Renting a house for the first time - The Student Room

Searching for a Property

  • Don’t get sucked into the January “must-find-a-house-now-or-they’ll-all-be-gone” panic to sort out your living arrangements. There will still be houses left at Easter and, surprise surprise, even after results day.
  • Make sure the landlords do/have done a proper inventory. There should be an inventory clerk and a proper inventory for you to sign. These are usually pages long and detail every item in every room and its condition. It is imperative that one is carried out so that you can’t be charged for something that's already broken. An inventory clerk should also do a check when you leave the house.
  • If possible, assess the potential housemates with whom you'll be living, and take the best-looking to meet the landlord first, so that it gives a good impression of the rest of your household, and will most likely make the landlord want you as tenants.

After you move in

  • As soon as you collect your keys, take photos of everything that is wrong with the house. Dirt on the wall, dodgy window - whatever - just take a photo of it (with date on it) so you don’t get charged for it when you move out. Actually just take photos of everything but concentrate on things that are wrong. It's probably best to do this before you move all your stuff in, it's really important you have a record of the condition of the house.
  • If your landlord claims that they need to take money from your deposit for repairs, make sure you get a breakdown of the costs so you can question them if need be - nothing like discovering six months later that you've been charged £75 to cover a small chip in the paintwork.
  • If your landlord is on the university housing list and is being particularly unhelpful regarding your deposit, let him/her know that you intend to report it to the housing office. At the least it'll get you a response and an explanation because no landlord who rents to students wants to get blacklisted by the housing office.
  • As regards the phone/internet/digital tv, look around for good combined deals. Also, shop around for gas & electricity suppliers - you don't just have to keep the ones the old tenants were with, you might find a cheaper deal.
  • To find who your gas supplier is, contact the National Grid's 'Meter Number Helpline' on 0870 608 1524. To find out who your Electricity Supplier is contact your local Electricity Supply Company and ask for their Metering Point Administration Service.
  • As a student, you don’t have to pay council tax. Get a form from your uni for each student in the house and send it off to the council to prove that you are students. Make sure you know the property’s reference number for this.
  • As soon as you move in, send the most attractive 2 housemates to meet the next-door neighbours so that they form a nice impression of the rest of the house. It will make life much more simple if you get on with your neighbours.

See Also