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Student Rental advice and Student Insurance

See also: The Property Challenge for Students

Student Accommodation Guide

If you are about to become a student at college or university or already one, at some point you will probably need to rent a property.

If you are renting in the halls of residence, the housing department will normally assist you with any concerns and provide you with a guide. If you decide to go it alone and move into a room or bedsit you will probably have to take out a tenancy.

We have compiled a guide of the "jargon" used in rental and CLICK HERE to find out more.

Many people get together and rent a house. You then decide who you want to share with and start to search for accommodation. Most landlords want their property occupied throughout the year, so this often means taking a property and paying rent when you might not be living there. You are also responsible for the property then as well. 

1) Create Your Group of Students - You will need to decide how many people are in your group before you start looking at potential properties for a student house. Once you have decided on a home for the next year and signed the agreement, you are all jointly liable for the rental payments. Pick friends you can depend on, as the monthly rent is for the whole house and not per room, so if one person defaults you may end up paying more than your fair share of the rent.

2)Holding the Property -Once you decide on your house you can normally secure the property with a holding deposit. You might also be asked to pay an administration fee, per student, in order to hold the house and to take up:

  • Applicant's Credit Reference

  • Guarantor's Credit Reference

  • Tenancy Agreement preparation

  • Notification to Utility Companies

Some agents charge for these just before you move in. Check this all out at an early stage. A lot of agents display their Terms of Business on line, but if they do not, ask for a copy at their office. You might also find that administration fees and holding deposits are non refundable.  

Credit References and Guarantors 

Many agents carry out a full credit reference on all Tenants through an independent agency. You will have to complete a tenancy application form when you put down the holding deposit. It is most important to ensure that you enter all the relevant information - date of birth, phone, fax and email details of referees etc.  As a student income is unlikely to satisfy most credit reference agency for rental payments so you will have to provide details of someone who can guarantee your payments.

The guarantor will be liable for rental payments if you are unable to pay them, so they will need to have a regular income. 

Q - What if I fail the credit reference?

A - it is unlikely you will fail the credit reference as you will have a guarantor. However, should your guarantor fail the checks you can ask someone else to complete another guarantor form. Common reasons for failure of references are adverse credit history and insufficient income. Your guarantor will need an income of at least 3 times your proportion of the rent.

4) Period of Tenancy

Most tenancies will run for a year, sometimes less so make sure you let you parent / guardian / guarantor know this in advance. The next stage is the Tenancy Agreement. This is then prepared and when drawn up, to be signed by all guarantors and Tenants.

5) What if someone wants to pull out from the tenancy?

After the agreement has been signed, you will be responsible for finding a replacement Tenant or paying the remaining rent between you if one of the group doesn't move into the house

6) Rent and Deposit

You will be asked for the first month's rent and a security deposit. The security deposit will be held by either the agent or the Landlord depending on the service the Landlord has with the agent This is a returnable deposit subject to the condition of the house and any rental arrears at the end of the tenancy. Please note from July 2006 (Under legislation from the 2004 Housing Act) that on all new tenancies the Landlord will no longer be able to hold deposits for the majority of tenancy types. The deposit will then be held under an approved scheme. See Also Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme Click Here

7) Payment and Maintenance Information

Rent is normally  paid by standing order on the rent due date. It is always recommended that you keep a record as proof of your payments. Some agents ask for a series of post dated cheques to be cashed either monthly or quarterly in advance. Please ensure you (or your guarantor) have sufficient funds to pay the rent on the due date as it is unlikely that you will receive your Student Loan cheques before a rent date. 

8) Gas Safety

When there are gas appliances in a property the Landlord has a legal duty to provide a certificate to prove the gas appliances in the house have been checked and are safe to use. If you are not provided with one request from your landlord or agent. They last for twelve months and when you leave, it is a good idea to either return it to the landlord or agent, leave it at the property, but do not throw it away. It is not your property. As this check needs to be done annually, should the renewal date fall whilst you are living at the house you will need to provide access to a gas contractor. This is for your own safety.

Students should look at their insurance needs now

Students will soon be moving into universities and colleges and one major study project they should not ignore the insurance on their personal belongings, if they are taking a gap year take backpacker insurance More here August 2009

Going to University? Take a look at this NatWest Press Release - NatWest Student Living Index 2008 Details Here

and Student accommodation costs an average of £75 a week - Halifax Reseach Details Here

and Don’t forget your student insurance – Parents must make sure they arrange cover Details Here

and One in four home insurance policies do not provide any cover for students living away from home Details Here

You have now found a property what about the insurance for it?

Going to College or University or are you already there?

Do you have insurance for your possessions in your room or rented flat or house?

