Private Rented Accommodation

Private Rented Accommodation

Private rented accommodation is generally cheaper than halls of residence, but remember that you may have to pay for utility bills (water, gas and electricity) separately from the rent. 'Private Rented Accommodation' refers to privately owned rooms, flats and houses being let out by their owners for residential purposes.  The rent is paid either weekly or monthly and you would normally sign a 'Tenancy Agreement' contract with the owner. 

This site contains information to guide you through the process of renting in the private sector.  


 

Looking for someone to share a house or flat with?  
The best way to team-up with potential flatmates is via our Facebook page. You can post adverts, including information about yourself, course of study, what sort of accommodation sought, price, area etc.


 

Cost and Types of Accommodation

Type of Accommodation

The first thing you have to decide is whether you are going to live:

  • by yourself in a separate flat
  • as part of a group of students in shared accommodation, or
  • in a room in a householder's dwelling.

The first option is naturally the most popular but it is also the most expensive. Prices for a one bedroom flat with a separate living room and kitchen begin around £230 per week. For this reason most students opt to share a house as part of a group rather than live on their own. The other alternative is to live in 'lodgings'.

Lodgings

This means sharing a house or flat with the householder and possibly their family. Advantages may include meals, utility bills and laundry but be aware, householders in lodgings can impose their own rules - For example: coming home late or having visitors.

London is the most expensive city in the UK for rental prices. Weekly rent can vary greatly according to the standard of accommodation, the area, the local transport links and proximity from central London.  It is not possible to give precise costs but the prices quoted in this guide are based on rents for summertime 2014 and should offer some indication. 

The prices given below are an indication of the North and City London areas which are near to the University.

Type of accommodation

London North *

London City *

Single or double studio flat

£220 — £315

£240 - £315

Room in a shared house

£80 — £200

£110 - £210

Room in a self contained flat

£260 — £600+

£300 - £600+

* Rent (per person per week) 

The average rent of a single room can vary quite considerably depending on the area, the facilities and amenities available. The average rent for a single room (exclusive of bills) varies between £80 and £180 per week in London North and £100 to £195 London City campus.

Here is a useful link to the Mayor of London's postcode/pricing facility which provides guidance on rental prices for the different areas in London:
http://www.london.gov.uk/rents/


 

Deposits

Deposits are returnable in full when you leave the accommodation, unless the householder makes a justifiable deduction for damages or rent arrears.Most householders request a deposit in advance of a tenant moving into the property, this is usually a sum of money ranging from four to six weeks rent. Landlords require this to cover themselves against damage to property, rent arrears, the possibility that you will leave oustanding bills or without adequate notice.

HOLDING DEPOSITS
Landlords and Rental Agencies sometimes charge potential tenants a “holding deposit”, which is supposed to ensure that you are the only person being considered for renting a certain property. It is also supposed to stop landlords/agents marketing the property once you have paid the holding deposit.

 However:

  • This does not mean other agencies are not advertising the property on behalf of the landlord.
  • This does not guarantee you a contract of the property.
  • You could LOSE YOUR MONEY if YOU decide not to rent the property.

 Always:

  • Read & make sure you understand the terms and conditions before you pay any money. Keep a copy for your records.
  • Get a receipt with all the details. 

Deposit Protection Scheme

A Landlord must provide evidence that a deposit has been protected within 14 days of receipt. For further information about the types of schemes in place and the tenant's rights please use the following website.If a tenant pays a deposit for an Assured shorthold tenancy (the most common form of contract) to a householder or letting agent; this deposit must be protected through a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This basically means your deposit money has to be given to a independant organisation for safe keeping in an account during you tenancy.

www.direct.gov.uk/en/TenancyDeposit/index.htm

If any disputes do arise between a householder and a tenant at the end of a tenancy, then an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) will be in place to mediate between the two parties.

Reclaiming Your Deposit

At the end of a tenancy, once the tenant and landlord have agreed how much is to be paid back, it must be paid back within ten days.

