HOUSING GUIDE PART 1: FINDING YOUR HOUSE
Your ultimate guide to entering the private rented sector
E E FR
HOUSING ADVICE FROM YOUR
Welcome to the NUSU Housing Guide 2018/2019. I hope that you’ll find this guide useful when entering the private rented sector. I remember in my first year I rushed into signing a contract for a house that was overpriced for what it was, and caused myself and my housemates a lot of stress throughout the year. Remember not to rush in, and consider all of your options before agreeing to take a property. Even if you don’t sign the contract immediately, as soon as you put down a fee, you may have entered into a verbal contract. Jack Green
Welfare & Equality Officer 18/19
Contents Don’t Rent Yet
Where to Rent
Halls vs House
Student Advice Centre
DON’T RENT YET Before you rent, are you sure that you’ve worked everything out? Some Agents might throw around phrases like “All the good houses will be gone by December.” This simply isn’t true, and it’s a good idea to make sure that you feel ready before putting down a deposit for a house.
There are four main things to consider before even starting your search:
Who are you going to live with?
Where do you want to live?
What type of property do you want to live in?
How much are you willing to pay?
This guide will delve into the main things you’ll have to consider so that you can answer the questions above with confidence.
HOUSEMATES Deciding who to live with is a big decision and not something to rush into. If you’re a first-year you may have only known some of your friends for a few months. It’s important to remember that a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, and you’ll be responsible for adhering to it. You may decide that you don’t want to enter into a shared house, but may prefer to live on your own.
What are your priorities?
Do you all want the same thing?
Think about the things that you’re looking for in your future housemates – is it someone who is tidy, fun, enjoys similar hobbies or is on the same course?
You might want something cheap but cheerful, but the people you’re living with might want something a little more up-market. It’s better to be on the same page before you start looking. If you aren’t looking for the same thing then you shouldn’t feel forced to move into accommodation that you can’t afford or won’t feel comfortable in.
How much privacy do you need? It’s important to consider your own boundaries, and the boundaries of others. Are you somebody who prefers to keep your bedroom door closed, or are you looking for spontaneous visitors? How about your potential housemates?
Early bird or night owl? It’s important to consider your routine, and the routines of your potential housemates. It’s better to consider the practicality now, rather than living with a friend who you might not be compatible living with.
Relationships Are you in a relationship or is one of your potential housemates? This might mean that they won’t be home as much, or that their partner is around for dinner a lot. If they stay frequently, would you want some contribution to the utilities?
Non-students If any of your potential housemates aren’t students, you’ll have to pay council tax. Will they expect you to put in, or are they paying it? It’s good to get this cleared up before you sign.
WHERE TO RENT There are plenty of places in Newcastle for you to live. It’s important to consider what kind of community you wuld like to live in. Whether it’s the atmosphere of the City Centre, or the quiet community vibe in Gosforth. Consider what your budget is and look in areas that offer properties in that price bracket. You may be able to get a much nicer house for the same price in a different location. You must also consider things like travel on top of the weekly rent. You might decide that you want to walk in every day, but when it comes to actually living there it may be a bit too far to walk. Check out how much local travel costs, and if it’s affordable for your budget.
Often situated above businesses, or in purpose built residential blocks. The area is popular with students due to its distance to University, shops and bars. Students living here might not have to spend money on commuting into University which can save money.
West of the University, Fenham is not just a popular choice for students, but professionals and families also call Fenham home. It’s one of the more affordable areas to live in Newcastle and is close to the Helix and Business School.
£65 - £110 (Halls £100 - £160)
£50 - £60
Situated a little further out of the city. Excellent bus and metro links make Gosforth an appealing choice. Its charm and character may attract you to choose Gosforth as the place for your next home.
If you live at the bottom of Jesmond, it is a short walk to University; or if you’re a little further away it is connected by two metro stations. You will find a vibrant community living in Jesmond with many small businesses and shops. It’s a popular place for students to live, and so can occasionally be quite loud.
£55 - £80 Heaton A popular area for Students from both Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. There are good local facilities and good transport links into the city centre. You may be able to find a good quality house here for a very affordable price.
£50 - £80
£70 - £90 Sandyford It is a short walk to University. Sandyford is sandwiched between Jesmond and Heaton. With a few local shops and businesses it may appeal to you. Due to its proximity to the Universities it is a little bit more expensive than Heaton, but if you want to live a bit closer you might think it’s worth it.
£65 - £80
TOP TIP Prices will vary depending on the quality of accommodation that you’re looking for. Speak to tenants when you go for a viewing and ask them what they think about the local area.
HALLS vs HOMES Deciding who to live with is a big decision and not something to rush into. If you’re a first-year you may have only known some of your friends for a few months. It’s important to remember that a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, and you’ll be responsible for adhering to it. You may decide that you don’t want to enter into a shared house, but may prefer to live on your own.
