09 September 2015

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, September 09, 2015
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Moving away to university can be a very exciting time, particularly if it is the first time you are moving out of your family home.

But, moving in to a house on your own or with friends is not always as straight forward as it seems.

As a tenant, you’ll have new rights and responsibilities, so here are a few tips for moving in to a new home:

       Make an inventory

When you move in to your new home, make sure to have a good look around and make a list of all the items that have been provided for your use. This would include anything from wardrobes to kitchen equipment, such as a toaster and kettle.

Be sure to make notes of the general condition of the property and mark down any areas that seem damaged so these cannot later be blamed on you.

This is also a good way of protecting yourself in case the landlord was to mistakenly believe that something was missing, meaning that you should avoid any disputes when you leave the tenancy and you should get your deposit back.

 You also want to be safe in your new home, so ask to see the gas safety certificate and make sure the property is fitted with a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm.

       Make sure your deposit is protected

Landlords must do two things with your deposit:

-          They have to protect the deposit within a deposit protection scheme within 30 days of receiving them.
-          They must give information about which scheme it is protected with.

Deposits should be protected in a government approved scheme; however research by the NUS has revealed that almost half of student tenants were unsure if their deposit was protected. A fifth had not received the legally required paperwork which would confirm that their deposit was protected.

This highlights a major lack of knowledge meaning that students must do their research before moving in to a rental property.

        Know how to contact your landlord

It is important to have the contact details of your landlord in case here are any repairs which need to be carried out – landlords are responsible for most repairs.

Try to build rapport with your landlord and ask them about any of the appliances in the house so you know how these work!

To avoid confusion and numerous texts and emails flying between the landlord and yourself and your flatmates, nominate one person to liaise with the landlord. Be sure to always keep a copy of any letters or emails you send and receive from your landlord.

If your landlord refuses to carry out a repair, you can get advice from your student union.

       Understand your contract

Student tenancies can be individual or joint for students renting shared accommodation.

It’s important to be aware of which contract you are on because a joint tenancy is much harder to leave than an individual one.

This is because a joint tenancy (where everyone signs the same agreement) means that all tenants have responsibility for the rent therefore, if one person wants to move out or defaults on the rent, the rest of the tenants have to pay their share.

A new agreement could be negotiated if one person wants to leave, or a new tenant could be found to replace him/her but this would have to be agreed with the landlord.

       Understand your responsibilities

Student life can be pretty hectic and now you’ll also be a tenant, so it’s your responsibility to pay your bills and rent on time.

Moving in to a house with other students or flatmates can lead to lifelong friendships so try to get on with your housemates and be respectful by not playing loud music late at night and having parties every weekend.

It’s important to set some ground rules so everyone understands their duties and cannot shift the blame when things go wrong! And if things do go wrong sometimes, talk through the issues with your landlord calmly. 

       Make sure your possessions are protected

Student houses are prone to being targeted for burglaries so it is vital to have protection covering your valuables against theft, loss and damage. 

Check with your parents before buying contents insurance because your possessions may be covered under their home insurance as ‘goods away from home.’

If you aren’t covered, then you can get cover from Discount Insurance at a price that will suit your student budget! Call 0800 294 4522 for a quick quote!

Follow these few tips and make your first move in to rental accommodation smooth and simple.

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