It is essential if you are living in digs, a flat, shared accommodation, student house or a hall of residence. What happens if your personal possessions are stolen or destroyed? Can you afford to replace them? The cost of insurance is extremely small if you compare it to the replacement cost should the unexpected happen

Think about the cost of replacing a cd player (the cds as well), your computer, clothes and other personal belongings, even you bike! You really don't want to have to add these costs to your student loan. (see the section at the bottom of this page)

Did you know that the average cost of a student burglary is £900? The most commonly stolen items are personal laptops / computers and other electrical goods. Homelet will cover loss or damage to personal possessions in your home and anywhere in the world, all for the equivalent price of a pint of beer or a glass of wine per week!

For further information, click on the Homelet Logo below (and scroll down their page to Tenant's insurance)

To help your budget you can of course pay your premiums monthly.

Remember: A Homelet Tenants contents policy is portable so if you move from Edinburgh to Ealing you can take it with you (Please check with Homelet regarding conditions regarding this) If your parent or guardian (or budget provider!) are paying your accommodation costs, suggest to them that they take a look at this site. To email this page Copy here and paste it onto the body of the email you are sending it to

Student Possessions

Endsleigh is an independent insurance intermediary operating a panel of insurers for both motor and home insurance. In addition, Endsleigh offers a range of specialist insurance products including landlord, rent guarantee, tenants and bicycle insurance

Endsleigh is the only provider endorsed by the National Union of Students

  • Cover available from just £2500 worth of contents
  • New for old cover available
  • Cover for walk in thefts

Bicycle Insurance

Endsleigh offers specialist insurance to cover your bike against theft and accidental damage, whether you own a mountain bike or family shopper.

  • Cover against accidental damage and theft in the UK
  • Up to 30 days cover in Europe automatically included


Endsleigh provides specialist cover for those people living in rented accommodation.

  • Cover available from just £3,000 worth of contents
  • An individual / couple's possessions can be covered within a multiple occupancy property
  • Cover for landlord's contents for which you are legally responsible for
  • Option to cover personal effects away from the home
  • Option to pay monthly

Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Endsleigh Insurance Services Limited. Company No: 856706 registered in England at Shurdington Road, Cheltenham Spa, Gloucestershire GL51 4UE


New to letting or renting?

Take a look at our landlords advice and tenants advice guides

Information for Students on Tenants Contents Insurance

This is something that is often overlooked, especially those who have never rented before. For someone who has paid the first months rent plus a deposit and administration fees to the university, college, letting agent or landlord direct in order to move into the property, insurance is the last thing on their mind.

Recent studies have shown that less only 1 -20 tenants have any contents cover at all. Although a conventional home contents policy will give a basic degree of cover for most insured perils it is not specifically designed for tenants and there can be some major gaps in the cover you need. Often the minimum sum you can insure for will be far in excess of what the tenant needs, typically a minimum of £10,000 - £12,000.

Most specialist tenant policies will provide the tenant with cover starting from £2,500 upwards and will usually cover accidental damage that you may cause to the landlords fixture, fittings, buildings and contents. Should the student / tenant accidentally damage the carpet with a wine stain or hot iron or a work surface with a hot pan mark, these events will be covered. Usually the tenancy agreement will make the tenant legally liable for such damage, any damage found at the time of the check-out will be deducted from the deposit or security bond. If the tenant has adequate insurance these events will be covered, thereby protecting your deposit.

If a Tenant has a loss through, burglary, fire, flood or other insured peril, which has damaged their contents and have no insurance for their personal possessions they are then left with the cost of replacing the items themselves.

Any items of personal property (clothes, furniture, computers etc) a tenant takes into the property it is their responsibility to insure. Most policies will give an option for basic cover which can usually be extended to cover high risk personal items which are taken outside the home, on holiday or Worldwide i.e. Cameras, sports equipment, clothes, jewellery etc.

In certain high-risk inner city post codes there will usually be a requirement to have minimum-security locks on doors and accessible windows. Do also take into account the conditions of insurance policies, regarding keeping windows and doors secured when the Tenant is not in the property. For further information click on the appropriate insurance company logos on this page.

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. ©jml property Services 06-05


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The Property Challenge for Students

National Landlords Association Press Release 21st September 2006

The Property Challenge for Students Around 90% of Britain's students will live in private rented accommodation during their time at university, which places new responsibilities on them As the university term begins up and down the country, the nation's students will be enjoying the freedom of living away from their families. While many students are given a room in halls of residence for their first and sometimes subsequent years, an estimated 90% of students will live in private rented accommodation for at least part of their time at university. Finding, paying for and looking after a rented home will be vital to a successful university career.

Student numbers place pressure on housing Huge numbers of students swell the populations of some of the UK's university towns - for example, the students of Bangor University in Wales amount to almost 70% of the residents of the town, while the population of St Andrew's University - which achieved world fame as the place of study of Prince William - augments its size by 50% during term time

John Socha, deputy chairman of the National Landlords Association, comments: "For some smaller towns, such as Bangor or Warwick, St Andrews or Lancaster, the influx of students completely changes the feel and atmosphere of the place. It also places pressure on accommodation in the town, as the students all have to live somewhere: most universities try to accommodate freshers in halls of residence, who then need to find themselves a rented home for second and subsequent years."

Living on a budget - top universities cost top money Students, whether living in halls or in rented accommodation, may also be having their first experiences of living away from home and on a budget. It comes as no surprise that there is a significant variation in rent levels among different university towns, with 'traditional' universities such as Bristol. Manchester, Exeter, London, St Andrews, and of course Oxford and Cambridge tending to be much more expensive. Rents in Oxford and Cambridge average almost £80 per week, while those in St Andrews exceed £75. This compares with around £44 in the cheaper university towns.

John Socha continues: "Students pay significantly more for rented accommodation in the long established universities, where there is no shortage of students but a relative scarcity of property available. Other towns where the university is less well known or may not have its full complement of students generally have cheaper average rents. For example, bargains are to be had for students in Belfast, Bradford and Sunderland, where students pay only around £44 on average. It's not just the 'prestige factor' - it's the laws of supply and demand and the fact that premier league universities attract premier league rents. While students can save money on accommodation at certain universities, that should not colour their choice of uni."

Spending money can be as little as a fiver a week With the student loan for English students set at £4,405 per annum (£6,170 in London), a student with no other financial support or income for the year will be living on less than £85 per week. Rent takes a big chunk of students' cash, on top of which they need to budget for utility bills, plus the customary one month's deposit paid upfront.

Says John Socha: "In Belfast, Bradford and Sunderland, what's left over after paying rent is more than £40, but it dwindles to scarcely more than a fiver in Oxford and Cambridge. While London is, not surprisingly, the most expensive place to rent, the higher student loans available mean that the capital is not the place where students are most financially squeezed." "Many students earn money from part-time or vacation jobs to supplement their student loans or have recourse to the 'Bank of Mum and Dad' to keep them afloat, and those at the top universities need the most financial help from their parents."

Dos and Don'ts of renting Quite apart from the cost of paying rent, John Socha suggests a number of tips for students that will help them enjoy their years at university without ending up with a headache over their rented home. The most frequent bone of contention between landlords and tenants is over the return of deposits. Under the tenancy agreement landlords are entitled to withhold part of the deposit if there are breakages or damage to the property (beyond fair wear and tear) or if house and garden are not returned in a clean and tidy condition.

John Socha says: "I'd encourage both landlords and tenants to take photographs of the property so that there is a record of its condition at the outset. This can avoid disputes at the end - and, once the Government's tenancy deposit scheme is introduced next year, will prevent many cases going to alternative dispute resolution."

Give and take "To keep relations between landlords and their student tenants harmonious, an element of give and take is key." "If students do their best to look after the property - and that doesn't mean they can't have fun or the occasional party - most landlords will respond by making sure everything works properly for the tenants." "If there's a leak or if something doesn't work properly, let the landlord know so that he can get it fixed," continues John Socha. "It'll be a requirement of the tenancy agreement in any case. Be flexible if the landlord needs a plumber or electrician needs to call - they start work at 8 am and won't want to wait till a house full of students crawl out of bed at 11 or 12!" Financially, problems can arise if there are disagreements between student sharers or if one or more fails to pay their rent or share of the utilities on time.

"Agree between you at the outset who is paying what, and make sure you stick to it. Pay your rent in priority to other expenses, so that you are sure that you have secure accommodation for the whole year. And since Mum and Dad are often guarantors for the rent, don't embarrass them by failing to pay - they won't be impressed by having your landlord on the phone demanding money."

John Socha warns student tenants not to forget to obtain a student exemption certificate for Council Tax, "otherwise you'll have the local authority on your backs and sometimes landlords get the Council asking for money."

In terms of insurance, the landlord will take responsibility for insuring the buildings, but that won't extend to the students' belongings. With computer and I pod, camera and hi-fi, their value can be quite significant - so it's a must that students insure the contents of their rented property.

Another potential cost for students is a TV licence, if they have a TV in their shared house or in their room. The rules are complex but worth understanding as the penalty for not having a licence can be a fine of £1,000.

In summary, the private rented sector plays a major role in providing accommodation to the nation's student population - and also does much to give students a taste of freedom and of living independently, on a budget.

"Our years at university are character-forming and a great opportunity to gain some independence. Living away from home in rented accommodation is part of that experience and with a bit of advance knowledge students can help make sure that problems don't arise in their new home so that they can concentrate on their studies and on enjoying their time at uni," concludes John Socha.

The National Landlords Association, founded as the Small Landlords Association in 1973, has members right across the United Kingdom, including five special corporate members, Birmingham Midshires, Bristol & West, Mortgage Express, Mortgage Trust and Paragon, and forty local authorities who are associate members. It protects and promotes the interests of private landlords of residential property and represents their views to government, local authorities and the media. The NLA seeks a fair legislative and regulatory environment for the private-rented sector while aiming to ensure that landlords are aware of their statutory rights and responsibilities. It campaigns to raise standards in the private-rented sector whilst fostering a professional and amicable relationship between landlord and tenant

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