For many young adults leaving home for further study this is likely to be the very first time that they rent a property and enter into a Tenancy Agreement, so here are a few tips that both students and parents might want to consider.
Who will you be living with?
Most students decide to rent a shared property with a group of friends or people taking the same course. Choose wisely, as you will be entering into a legal contract with your fellow tenants and the way they conduct themselves and their actions in the property might affect you.
Check your Tenancy Agreement carefully – look out for collective responsibility clauses.
Always read your Tenancy Agreement very carefully, make sure that you understand what yours and your fellow tenant’s responsibilities are with regard to the agreement and whether if in the event that they default on their part of the rent, you are liable to cover their part of the rent as well as your own. Check what your responsibility is in terms of any damage that is inflicted on the property, if your fellow resident damages the property, are you liable for the repairs required to put that damage right, in any way? Obtain a photographic inventory of the property on the day that you move in, take pictures of any existing damage yourself and send it to your landlord or letting agent and ask that any damage be repaired as soon as possible.
Guarantors and their liabilities
In many Tenancy Agreements involving students the landlord asks for a guarantor to sign on behalf of the student. A guarantor is likely to be asked to provide evidence of income etc and is generally liable to pay the rent if the tenant defaults. A Tenancy Agreement should make it clear what the responsibility of both the tenant and the guarantor are because as soon as the agreement is signed they are both bound by its terms and conditions.
It goes without saying that you should try and rent through a reputable Letting Agent or a reputable and responsible landlord. Since April 2007 your landlord or acting agent must protect the deposit that you pay under the terms of your tenancy agreement by placing it in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme.
Your landlord should ensure that the property you’re renting is fit and safe to live in and they must provide a copy of a gas safe certificate to prove that the gas appliances in the property have been tested and serviced. An EICR Electrical condition report must also be valid on the property, these last for 5 years. If you’re living in an HMO – House of Multiple Occupancy then your landlord has additional responsibilities in terms of fire, general safety, water supply and drainage, gas and electricity, waste disposal and general upkeep of the property. Always make sure that you see the required certification and that it is up to date.
That’s the boring bit over with, Good Luck with your Exam Results and have a wonderful time, wherever you decide to study!