TIME FOR STUDENTS TO STUDY THEIR PROPERTY OPTIONS

13 09 2013

As the nation’s ‘summer holidays’ start to come to an end, millions of students are set to enter the private property rental market – many of them for the first time – as they embark on a new era of independence.

The student market continues to be a powerful force in ‘buy to let’, with the UK’s student population having grown consistently over the last 10 years. And it shows no signs of slowing down, with some estimates saying that student numbers are set to hit 3 million by 2014.

We have compiled a list of handy tips for both student landlords and prospective new tenants at this time of year. More detailed advice can be given by contacting us on 01782 478444 or email stoke-on-trent@belvoirlettings.com

Belvoir advises that student tenants should always ensure:

1. They are accompanied by a lettings agent when first viewing a property, or at least, for safety reasons, have the landlord’s full contact details in advance, so they can confirm who they are meeting.

2. Sign a proper Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement and get a written receipt for the deposit.

3. Before signing, make sure they fully understand the terms. If all bills, including rent, are paid on time; if any damage is put right and the property is maintained properly, there should be no problem in getting the deposit returned when the tenancy ends.

4. If student tenants want to redecorate or make changes (such as putting up shelves) they must get the landlord’s permission in writing. And remember that when renting a property you generally need to return it in the same condition as you found it.

5. Agree a dated inventory – possibly illustrated by photographs, which clearly describes the condition of the property, its furnishings and fittings.

6. Make sure that all appliances have been PAT tested and ask to see furniture fire regulation labels for furnished properties. It is also a good idea to make a note of meter readings when moving in and again when moving out.

7. If required, agree a schedule of repairs and improvements to the property before the tenancy begins.

8. In joint tenancies, open a shared account for all bills and rent to minimise any risk of picking up the responsibility for defaulters.

9. If moving out, leaving behind house mates with whom you shared joint finances, ensure all companies who send the bills are advised immediately.

10. And once payments are no longer active, write to the main credit reference agencies and ask for a notice of ‘disassociation’ to prevent former house mates’ credit histories affecting yours in the future.

11. Don’t forget to take out personal insurance covering theft and damage to personal belongings whilst living in the property (Contents Cover).

12. If returning to the family home over main holiday periods, leaving the student property empty, ensure that heating is turned off or set to a low temperature and turn off the main stopcock to the water supply.

13. When eventually move out after completing College or University, ask the landlord or agent to be there to check the property over.

14. If the property is managed by a lettings agent, they will advise on all the above aspects and be available to handle any queries or problems during the term of your occupation. But always ensure they are members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or accredited by the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).

It is important for any prospective ‘student landlords’ to do their own local research by talking to agents such as Belvoir and the Universities’ accommodation offices to determine average rental levels and the potential return on investment.

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