Private Housing Tips

Private Housing Tips

There's no rush. There are plenty of student houses to rent – more than enough for the number of students at USW. It’s more important to be sure of whom you want to live with and remain patient for the right house.

Look at houses with different agencies. To see what you get for your money! Remember that the agent is employed by the landlord and gets paid when they find tenants. Look out for professional behaviour from the agents and don’t feel pressured into making a decision, handing over money or signing up. If looking as part of a group, make decisions together. Everyone should see the house, agree on location and contribute to a house ‘wish list’.

Think long term. If you rush into signing for a house, you need to be confident you will be comfortable living with your house mates until the following summer. Be sure everyone in your group has the same living expectations.

How much will you have to pay now? When you find a house to rent you’ll pay agency fees, a deposit and/or a month’s rent upfront. When money exchanges hands, be sure to get a receipt.

Is your deposit protected? Your landlord or agent must protect your deposit within 30 days of you paying in accordance with law. If you haven’t had received details of how your deposit has been protected within 30 days seek advice from your Students’ Union.

Beware of promises! If the landlord or agent makes promises about redecoration, new furniture or anything else, make sure you have these in writing and that it is written into the contract. If the promises are not kept you may still have to stay at the property.

Tenancy documents are legal contracts. They are normally for a fixed length of time and cannot be ended early. If a group of you sign one contract you are all personally responsible for the rent and condition of the whole property.

Free, independent and confidential advice is available at your Students’ Union, come and see us!