One of our users approach us to write a guest post with tips regarding accommodation search in the UK.
Finding a property to live in
If you are unsure of where to look then you may want to consider asking your university. Most universities in the UK have an office for international students where you can go to for advice about anything. When you ask for student accommodation, also ask which letting agencies to avoid because the international student office will know which agencies have got a well established reputation and which agencies do not. In addition to this, they can also advise you on the area where you’d like to live in. Some areas are safer than others so it’s worth checking this out.
Another way of finding the right property to live in is by simply scanning the internet. You can make use of a search engine like Google by typing in relevant keywords such as “Flats in London” or “Student Accommodation in London”. These websites often allow you click on the type of property and neighbourhood you’d like to live in, the price and whether you require the property to be furnished or not.
Erasmate student-to-student housing also offers profiles of students that are looking for a room and students that are offering a room. The drop down menu allows you to narrow down your search by clicking on the type of country, city, the rent you can afford to pay and the length of your stay. If you are an exchange student and you are looking for short term stays, it is worth considering the Erasmate student to student housing as most letting agencies in the UK require you to sign a 12 month contract.
It is important that you organise and plan your viewings carefully. Most likely, you will still be in your own country when making these appointments, so when you come to the UK, you might have many viewings to attend. In order to not get confused, make sure to write everything down, i.e. the letting agency, the person who is responsible for the viewing, the type of property, address, phone number and rent to be paid. By doing so, you will find it less stressful and easier to manage.
It is very important that you take note of everything when you view a furnished property and to watch out for any damaged furniture or poorly installed showers and/or boilers. The UK has many old houses and unless the letting agency you arranged a viewing with is maintaining its properties, you might find yourself looking at properties that are in poor conditions. If this is the case then don’t be afraid of asking the letting agency what they can do to fix it.
Signing the contract
If you think you have found the right accommodation then it is time to negotiate on the rent. In most cases, letting agencies increase the price slightly to see if they can get away with it, so always ask. When you do sign the contract then you will have to pay a deposit. The deposit, by law, should be kept by a third party such as “my deposits”. If this is not the case, then ask your letting agency where they will hold the deposit. Also ensure that this is stated in the contract.
Also, prior to your departure for the UK, make sure that you have got a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who agrees to be held responsible for any damage a tenant might cause and bills, when the tenant cannot or refuses to pay. They usually require the guarantor to live in the UK. If you don’t know anyone in the UK who would take up this responsibility, then you can ask the letting agency if someone from your country is ok. Bring relevant documents as well, such as a payslip, copy of passport and a utility bill. In most cases, letting agencies will allow you to have a foreign guarantor.
If you are participating in student-to-student housing then it is essential to have a contract that includes all necessary information such as whether a deposit is required and the details about your guarantor. You can view a preview of the rental contract and purchase your rental contract here.
Susanna, thank you for sharing your insides! Are YOU interested in sharing your knowledge on an Erasmus exchange program and/or tips regarding housing in Europe? Contact us here!