If there is any dispute between the landlord and yourselves then both must agree to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service. You will also have to agree to be bound by its decision with no recourse to the courts. Courts will only be involved in disputes if the landlord and tenant do not agree to use the ADR service. 

Inventories
Note: Before moving out of accommodation it is always a good idea to thoroughly clean and tidy it. That way, when the householder comes around to inspect, you will be presenting the property in a state which demonstrates that you have been a considerate tenant. Landlords/agents may charge for professional cleaning if the accommodation is left in a mess. They will deduct the cost of this from your deposit, if they do always ask for a receipt to prove the correct cleaning bill is charged.
To avoid later disputes, prior to handing over a deposit it is important to get an inventory of which items are in the accommodation and its condition before you move in. If possible, get the householder to agree a written list with you. If this is not possible make a note of the condition yourself taking photographs (or better still a video) of any scratched surfaces, marked walls, torn carpets, stained tables etc. which are already there.


 

Moving In

Before you move into a property, you should ideally have signed a tenancy agreement with the landlord.  If the landlord has taken any deposit from you, you should be aware of how deposits are handled (refer to the Deposits and Deposit Protection Scheme information here).

Fire Safety Issues

Fire safety checks
The fumes from burning sofas and settees account for most of the deaths during house fires. This is why it is vital you fit smoke alarms as soon as you move in. It is illegal for a landlord to fit furniture in rented accommodation which is not fully fire retardant. Check for kitemark labels on all furniture and covers.Are there smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in the house? (if not ask your landlord/agent to provide them) Check your ‘fireline’ (this is the direct route from your bedroom to the nearest door out of the building). Extra caution should be employed if it takes you through the kitchen. Is there plasterboard or solid brick on the walls of the stairwell leading to the exits? (this slows down the fire giving you time to get out) Does the kitchen have a firm interior door? All these features contribute significantly to how quickly a fire can spread so it is a good idea to check them.

More information regarding Fire Safety can be found here.

Gas safety

Facts about carbon monoxide

Average: 46 deaths and 220 injuries per year As for gas, can you spot soot or discolouration above fireplaces, boilers or water heaters? Do appliances burn with a yellow/orange flame? (It should always be blue). These are signs of carbon monoxide gas which can kill. By law all landlords must have their gas fittings checked once a year by a 'Gas Safe' registered gas fitter and they should be able to show you a valid Gas Safe certificate. Even if your landlord does have a certificate do the above checks anyway and get a carbon monoxide alarm. We would strongly advise you to invest in a carbon monoxide detector. They cost around £6 but check that they comply with BS7860. 

More information regarding Gas Safe Register can be found here 

The majority of those who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning lived in bedsits or shared accommodation. Carbon monoxide is:

  • Invisible
  • Odourless
  • Tasteless

It occurs when gas is not burning properly and once it is absorbed into the body it affects the oxygen supply. Early symptoms include drowsiness, headaches, confusion, nausea and in mild cases carbon monoxide poisoning causes persistent ill health which makes it impossible to concentrate on college work. In extreme cases it could cause death and is responsible for killing people every year and has left others with permanent brain damage. 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say that on average 1600 reports of dangerous gas fittings are made each year. The main causes are cited as gas leaks and 
inadequate fixed Ventilation.

Checklist

Check that the installer is registered by calling GAS SAFE REGISTER on 0800 408 5500 (free from a UK landline) or visiting www.gassaferegister.co.ukCheck that your householder has a current GAS SAFE (Certificate for Registered Gas Installers) certificate. This should be renewed every year and must be given to the tenants and/or displayed in the property.

If in further doubt, phone British Gas or your local Environmental Health Service who could also carry out checks.

For more infromation including safety advice and legal advice:

 


 

Communal Living

One of the most rewarding experiences of being a student is communal living. Shared duties and responsibilities play a big part when living with others. Students must be aware of the importance of flexibility when carrying out these duties, if it is to be successful. Invaluable lessons can be learned from these experiences and will no doubt influence any decisions made in the future about living arrangements.

