Whether you’re looking for a penthouse apartment in Piccadilly or a box room in Brixton here are a few helpful hints which will help you get your year off to a good start!
1. Take some time to decide who you really want to live with. If you’re moving in with someone who you find difficult to tolerate for a few hours a day in uni then they’re probably not going to make the best housemates. Equally, your friend who’s the most fun on a night out may not have seen a vacuum cleaner in their life before. Choose wisely!
2. Don’t rush. The house you’re viewing is not the last one on the market. There are constantly new houses coming on to the rental market in London so don’t panic and take the first one you see. Rents vary significantly across the city, the London Rents Map shows average monthly private sector rents for different types of home. This will give you an idea if your rent is in line with the rest of the houses in the area.
3. Make sure you view the house before you rent. The photos up online could have been taken years ago or conceal problems such as damage or damp. Worse still the property may not even exist so avoid making any payments before you see what you’ll be renting.
4. When you view the property, speak to the current tenants. Most people are more than happy to give you an honest opinion. Knowing about a difficult landlord or noisy neighbours before you sign the contract can save you time, money and a headache later on.
5. Read a copy of your contract before you sign it. Pay particular attention to any fees you have to pay and the length of your agreement. If you are feeling pressured into signing immediately or to pay a deposit before seeing the contract then it’s often an early warning to stay clear. Arts SU Advice Service offers a free, confidential contract checking service so get in touch if you’re not sure.
6. Check if your rent includes bills. If not then you need to factor this into your decision when renting. Heating bills, electric and broadband can all add up. Your landlord is required to show you the Energy Performance Certificate of the property; a low rating will mean you’ll spend more on heating, especially in the winter months.
7. Consider your location and your campus. Most courses at UAL require a significant time commitment to your studio practice. That could mean traveling up to 5 or 6 days a week to get to uni. If you’re living centrally you might consider getting a tube or a train. If you are traveling to campus every day and traveling at the weekend then season tickets are much cheaper than using contactless. Find out your travel options from Transport for London here.
8. Most houses are not custom built for students and have different size bedrooms with communal kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces so decide who is getting what room before you move in.
9. Find out where your landlord will be protecting your deposit by assuring it with an accredited 3rd party. They are legally required to do so when you hand over your money. If there are any issues getting your deposit back at the end of the year a 3rd party will work with you to help resolve them. You should get a letter within 30 days; if you don’t, email, your landlord. The housing charity Shelter have a very useful guide on deposits here.
10. Safety first! If your property uses gas then ask to see the Gas Safety Certificate. Insist that the property be fitted with a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector if it hasn’t one already.
Don’t overlook UAL Halls when deciding where to live. Compared to the private rented sector they can be more expensive but include all your bills, are secure and run social and welfare programs. You can find out more about your options here.
Get in touch
10am-12pm - Monday to Friday - 272 High Holborn, WC1V 7EY
020 7514 6270
*Correct as of September 2018