We know that being an international student comes with extra challenges, so at the SU we do our best to help you where we can. We have prepared this article full of key information to help you understand the complex process of private renting and to make sure you know your rights and keep safe.
Right to Rent
The law obligates landlords to check all tenants’ right to rent in the UK. This involves taking copies of your passports and visa documents to be sent for checks, which can take a few weeks. These checks can usually be done on the same day for UK residents as it usually just involves seeing their passport. Keep in mind this difference in processing time, if you are in a group with British students.
British Bank Account
You will need to have opened a British bank account in order to set up a standing order for your rent to be automatically paid out of your account each month.
Deposit Protection Schemes
The landlord, or an agency, must protect security deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme unless they’re a resident landlord. This helps ensure that you get back what you're entitled to at the end of the tenancy.
Guarantors must be UK residents and be able to complete a reference check. They are expected to pay the money you owe if you cannot. As most international students cannot obtain guarantors, agencies often ask them to pay 3-6 months rent in advance.
If you don’t have a guarantor, you can look at the following services and make an enquiry/application:
The above companies will act as your guarantor if you proceed with them. They do charge a fee for this service.
If you are unable to afford the arrangement fee that these companies require, you can apply for our Study Support Grant to reimburse these costs to you.
You’ll be required to confirm that you are unable to secure a guarantor for this academic year. You will also need proof of payment for the arrangement fee so that you can be reimbursed for these costs.
You can check your eligibility by contacting Financial Wellbeing.
To sign a private housing contract you will need:
Living in private housing gives you a lot more freedom than in Halls, but before you’re tempted to plan loud after-parties, we strongly recommend you read the University’s Be A Good Neighbour Guide to avoid problems with the University’s misconduct team. Misconduct in the community can have consequences at university and with your visa, so make sure you understand the rules. If you get into trouble for misconduct, get in touch with our Advice Centre for guidance and support through the process.
Lack of ventilation, condensation, and leaks can cause damp and mould which is harmful to your health. Wipe away condensation and open the windows to regularly let outside air in.
If you are gone for a few days or more, the cold weather can freeze the water in the pipes, so you need to leave the heating on a low setting in autumn and winter.
Find out who is responsible for the gardening according to your tenancy agreement. If it’s you, then the landlord must provide you with gardening tools. If the landlord is paying for professional gardeners, you need to find out when to let them into the garden.
You need to keep any reachable areas unblocked of leaves and rubbish to avoid flooding. You could be liable for flood damages if you are found to be neglectful.
Your landlord’s insurance does not cover your belongings. Look at comparison sights for deals on contents insurance in case of loss, theft or accidents. Make sure you read the terms of such deals carefully and book an appointment with an advisor if you would like an explanation of how these insurance policies work.
Remember to always lock the doors when you are out, otherwise, both you and your landlord’s insurance could refuse to pay for your losses. Always report any theft or vandalism immediately to the police and landlord within 48 hours for insurance purposes.
If you are away from the property for more than a couple of days, let your landlord know so that he can check in on the house while you are away.
During term-time, our Advice Centre runs drop-ins on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday 13:30-15:30, and in-person every Wednesday 13:30-15:30. You can find more information on our Events Calendar and can join the virtual drop-ins.
Email an advisor if you need a different meeting time, or would prefer to get advice via email.
We've got plenty of events running throughout Housing Week! Check out our campaign page for more events and blog posts.
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