Finance • Your contract length could be
• Your contract length will usually be
• You will more often have to organise
anywhere from 41-51 weeks Your utilities are often included in your rent
• There may be multiple payment plans available
around 51 or 52 weeks
your own utilities. Some landlords may offer an all-inclusive option but it will rarely be compulsory Your landlord will often set the payment plan for rent payments
Environment • Your neighbours are likely to be • Your neighbours could be anyone, University students who are over 18
• Your rubbish will be put into a communal set of bins
including families with young children Your house will have its own bins. You may have to take these out yourself
• Your house could be managed by a
• Your neighbours might have different
accommodation will be managed by a company You will live with Students on a similar schedule Your halls may have its own security person
company, or an individual landlord schedules to you
• Your house will not come with any
private security however local police may do patrols If you don’t live in the City Centre, you’ll usually live in a local suburb community
• Your halls will usually be in a busy • area
Facilities • Most halls are en-suite rooms
• Unless you’re a lucky few, you’ll most likely be sharing a bathroom
• You most likely won’t have any • You’ll usually have a backyard or •
outdoor space Your rent might include a gym in the building
• You won’t have a gym in your house, but there is usually a local gym nearby Each room in the house will likely be a different size, and character
• Rooms will most likely all look the • same
+ Shorter contract + Student neighbours + Security + Facilities + Inclusive Bills
+ + + + +
- - -
Usually more expensive Less privacy from staff No outdoor space usually
- - -
Can move in over Summer Local community More choice of room style Might have outdoor space More affordable usually
Non-student neighbours May have to set up own bills May have to travel further in
PRICE How much can you afford? Not only will you have to pay weekly rent, but most likely your utilities won’t be included. Things like utilities and travel costs can quickly add up. It’s important to consider these in your budget. Even though your halls may have been more expensive, you may be on a longer contract and have to pay for your accomodation over summer. You may have to pay some things upfront such as:
Deposit You may have to pay a deposit to secure the house and take it off the market. When you pay a deposit you will enter a binding verbal contract into renting the property.
Agency/Admin Fees Your Agent may charge a fee that isn’t included in the weekly rent. The fee varies depending on which Agent you let with.
Damage Deposit You may have to pay a security deposit, to cover anything that may be damaged during your time in the property. Your landlord has to secure this within 30 days of receiving it into a deposit protection scheme.
One month’s rent in advance You may have to pay your first month’s rent up front. This will act as your first month’s rent payment.
BILLS It’s good to consider how you’ll approach bills when thinking about where you live. Some properties may include all bills, other may include water rates, and some may include none. It’s important you ask, as it will probably be reflected in the rent price.
Set up your own It is quite easy to set up your own bills. You will have to consider who is going to be responsible for each different service, and how each of you will pay your fair share. You may want to switch providers from the company that the property is currently with. You can compare companies to find the best value online.
Utility management companies Also known as bill splitting companies, these companies have partners who will provide your utilities for you. You’ll pay a fixed amount per week, and may get the amount you don’t use back depending on the company. If you use more than expected, you’ll be charged the difference. These companies can be a lot more expensive than sorting out bills yourself, but are good for taking away some of the risk of sharing with people you don’t really know.
Inclusive Your accommodation may be inclusive of utilities. You should check if this is unlimited, as you may be charged if you use more than expected. You won’t be able to change providers, so make sure that things like internet are sufficient for your needs.
PROPERTY CHECKLIST You can use this checklist when viewing properties to make sure that youâ€™ve got the essentials covered.
House 1 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent: House 2 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent: House 3 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent: House 4 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent: House 5 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent: House 6 Address: Price: Contract Dates: Contact/Agent:
YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO
YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO YES/NO
STUDENT ADVICE CENTRE If you are not familiar with renting or you just want to ask some questions, come and speak us here at the Student Advice Centre for some friendly advice before you commit to anything. We can advise you on the many aspects of renting including contracts, deposits and protection, guarantors, fees, property condition and disrepair. The service also offers a contract review service where we can read through the contract for you before you sign and advise you on the contract terms and legal obligations you and the landlord have. Visit us today by booking an appointment. 0191 239 3979 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nusu.co.uk/sac
YOUR RIGHTS Who is managing the property?
Feel that you’re paying a lot?
Not sure who manages the property? Here is a simplified version of the possibilities:
• Try speaking to a number of different
• A Landlord can manage a property themselves.
for a property, and then pass the responsibility back to the Landlord to manage. A Letting Agency can find a tenant for a property, and then pass it onto a Managing Agency to maintain. They could be the same company in some cases.
• A Letting Agency can find a tenant
Student Advice Centre
agencies and comparing both the weekly rent, along with any admin fees. Always view the property before entering into any agreement. Find out who is protecting your deposit. Deal with an agency that is a member of a proffesional body. You can usually find this on their website.
Need any more help? Book in to meet one of our advisers. We’re based on the Ground Floor of the Students’ Union. Just head left through the main doors and follow the signs!
HAPPY HOUSE HUNTING FROM YOUR
STUDENT ADVICE CENTRE
D O N ’ T H AV E A G U A R A N T O R ? Before you move into private accommodation, most landlords or lettings agencies will ask you for a guarantor. This is someone who will pay your rent should you fall into debt whilst studying at Newcastle University. Newcastle University Students’ Union and YourGuarantor have partnered up to provide a UK guarantor for students who qualify.
FIND OUT MORE AT: WWW.NUSU.CO.UK/SUPPORT/YOURGUARANTOR/
FOR VIDEOS, GUIDES AND MORE VISIT:
Newcastle University Students’ Union 2018