It’s a good idea to compare a few properties before you make a decision. NUS have put together a useful checklist of things to look out for when you are viewing a property - read it here.

 

- Check whether the landlord is accredited

Make sure your landlord or agency is accredited by Manchester Student Homes. This means that they have demonstrated a commitment to meet certain standards and gives you more protection if things go wrong during your tenancy.

 

- Make sure you get an inventory

It is important to document the condition of the property and any fixtures, fittings and furniture. Make a written inventory as well as taking lots of photos and videos.

 

- Check the details of the tenancy deposit

As long as you leave the house in the same condition as when you moved in, you should receive your full tenancy deposit back. Your deposit should be kept in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme and this can help you negotiate your deposit back if necessary. Shelter has some advice to help you check if your tenancy deposit is protected and lists the 3 different schemes.

 

- Bring your tenancy agreement to the Advice Centre so we can check it.

Let us look over the small print for you so that you can be sure of what you are signing.

You can have a look at the Housing advice booklet too, which has helpful information about finding accommodation, council tax, deposits and much more.

 

Feeling overwhelmed, don’t know where to start, or just want to check you’re on the right track? We are here to help.

If you need any advice or support on renting, or any other problem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Advice Centre.

T: 0161 247 6533

E: s.u.advice@mmu.ac.uk

W: theunionmmu.org/advice

Categories:

Advice

Related Tags :

rent, right, advice, Housing, contract,

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