Leeds is a great student city. The campus is surrounded by a lot of private accommodation for students to live in and most the time these are managed by private landlords or agencys. If you find the right one, it could be the highlight of your university experience. Having a comfortable living space with your friends can really making a positive impact on your living situation in Leeds. You could host dinners for friends and live that awesome student life that you will reminiscence in 10 years time. Renting privately can seem daunting in a new country, so I have some tips for those choosing this type of accommodation:
- Decide which area is best for you. Have a think about the distance of your accommodation to your department- use Google Maps. Houses in Headingley are beautiful, but you will need to make sure you’ll be able to commute by taking the bus, ride a bicycle or even walk to attend your lectures on time. Hyde Park is a big area and depending on the location of your house, it could be very near to the Business and Law School. There is also Burley and Woodhouse areas that are popular with students too. You’ll find that all of these locations are walking distance and most students don’t consider it so far!
- Find a good letting agency. There are so many letting agencies but we advise you go with a credible one recommended by Unipol. Go to their website and start searching for your accommodation in the area that you’ve decided on.
- Think about your budget, the number of bedrooms and bathroom. Book for viewings and don’t be afraid to ask the agents anything! Questions about security and burglar alarms are important. Other good questions can be centred around furniture, parking or bicycle storage and local amenities.
- Be prepared to sort out your own bills. Some accommodations have bills included in the rent price whilst some don’t. It’s not difficult at all and can be cheaper and economical. Check out compare the market.com for the best rates, but keep in mind to mention you’re a student to any company you’re considering.
- Read your contract properly before signing it. Even though some accommodations have the bills included in the rent, they might have a quota and limit. This means that if you go above the limit, you’ll have to start paying for the extra usage. If you’re confused by any of this, get in touch with the student advice centre.
- Signing fee and deposit are two different things. Some letting agencies have steep signing fee. It’s basically a payment for their service. If it gets expensive, you are better off with another agent. A deposit fee shows you’re serious to the landlord about the property and is security for them. If the apartment is returned in the same or better condition to the landlord, you will get the deposit returned at the end of your tenancy. The deposit amount might be less if your landlord used it to repair any damage or hire additional cleaning services.
- Take a lot of pictures of your house/flat when you first move in. Keep them as a proof of the house condition when it was first given to you. Throughout your tenancy, your landlord is responsible for any repair and damage to your house such as gas appliances, electrical wiring, health and safety. Make sure that you inform them of any damage so that your deposit will not be deducted. You can dispute any deposit deductions, provided that you have proofs that the deductions are not justified.
- Don’t forget to get council tax exemption if you are a full-time student
- Check out your landlord. Find out if they have had good reviews from previous tenants
- Finally, ask questions to the previous tenants about the accommodation. They can tell you about their experience living there, the neighbourhood and their relationship with the landlord and letting agent.
Happy house hunting! Feel free to email any of the Link to Leeds ambassador to ask about their experience in private housing too. I hope that you will all find a great place to live 🙂