Viewing and securing properties

So, you’ve found the perfect housemates and have decided where you want to live… now you just need to find the property.

Viewing properties

If you’re starting your student property search on Rightmove, you can simply request a viewing of the room or property by calling the agent or company marketing the property, or sending an enquiry directly through the site. You can find more information on finding a place to rent here.

Most letting agents will take you to view a few properties in one go, often with several other groups of students who are interested in the same property type which can put pressure on you to make a decision. Be patient and try to see as many properties as you can to give yourself a fair idea of the accommodation available.

In order to make the viewing process as stress–free as possible, consider the following when arranging/going to viewings:

  • Can everyone you will be living with make the viewing appointments? Decisions are far easier when made as a group.
  • Have you got a device to take photos? It is useful to take photos of the all the different properties you are viewing, so that you are able to remember which ones you liked and which ones you didn’t.
  • Have you remembered our Property Viewing Checklist? This is a helpful prompt for questions that you may otherwise forget to ask.
  • Have you remembered a notebook and pen? Use this to write down answers to any questions you have asked the letting agent, as well as any other notes that will be useful later on.
TIP: More guidance on what to look for on viewings, and to download our renter viewing checklist, can be found here.

To avoid living in a property you’re not all pleased with, try and ensure that you and your housemates can all make the viewings so you can make decisions as a group on the spot if necessary.

REMEMBER: It’s far easier to avoid a property that doesn’t meet your requirements than it is to live in a property that you are not happy with!

Securing a property

Once you’ve found a property you like, you’ll need to make an offer in order to secure it. This will ensure the property is yours and cannot be offered to anyone else.

More information on making an offer can be found here.

At this stage, the landlord or agent may also ask for a holding fee or deposit.

 

Once you’re ready to sign tenancy agreements and complete the transaction, there are some other costs that you’ll need to pay:

Administration fees

At the point of accepting a property, the landlord or agent may ask you to pay fees to cover things such as drawing up tenancy agreements, inventories and checking references. These fees can be described by terms such as administration fees, agency fees or booking fees.

Tenancy Deposit

Dependent on whether you are renting as an individual, or as a group, the deposit amount will be variable. It is usually the equivalent of between one calendar month and six weeks’ worth of rent.

Recent laws have been put into place regarding deposits and it is now a legal necessity that all deposits are paid into a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP). This scheme is a cautionary measure to protect all renters (not just students) and their deposits.

You can find comprehensive information on tenancy deposits, and the companies you need to know, here.

Upfront Rent

Agents can, and often do, ask for one month’s rent in advance in addition to the security deposit. If you have to pay rent in advance you should check when the next rent payment is due.

Tenancy Agreement

When providing a deposit, you will also need to ensure you sign a tenancy agreement, which will lay out the terms and conditions that both your landlord and all tenants need to adhere to.

It is advisable that you read through the document thoroughly and ask your landlord/letting agent to explain anything you are unsure about. If you still have questions that have not been answered you can speak to a member of your student union who will be able to assist you further.

Guarantor

Don’t be surprised if you are asked by an agent or landlord to provide details of a guarantor. This means that if you miss any rent payments, they have a backup from whom they can take the money owed. This is usually a parent but could be any adult as long as you have their consent and proof that they are a suitable guarantor.