Here at the Students’ Union we get to see the many varied tenancy contracts offered by
Landlords and Letting Agents for student accommodation. The information on this page is a guide for students hoping to avoid the
common issues and problems that can arise when you are signing a
Make sure you read the contract in full and preferably take a copy away with you. An Agent/ Landlord should allow you at least 24 hours to take the contract away for checking.
Make sure you have a copy of all the contract terms. Even verbal arrangements form part of the contract. Be aware that where you sign a contract jointly with other individuals all the rights, obligations, and costs that arise from the tenancy apply to everyone named, until the tenancy ends.
Make sure that all parties to the contract are signing simultaneously or at least before the contract is agreed. If any party backs out without signing, those named on the contract may be liable for the full costs including for those who drop out before signing!
When you sign on the dotted line you are agreeing to the full terms of this legal contract. Make sure you understand what you are signing up to and if in doubt get it checked before you sign. The Students’ Union Advice Service offers free a contract checking service.
These should be included. You will need these if you want to make contact during the tenancy or report concerns.
Confirm that the deposit will be registered with a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Check the contract includes details of the Scheme in case you need to raise a dispute at the end of the contract.
Check that any fees are clearly specified. Agents/ Landlords are not required to levy these fees and may be persuaded to set aside on occasion.
Check that the individual Guarantor’s responsibility is limited to the amount of the individual tenants’ rent liability, and not for the whole cost of the contract.
If you are paying the bills, check which bills the tenants’ are responsible for. Check for any bills that are included with the contract.
If the rent includes the utility costs check that it includes all bills. Check that there are no hidden upper limits on usage. If there are, check the tariff.
For Letting Agents check for details of the Government approved redress scheme. Agents are required to be members and tenants have a right to pursue complaints through this scheme in the event of a dispute.
Check that an inventory of fixtures and fittings is going to be undertaken and shared with the tenant at the start of the tenancy. If not take photos of any pre-existing damage or disrepair.