We can help with most problems including landlords, contracts, deposits, council tax and difficulties with housemates. If you can't find the information here that you need, or you would like to discuss something in confidence, then get in touch with us.
The Shelter website has a lot of useful information about rights when renting.
Letter template for challenging deductions
Check to see if your deposit is protected
Unfair terms in tenancy agreements
The Office of Fair Trading has an online leaflet which gives guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements.
If you are looking to find accommodation then contact the University’s Accommodation Service, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01494 603 063.
Recent updates to regulations for renting
“Right to rent” regulations are designed to stop people who are in the UK without permission from obtaining access to rented accommodation. In order to not be discriminatory, those regulations apply to all British nationals, EU nationals and nationals of all other countries. You should not be offended if a landlord asks to see your passport or other documents which confirm your immigration status. A landlord or letting agent will wish to protect their position in law by checking that a prospective tenant is lawfully here. A British or EU national can satisfy the check by showing their passport or other documents such as a driving licence or a birth certificate. For international students who are here lawfully, the checks are equally simple and can be satisfied by showing a student visa and a letter from the University confirming that you are a registered student.
List of documents which you may need to show your landlord, if asked:
• UK passport
• EU passport or identity card
• other (than UK or EU) passport with a stamp that shows the holder is allowed to stay in the UK for a time-limited period (student visa stamp)
• permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
• Home Office immigration status document
• letter from the University confirming your enrolment.
The landlord must:
View the original versions of the acceptable documents for all adult tenants, in the presence of the holder of the documents, and retain copies with a record of the date on which the check is made.”
The information contained above was taken from Code of practice for landlords: Avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector.
Click here for a general description on your rights as a tenant. For more specific advice it is recommended that you seek help from the Students’ Union Advice Centre.
Changes to tenancy fees
Since 1st June 2019 most tenancy fees have been banned. This covers most private tenancies including assured shorthold tenancies, student housing, and lodger agreements.
What you can be charged for:
• Late payment of rent, once you are 14 days or more late. The rate must be mentioned in the contract you sign. Rules exist on the limits to this amount.
• Loss of keys or fobs.
• Ending your tenancy early. This can only be to cover the loss incurred by your landlord or agents reasonable costs.
• Changing or assigning your tenancy. If you want to change a term or assign a term to someone else, you can be charged a maximum of £50.
• Renewing your tenancy. You can only be charged when your fixed term ends if you signed an agreement before Saturday 1 June 2019.
• letter from the University confirming your enrolment.
What you can't be charged for, all other fees are banned. This includes fees for:
• Credit and immigration checks.
If you pay a banned fee to your landlord, they can’t give you a section 21 notice until they refund the fee.
Further information on the changes since June 1st 2019 can be found here.
Becoming a tenant
When you sign your contract you are making an agreement to the landlord/agency/council that you are renting your home from. Within that agreement you will have certain responsibilities that you have to ensure you keep to. If you are unsure if the contract is fair, contact the Students’ Union Advice Centre for advice and guidance. In the meantime, watch this short video that explains your basic responsibilities.
Choose your housemates wisely. Take into consideration the habits of the people that you will be living with. Get to know the people you are looking to live with to understand if they will be a good housemate for you.
Having people over to stay can cause conflicts in a house. Overnight and occasional guests are fine, but when that person stays for long periods of time and gets in the way of your other housemates.
Set some ground rules for washing and clearing up, who is responsible for what and when.
Split the household bills equally. You can use services that will do this for you, but these will often have a charge to them. Click here if you want to read more on bill splitting.
Disagreements with housemates can happen, it is best to try and resolve this calmly before they get too big and talking to your other housemates becomes too difficult. You might find it useful to get advice from the Students’ Union Advice Centre on how to deal with issues at home. If you are having a relationship breakdown and you are on a joint tenancy you should be aware that you are still responsible for the rent unless you have legally ended it.
If you have a fixed term tenancy agreement and need to leave your tenancy early, you need to either:
• Use a break clause
if your contract has one.
• Negotiate with your landlord
If one of you wants to stay you still need to end the tenancy properly. The person staying should sort out a new agreement. If they don’t you will both be liable for rent.