Students renting a home for the first time may face many challenges. This includes inflated contracts and exaggerated charges from lettings agents.
Areas where a student tenant gets fleeced are
- Credit reference fees
- Inventory fees
- Insurance fees
- Checking-out fees
- Cleaning fees
Naive students think they have no choice but to pay up.
But there is a way to handle it. The agency must be asked to provide a list of possible costs in order to avoid speculative expenses. Negotiate with the agent the charges in terms of the agency cost for doing services including a credential check.
Report the levying of excessive charges to University Accommodation department and take action if the charges are out of sync with the actual cost. Agents are not supposed to charge for showing the properties.
Always negotiate the rent down as the rent set by the landlord is only an asking price just as in a house buying. House prices have fallen and landlords are paying less for their mortgages. There is no reason you should be paying a higher rent than last year’s tenants.
Take checklists while viewing property. Speak to the existing tenants when the landlord is not around; get a true picture of how it is like living in a property and whether the landlord has been prompt in responding to requests for repairs.
Take a checklist
Follow the rental guide while viewing a property. Have a checklist that details things to watch out for.
The landlord or agency may insist everyone occupying the property to be bound on the tenancy agreement with jointly and severally liable clause. Avoid such traps.
Add Break clause
Normally student housing contracts last 12 months and no break is allowed in between. But properties outside student areas can be tried by shortening the length of contract. Get a break clause inserted in the tenancy which allows either party to give two months’ notice to end the tenancy after six months.
Since April 2007, it is legally required of landlords to safeguard the deposit paid by tenants and must place the money in one of three government-approved chests.
Never take a word of landlord that is an unnecessary paperwork and your money will be safe so long as you keep the place tidy. Legally the landlord, within 14 days of taking the deposit will tell the tenant where the money is and how it can be back.