Students, How Do You Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of?

A recent news story highlighted the poor housing conditions that some students are living in when leaving university halls and entering the private rental sector.

We have created a handy 7 set guide for students to refer to when selecting a property, agent and landlord which will help to ensure you are protecting yourself.

1) Choose a regulated agent

Regulated agents operate to a strict code of conduct which provides tenants with the peace of mind that they are entering into a fair and comprehensive agreement. These regulatory bodies will also offer a complaints procedure should you be unhappy with the way in which your agent has dealt with something. Ask your university or fellow students for recommended agents.

2) Always view

Where possible, always view the property before entering into an agreement. The viewing gives you an opportunity to highlight any works that you would like to request are completed before you move in.

3) Read your agreement

Read your tenancy agreement thoroughly and ensure you understand what you are agreeing to before signing. Make sure you know what your obligations and responsibilities are and what your landlord has agreed to maintain. Remember, you are entering into a legal agreement and you cannot simply end it if you decide you know longer want to live in the property.

4) Make sure your deposit is registered

If your landlord or agent asks you to pay a deposit, they have a legal obligation to register it with one of 3 schemes. The agent/landlord should provide you with a certificate of registration, a deposit ID and prescribed information. Should you and the landlord not be able to reach an agreement on the return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy, the chosen deposit scheme, will refer the dispute to an independent case examiner who will make an informed decision as to the allocation of the monies.

5) Ensure you have a thorough inventory

Your agent/landlord should provide you with a detailed inventory of the property condition prior to you moving into the property. Ensure that you check this document and notify the landlord or agent of any items which may have been missed. This document will be used to decide whether or not you get a refund of your deposit and therefore it is important that it is correct.

6) Choose your house mates wisely

Entering into a tenancy agreement with people you have only known for a short while has the potential to go wrong. Ensure that you are confident that the people you are choosing to live with will keep up with their rental payments, take care of the property and respect the communal areas. It is likely you will be jointly liable for any damages or cleaning issues to communal areas and you do not want to be paying the bill for someone else’s mess.

7) Keep records

If an issue arises during your tenancy, ensure that you keep a written record of correspondence with the landlord/agent, including dates and times that you have reported faults. Photographs will help you to explain a problem correctly and therefore it’s a good idea to take photographs of any faults and email these to the landlord/agent.

If you would like more advice on selecting an agent or if you are looking for a student property in either Peterborough or Cambridge, please contact Emma Falco on 01733 321500 or