Bills

Paying bills can sometimes cause friction between people living communally. That is why it is important to set out clearly how each bill is going to be paid (whether by cheque, online, direct debit etc) and who is going to take responsibility for it. If there are a number of tenants sharing it may be an idea to allocate payment responsibility of one bill each. If using direct debit, it may be a good idea to set up a seperate bank account for bills.

Joint Tenancies

When moving into a shared house you will generally be required to sign a 'joint tenancy'. Under a joint tenancy you are all 'jointly and severally liable' for the rent. This means that the rent must be paid by all of you as if you were one person. If someone moves out they should continue to pay their share of the rent until their name is replaced on the tenancy. However, if they don't, the remaining tenants will have to make up the shortfall until a replacement is found. You cannot tell the landlord that you are only paying 'your share' as the landlord is entitled to ask for the whole amount whoever is living there. 


TV Licences


If you have a television in your home you need to get a TV licence to cover it. Your parents' licence will not be sufficient. For details please visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/students (TV Licensing).

Insurance

Your landlord must insure the building which you are renting but this only covers the structure not the contents. It is your responsibility to insure your possessions against theft, damage and accident.  If possible get your parents to extend their insurance policy to include your possessions, this also reduces the overall 'premium' (annual cost of insurance) which you will have to pay. There are two types of insurance available, 'old for new' and 'indemnity'.

It is important to remember that insurance companies will only pay out up to the amount of insurance you purchased from them. If you under insure (pay less than the figure they set to cover the items you valued and listed in your original cover policy) then the company will only pay out an equivalent percentage of your losses. 

It's always best to compare the best contents insurance deals online, you can do so via many comparison sites including moneysupermarket.com

Before you insure your goods it is important to get them valued. Keep receipts when you buy 
expensive items.

Where to look for private rented accommodation

Kangaroom
www.kangaroom.net
The Kangaroom site pulls together accommodation adverts from various different external on-line sources

London Student Housing Guide 
www.studenthousing.lon.ac.uk 

On-line version of the London Student Housing Guide packed with useful information that will help students make informed choices about where and how they live in London. 

Spare room
http://london.spareroom.co.uk/

Find A Property 
www.findaproperty.com 

Move Flat 
www.moveflat.com 

Accommodation for Students 
www.accommodationforstudents.com

Accommodation Sourcing Agencies

Convoy Education Ltd
http://convoyeducation.co.uk/

Rent Advice
http://rentadvice.co.uk/

 

Convoy Education and Rent Advice are private companies who assists students moving to London and help find suitable accommodation.
Please be aware there will be a fee for these services, for more information please click on the links above.

Check who the owner is...

The Land Register 
http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/

Since 1990, the land register has been open to the public. For a small fee (e.g. £3.00 online) anyone can inspect the register and obtain a copy of any registered title. This can be done by post, personal visit to the District Land Registry concerned or online.

Transport Links

Transport for London (tube & bus) 

www.tfl.gov.uk 

National Rail Enquiries 
www.nationalrail.co.uk 

Relevant Bus Maps 
Holloway Road (North Campus) 
Highbury and Islington (North Campus) 
Aldgate (City Campus) 
Moorgate (City Campus) 
Liverpool Street (City Campus) 

Google Map 
maps.google.co.uk 

Multimap 
www.multimap.com 

Advice links for Tenants Renting in the Private Sector

Shelter advice for students living in Private rented accommodation (England)
Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies: A guide for tenants 

The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Welsh Assembly Government (2007) 

Tenants: Keeping your deposit safe 
The Department for Communities and Local Government (2007) 

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_for_young_people/students

The Deposit Protection Service 
www.depositprotection.com 

My Deposits 
www.mydeposits.co.uk/ 

Tenancy Deposit Schemes 
www.tenancy-deposit-schemes.co.uk/

Student Storage
http://www.kellystore.co.uk/