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Posted May 5, 2022

What are your renting rights as a student in the UK?

Student renting rightsIf you’re moving out of your hometown or to a different country for your postgraduate studies, then finding the right student accommodation is undoubtedly a major priority.

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To avoid being a cautionary tale about the perils of renting as a uni student, familiarise yourself with your renting rights as a student to empower yourself to rent confidently. In this article we are going to look at some of the must-know information about renting rights for students in the UK.

1. Managing repairs

Whether it’s a clogged sink or a broken heater, some household repairs during your tenancy are likely unavoidable. Fortunately, if you’re renting, the bulk of major repairs should be managed by your landlord. Some of the issues your landlord should be financing include damages to the structure of the property, for example walls, roof, windows and doors, heating, and the safety of gas and electrical appliances. If the property is vandalised, it is not your duty to take care of it either. Smaller repairs like changing a light bulb would be something you’d have to manage. And of course, if you’ve damaged something, it would be your responsibility to fix it. If you are renting in ‘Housing with Multiple Occupants’, meaning you’re in a shared house with three or more people who aren’t from the same family, then there are certain safety standards that need to be met in your home. You have the right to live in a home that isn’t overcrowded and it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate requirements are met, depending on the size of the property. The home should also have the necessary safety mechanisms such as smoke alarms, and electrics should be checked every five years. If these requirements are not met, then you have the right to request that the landlord carry out the necessary checks.

2. Your tenancy deposit

When you agree to rent a private apartment, you’ll likely have to put down a “tenancy deposit” upfront, which is typically equal to 4-5 weeks’ rent. One important thing to keep in mind is that the tenancy deposit should not amount to more than five weeks of rent unless your rental payment amounts to more than £50,000 per year.

3. Changes in rent amount?

It is good to be aware that your landlord cannot change the rent at any time and by any amount they wish to. They need to follow certain regulations, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you have. If you have something called an “assured shorthold tenancy”, the most common type of tenancy contract, then the landlord might be able to  change the rent amount at regular intervals, typically yearly. Any other windows for change in rent need to be indicated in the tenancy agreement beforehand.

4. When can your landlord take money from your tenancy deposit?

It is important to know what reasons justify deductions from your initial tenancy deposit. The landlord can’t take money out of the deposit for “reasonable wear and tear” such as a piece of furniture becoming worn out over time. However, deductions can be made if you have outstanding rent or if you’ve damaged items in the property. The amount that the landlord can claim from the deposit has to be proportionate to the amount needed for any repairs.

5. An alternative housing option

IFreshf staying on top of renting matters seems like a lot to handle to you, then you are not alone. Fortunately, there are alternative housing options available for postgraduate students. Many university students choose an accommodation provider, like Fresh, that takes care of the nitty-gritty details for them so they can focus on enjoying the postgrad life. Fresh, for example, works on a one-stop billing system so you don't have to keep track of separate billing dates for rent and utilities. Additionally, you can move in with the confidence that if there are any repairs to be made, someone from the Fresh team will help you in a timely fashion. Accommodation providers like Fresh ensure a hassle-free student housing situation for you, which is why they’re such a popular option in the UK and beyond.

Unless you’re pursuing your postgrad studies remotely or in your current city or town, most people have to move at least within the country to get their graduate degree. Moving can be tedious and you definitely want to find a space that’s safe, comfortable and where you won’t run into challenges with renting. Also, your main focus is probably to ace the course that you’ve signed up for. That’s why it’s key to be aware of the renting rules and regulations, and of course, your renting rights in the area that you move to. It’s best to research these beforehand so that you can have a stress-free accommodation experience as a postgrad student.

Fresh is one of many potential private accommodation options for international postgraduate students. Other private student accommodation options are available and advises you to research all your options thoroughly before making such a commitment. Postgrad Solutions accepts no responsibility for your choice of student accommodation and does not endorse or support Fresh. Fresh Student Living Ltd is registered in England and Wales under company number 07268209. The VAT number is 142920528.

Alisa May WriterWriter: Alisa Maya is a graduate student at the UCL Institute of Education.

She is passionate about improving learning experiences for all through EdTech.

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