Having to rent a house at University is an inevitable part of the student experience. While there are several horror stories of houses that clearly aren’t fit for purpose, the majority of houses are fine. But living costs continue to rise, and many landlords see student-based houses as a lucrative business. While staying in halls is a nice idea, it isn’t something that everyone can do. Therefore, we’ve put this article together to showcase some ideas based on saving money for when you rent at University. Remember to check out our other advice articles for more helpful information!
1, Take Your Time!
Every year there is an enormous panic, usually between November and December – when everyone seems to have sorted out their house for the next academic year, even though it seems like it was only yesterday when you just moved in! But there is no need to panic. You should take your time, and not make a panic buy that you’ll later regret. By assessing the market, you will be able to pick a suitable option. And don’t worry about estate agents – scaremongering is just part of their job.
2. Live with More People
Living with around five or six people is a great plan for many reasons. Firstly, rent is usually cheaper per person in larger houses. Bills that are fixed – which many of yours will be – can also be spread between more people. If any disputes between tenant and landlord arise, there will be plenty of manpower to deal with whatever issue has arisen. It can also be more difficult for a landlord to disagree with you when you have many people to fight one corner!
3. Avoid Estate Agent Fees
As tough as it is to break the mould and not use estate agents – it can be done. The Government will be eventually banning letting fees – which have become ridiculous. Estate agents have been charging an ‘admin’ fee for the slightest thing, or adding a £200 bill on a contract as they answered a couple of additional emails. Renting privately is a good plan – like a long-term Airbnb – conduct a simple Google search for private renting, and you’ll see your options. However be wary that there might be a limited background on your landlord by using this method.
4. Try Renting an Unfurnished House
While most houses will come fully-furnished, there are usually some that come unfurnished. Renting one of these might not sound like too good an idea – but it actually is! Your rent will be lower, and you can utilise sites like FreeCycle to get furniture for free. This will help save money in the long run!
5. Consider Leaving the ‘Student Area’
Student areas which have streets dominated by student houses will typically be nearer the campus – and therefore cost more to rent. You could consider leaving this area and going further away. This could be especially fruitful if public transport is good – but make sure that you will still be saving money when you take public transport into consideration! Or you could cycle… or better yet, walk!
6. Haggle, Haggle, Haggle!
As annoying as this can be, when you feel there is something wrong with the house, or something has happened which you feel is grounds for a reduction in rent for a month, take up the issue with your landlord! Make sure you haggle for whatever you can. Remember you don’t get without asking!
7. Sub-Let Wherever Possible
From the outset, many landlords don’t allow sub-letting. But if your landlord has no objection, then this is a great idea! This is where you yourself become landlord – renting out your room for a few weeks or months. This is perfect for the summer months – when you won’t be there to get your money’s worth. Remember to check with your other tenants if this is okay however!
8. Check Reviews
You could do a quick online search or use your Universities accommodation service/advice centre to check out your landlord’s history. While many landlords are fine and can be trusted, others can embody the spirit of chaos. It is better to be safe than sorry after all!
9. Become ‘Friends’ with your Landlord
While we don’t expect you all to venture to the pub together, there is nothing wrong with having a polite and friendly relationship with your landlord. They are much likelier to help you if you treat them with respect. Having a positive friendship can go a long way – and you will be thankful for having them on your side too!
10. Final Tips
Make sure when you are reading the tenancy agreement (and make sure you do read it!), that there are no hidden charges. Plus, you are exempt from council tax as a student. And to ensure you and your fellow tenants start off on a clean slate, take meter readings when you first move in!
We hope this article helps, and gives you some great ideas for how to save money on renting as a student. Check out all of our Advice articles here, or consider seeing some of the articles we’ve picked out below.
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