Things to remember

Searching for a property can sometimes be a little overwhelming. How do you know if it’s the right accommodation for you? Here are a few pointers for you to consider. It is incredibly important that you fully understand what you are signing yourself up for, and for how long. Once you have signed on the dotted line, it will be very difficult to end that legally binding contract. Don't be afraid to ask your Landlord, Letting Agent, or current Tenants questions, and if you’re still not sure after reading this information, seek advice from the support services mentioned in this guide.

Do your research and compare different properties to ensure you are finding the right property for you. Take the time to consider what your realistic budget is, and what it would be like to live in this property during the duration of the tenancy.

Now that you have found your off-campus accommodation, ensure you have received all the necessary paperwork from your Landlord or Letting Agent. This paperwork may be very useful to you later in the tenancy – especially if any Tenancy Deposit disputes arise when you eventually leave the property.

Check the paperwork

Once you have chosen your room or property and signed the Tenancy Agreement, ensure you have the following:

  • A copy of your Tenancy Agreement: Seek advice is you have any concerns or queries before you sign this document.
  • Receipts for all payments made: Always request this at the time of payment.
  • Inventory: Complete this as a matter of urgency. Take photos (including date marks) of any pre-existing damage or wear and tear whilst completing the Inventory. You do not want money deducted from your deposit for damage caused by someone else! Agree the Inventory with your Landlord, sign it and ensure you have a copy to keep.
  • Meter Readings: Take meter readings when you move in. This will ensure you do not pay for utilities used by previous Tenants.
  • Contact Details: Ensure you know who to contact if you need to report a repair or discuss any concerns. This will be either the Landlord or Letting Agent, depending on who manages the property.
  • Deposit paperwork: Your deposit must be protected in a Government authorised Tenancy Deposit scheme within 30 days of payment, and you must be provided with the relevant information about this. Keep this information safe, as you will need it to raise a dispute with the Tenancy Deposit scheme, if required.
  • Gas Safety Certificate: This must be provided to you at the start of your Tenancy and within 28 days of each annual gas safety check, if there is a gas installation.
  • Evidence of working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms: Tenants should regularly check that these are working throughout the Tenancy, and contact the Landlord or Agent as a matter of urgency if there are any concerns.

Do you understand what your responsibilities are as Tenant? Both you, your housemates and the Landlord or Letting Agent all have obligations set out in the signed Tenancy Agreement.

Now that you are nearing the end of your tenancy, you will need to tidy up a couple of loose ends. You don’t want to be charged unnecessarily for pre-existing damage, or bills. Take the time to do your admin and clean the property.

The University does not offer Family Accommodation, however the PAL Accreditation Scheme is available to student and non-student tenants.

Here are things to consider when searching for private accommodation for your family:

  • Research locations as part of your property search.
  • You may need to research local schools for your children and access to available transport systems (such as buses or trains).
  • Make a realistic budget based on the cost of property in the selected areas (you will need to factor in costs such as council tax and utility bills, on top of your rent). On average, rent for a 2-bed property within Hatfield costs approximately £1,400 a month (utility bills may not be included). Remember to check if properties are furnished or unfurnished. You will also need to ensure you have enough space in the property, to prevent overcrowding.
  • Have your finances in order. Delays in payment can result in another prospective Tenant financially committing before you.
  • Search for the property, book for viewings, and make a quick offer when you see one that you like and can afford. Do not commit to a contract that is above your budget, as this may result in the accumulation of Rent Arrears.
  • Ensure you have the required documents and responses to pass the Right to Rent checks. Your landlord or Letting Agent will confirm what information will be needed.
  • Read your contracts before signing and cross check all features in the house against what was listed in the contract, to ensure it is a true reflection of what was offered to you.