The Students’ Union want to help make house hunting as simple as possible for you.
You can download our new 2017/18 interactive House Hunting Guide here.
The main points to remember are:
When should I start looking?
Some housing providers start advertising accommodation for the following academic year as early as November. However, there is no reason why you should start looking before your exams are over at the end of semester 1 in January.
Where should I look?
This depends on where you want to live next year. Students find accommodation through a variety of ways, often through seeing lettings boards on houses, word of mouth or doing internet searches.
You can also go through the University's Accommodation Services webpages to view your options.
If you definitely want to look for private-rented accommodation, you should visit the Accommodation Services' Go Private page.
What should I look for when viewing properties?
The first thing to do is to check that your property is accredited through the Nottingham Standard, if you are looking in the Nottingham City area. The Nottingham Standard helps tenants identify properties that meet a minimum quality standard and it accredits good landlords providing quality approved and well managed accommodation.
Taking the time to inspect a house properly, and asking the right questions may save you hassle later on so it’s worth doing.
The NUS have also got the following leaflets, which you should also find useful:
- Househunting Checklist
- Before You Sign: Things to consider before you sign that contract
Can I get my contract looked over before I sign it?
Of course - the Students’ Union Student Advice Centre (SAC) can go through your contract with you to make sure you understand what your rights and responsibilities are and to highlight any clauses that you may want to discuss further with your landlord/agent . Your landlord should give you 24 hours so you can take the proposed contract away and read it through properly. You will need to book an appointment, as we often get booked up in advance.
What money am I likely to be asked to pay?
It is likely you will be asked for a tenancy deposit (often called a holding deposit which changes to a damage deposit once you’ve moved in). This should be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of handing it over. You may also be asked to pay a retainer/half-rent for the summer period.
If you go with an accommodation agency or estate agent, you will probably be asked to pay fees such as agency fees, administration fees, booking fees and/or finder’s fees. You shouldn’t be asked to pay any money before you agree to take a property.
Some landlords and agents ask for a guarantor form to be completed. Your guarantor will become liable for your financial responsibilities, which means they will be liable for your rent if you don’t pay. If you are not happy about this, look for somewhere else to rent.
What type of contract do most students sign?
Most students sign joint fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy agreements. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are the most common form of tenancy for anyone renting privately. A joint contract means you are renting the whole property as a group and, importantly, the landlord can hold everyone jointly responsible for the rent. A fixed-term tenancy means you will usually be tied to the contract for the whole term – most students who want to leave a house have to find a replacement.
If you have any questions about house hunting, please contact the Student Advice Centre.
Shelter – information on finding a place to rent and letting agencies: