Found a house? Make sure you check your contract!
You made it through the numerous stresses, viewings and just have to get over the final hurdle - the contract...
We won't lie, it isn't the easiest thing in the world to sort out, but we want to help you get it right. Look through this checklist and make sure you get sorted before signing anything:
- Have you taken your contract away with you?
The landlord/estate agent might encourage you to sign it there and then, but you don't have to. In most cases, you have at least 24 hours to read, understand and sign your contract.
- What type of contract is it?
Most students in the UK are offered Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements. Contracts can also be single or joint. Joint contracts make all tenants 'jointly and severally liable'. Make sure you double check what type of contract you have and that you understand the legal implications!
- Do you have a Deposit Protection Scheme?
The key is in the name - it prevents you losing your deposit if the landlord claims money for 'damages' that weren't your fault. The landlord must give you details about how your deposit is protected.
- When does your tenancy start and end?
It may seem obvious, but sometimes they can start before you've started the next university academic year.
- Is insurance included?
It isn't always included, but it's a huge positive if it is! If your landlord/estate agent has mentioned this at all during viewings or other conversations, get it in writing.
- Do you have any estate agency fees?
Sometimes you'll have to pay an admin fee, but this should be included in the contract so it's very clear how much you have to pay and when. The government is taking action to ban letting agent fees - watch this space!
- Are repairs included?
Have you noticed things that need repairing, or have you been promised that certain things will be sorted before you move in? Get this in writing in your contract so that you (hopefully) have a smooth move-in process.
- Get. It. Checked.
You can ask Accommodation Services, or the Students' Union to check your contract. It's also wise to give your parents/family a shout, especially if they are going to be your guarantor! Get them to look through yours to see if there are any alarm bells, or things they notice are missing.
Good luck - you're nearly there!
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