Type of contract
For student lettings, contracts are often what is called an assured shorthold tenancy agreement for a fixed term of 12 months. There are two types of these such an agreement. An individual contract is between you and a landlord. If you’re living with a group of people, and you decide to leave the house or pay the rent late, only you will be liable. With a joint tenancy agreement, everyone named on the agreement is responsible for the property and any rent or fees owed.
If you are living as a student, or you have recently moved to the UK, the chances are that you will either not have had much in the way of an employment history, or evidence that you have the funds needed to commit to a tenancy. This is why most student landlords require you to have a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who is legally obligated to pay rent on your behalf if you cannot for any reason. Be sure to check out our guide on guarantors for more information.
Deposit protection schemes
A deposit of around one month’s worth of rent will normally be taken at the time of signing a contract by a landlord, usually to cover any damage or late payment of rent. By law, landlords must put all deposits taken into a government-backed and approved deposit scheme within 30 days of taking your money. There are only three approved schemes in the UK: the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits, and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). Usually, at the end of your tenancy, you will get back some or all of your deposit.
They might be long, boring documents, but tenancy agreements are important. Miss something out, and you may feel the impact of your mistake for a whole year. Make sure you check:
- The start and end date of your tenancy.
- The amount of rent to be paid.
- If bills are included or not.
- Whether or not an inventory as been taken.
- Your obligations in detail (normally things like no pets and so on)
That every tenant’s name is on the agreement, as well as the name of your landlord.
By making sure that your tenancy agreement is all in order, you’ll be able to spend your time focusing upon your studies, and not having to worry about your housing situation. Remember, you can always seek advice from the housing advice services offered by your university or students’ union if you are not sure about something, and you are never under obligation to sign a contract with any one landlord or provider.