House Hunting TOO SOON could seriously disadvantage you…
Students in the know will wait until (at least) the official start date on 19 January 2019 to get the biggest choice of properties from the best student accommodation providers in Leeds. On this day, over 12,000 bed spaces available for the next academic year will be displayed on the Unipol website. That’s a lot of houses and flats!
Below we have got some top tips for House Hunting:
STEP 1 - START WITH UNIPOL
Unipol offers the largest choice of accredited properties in Leeds, displayed all on one website for you to compare. What could be easier? And what’s more all of their services are FREE.
Unipol Accredited properties are required to meet higher standards and landlords are also required to give you a good level of service. Signing up for a Unipol Accredited property means that if you experience problems during your tenancy you can make a complaint to Unipol if the landlord has breached anything in the Unipol Code.
More information about the Unipol Code can be found here.
STEP 2 - DO YOUR RESEARCH
Check your landlords rating on Rate Your Landlord.
Scout out the various student populated areas of Leeds – Headingley, Woodhouse, Hyde Park, Burley etc, so by the time January arrives, you will already have a good idea of which area you may like to live in.
Take control and remember:
STEP 3 - THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH
Think carefully about who you want to live with. Remember, this is not like a two week holiday with your pals; you’ll be with them for the rest of the year.
Unfortunately we cannot offer the perfect solution or the perfect arrangement to ensure a good, compatible mix. A bit of careful thought about who you are going to share with, along with respect and consideration should hopefully ensure you get through your tenancy unscathed. It is a good idea to wait until you are sure you know someone properly instead of rushing to sign-up for a house with them too soon.
STEP 4 - IF YOU SIGN UP FOR YOUR NEXT TENANCY TOO EARLY – YOU MAY LIVE TO REGET IT.
It’s in landlords and letting agents interests to get people signed up for tenancies as early as possible. If you are tempted to sign up for a property sooner rather than later remember that you might be signing up for left-over properties from last year, and you are unlikely to be signing up for the best properties or getting the best value for money.
Also, if you are looking to sign up for a tenancy with others then it’s really important that you have taken some time to carefully consider whether you are moving in with the right people. This is because if you sign a joint tenancy agreement you will all be considered jointly liable to pay for any rent arrears and/or damage to the property.
STEP 5 - ONCE YOU’VE SIGNED THE TENANCY AGREEMENT IT’S LEGALLY BINDING.
It's vital that you remember that once a contract has been signed, it's legally binding on all parties - you do not get a chance to change your mind. This is why we would never recommend signing a contract on the spot, no matter how amazing you think the property you are signing up for is. Any decent landlord or letting agent will give you at least 24 hours to read through the contract thoroughly and to get advice about your obligations under the tenancy agreement.
STEP 6 - FEES AND TENANCY DEPOSITS
If your landlord or letting agent is charging you any fees then these need to be clear and transparent. If the landlord (or letting agent acting on the behalf of a landlord) takes a tenancy deposit from you then they are required by law to place that money in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme within 30 days of receiving it. More detailed information about tenancy deposit protection and how this works can be found here.
STEP 7 - YOU CAN GET YOUR TENANCY AGREEMENT CHECKED BY THE LEEDS BECKETT SU ADVICE SERVICE.
Once you have found the property you want to sign up for we would strongly recommend that you get in contact with the Leeds Beckett SU Advice Service as we can make sure that you are fully aware of what you are signing up to, so you can be sure of what you and your landlord’s obligations are to each other are.
Remember, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord or letting agent on price, new furnishings, redecoration, length of tenancy or half-summer rent etc - but you’ll only have leverage to do this before you’ve signed the agreement. We would also advise that if you get your landlord or letting agent to agree to any improvements before you move in or any discounts in rent, that this is explicitly written into the tenancy agreement before you sign.
LBSU's Contract Checking Competition will be running from 19 January - 8 April 2019 and will give you the chance to be entered into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher!