You have finished a year in university halls and decide upon private accommodation during your remaining studies. After choosing whether to live either in a flat or in a house there are a few steps that need to be followed as you prepare to sign the contract.
The Guarantor Issue
If you decide to move into private accommodation, then you may need a person (guarantor) to guarantee your rent will be paid even though you do not have sufficient funds. This can be described as a form of insurance for the landlord. While this may not be problematic for home (UK) students, this may cause some issues for international students. Many international students may not know any UK resident to act as guarantor for them and therefore they would have to pay their rent in one instalment at the beginning of their tenancy. If you find yourself in such a situation, there is no need to despair. There are services, such as UK Guarantor which can guarantee for you. The only remaining step would be to contact them after finding your ideal accommodation. Once the contract is signed, all you have to do is enjoy your time at university while living in the accommodation you chose.
The Triple Check
When signing the contract make sure that you are not liable for any extra payment in case the house is in need of repair which is not your fault. In addition, check to see whether bills are included into your monthly rent, if they are check whether there are certain conditions written in the contract and also look to see which bills are included in your rent. Landlords often include gas and electricity bills but not internet and TV license. Last but not least, check to see whether your deposit has been registered and is protected by any of the three schemes offering this service. In this case, it will be much easier for you to reclaim your deposit at the end of tenancy.
Students are exempt from council tax if they are studying full time and their course lasts for a year or more. In most cases, when moving to private accommodation you do not need to pay for council tax. Remember that your student status makes you exempt from doing this, but you would have to apply for this to your local council online or via post. Best advice would be to go on the website of your local council and complete an online form with your personal data in order to let them know that you qualify for the full discount and that they could cross you off their list.
As you can see, there are many things to take into consideration when moving into private accommodation. If you are organised and take a bit of time and invest it into some research about how to do this properly, the process can be quite easy and enjoyable. After all, you discover what responsibility means and learn how to care for yourself.