Securing your term-time accomodation
We understand that moving away from home to study can be a daunting experience so helping you to find somewhere to live where you will feel comfortable and happy is important to us. Our guest blogger this month is Kirsty Provan from Perth College UHI’s HomeStay Department. Kirsty will be sharing some advice and tips on the best ways to secure your private student accommodation.
When should I start looking for accommodation?
I would recommend looking for accommodation as soon as you have accepted your place at college. Looking for the right accommodation can take time, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Some landlords may ask for references, and most landlords like to complete a credit check, so you might be faced with a delay to the application process. It’s good to give yourself plenty of time before your course begins or you may end up with heavy travelling costs or nowhere to live!
Where should I start looking for accommodation?
The best place to look for local accommodation is online. Websites such as Zoopla or Right Move have a wide range of local properties available and they will give you details such as living costs, locations and photos.
There are also websites that list rooms for rent – usually within a flat share situation and often with a live-in owner. Some of these websites are: Spareroom.co.uk, roombuddies.co.uk and roomgo.co.uk.
Please note, none of these properties are not visited or inspected by the college - nor have any services been vetted by the college.
There are various letting agents in Perth that can help you find a flat to rent on your own or with some friends. Often the minimum lease periods are for 6 months. You can visit them in person, phone up to register your interest or contact them via their websites.
What should I be aware of and what should I be checking/avoiding?
Be wary of any landlord that pressures you into paying your deposit before you’ve even seen the tenancy agreement, and equally be concerned if they don’t ask for one at all. Make sure that you check that the landlord is using a secure account/scheme to hold your money, so that you do not encounter any problems at the end of your tenancy getting the money returned to you.
Be wary of a property that is not maintained to a high standard. A good landlord will be proud of their property and want to make sure that it is clean and presentable before any new tenants move in. The fixtures, fittings and furniture should be in good working order.
Your tenancy agreement is the most important document when it comes to renting a new property. If a landlord can’t (or won’t) give you a copy of it to read over, then you should be worried. Make sure that you take the time to read over the document before signing – there is no pressure to sign there and then and you don’t want to sign something that you are not entirely happy with as tenancy agreements are expensive to break.
Make sure that your tenancy agreement definitely includes the following: the length of the tenancy, amount of rent to pay and when, details of the deposit, and your landlord’s address.
Protect your Space
Make sure that your tenancy agreement states how much notice your landlord has to give you before visiting your property. There should always be a clause with this information as you do not want your landlord turning up unannounced. If you find that your landlord is turning up without permission, seek advice from a service like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
If the property needs repairs carried out, a good landlord will have measures in place to sort them out efficiently. It is their duty to rectify the problems, so don’t try fixing anything yourself. If your landlord refuses to fix essential services such as heating and water, your local council’s Environmental Health department can bring in external help to force your landlord to make the repairs.
I hope that this information helps you to find your new home and that you enjoy your time as a student at Perth College UHI.
Find more helpful tips on renting privately from mygov.scot.