As we approach the new academic year, you may have been viewing properties in the private sector or looking at other options for accommodation. University of London Housing Services is a great place to start looking.
UCL's position is for the campus to be open to all students in September 2021 with a blend of face-to-face and online teaching. The amount of face-to-face teaching will vary from programme to programme and depends on the discipline and the stage you are at in your studies. Check in with your department if you haven't heard from them by 17 August, and ask how they can support you if your arrival to the UK is delayed. UK-based students are able to travel to London. You can find UCL's full outline on what you can expect from your academic experience for the 2021/22 academic year here.
If you're unsure on your plans to travel to the UK, we'd advise you to be cautious when signing a tenancy agreement - unless you are certain you intend to live in the property regardless of whether your course is taught online or in person, and are prepared to pay for rent even if you can't travel to the UK.
Our Advice service will also be on hand throughout the summer and academic year if you have any questions about securing accommodation, or what you should be looking out for in a tenancy agreement. We have a few tips for you to get started:
- Ask for everything in writing – Make sure to get in writing any changes that your landlord or letting agent has agreed to do before you move in. This could include repairs, cleaning or extra furniture.
- Pay your deposit – To secure your accommodation, you may be asked to pay a holding deposit whilst your landlord or letting agent sorts out the necessary paperwork. This is normally equal to one weeks’ rent. When you sign your contract, you will then probably be asked to pay for the first month’s rent plus a security deposit which cannot be higher than five weeks’ rent. We have produced a useful article on fees you might have to pay.
- Find a guarantor – It’s likely that your landlord or letting agent will ask you to provide a guarantor. This is someone who agrees to pay your rent if for some reason you are not able to. Normally this is your parent or guardian, but UCL also runs a guarantor scheme for full-time students who are renting privately. If you can't secure a guarantor, you may be asked to pay for up to 6 months' rent upfront.
- Check for a break clause in your contract - A break clause allows you or your landlord to end the tenancy early by giving notice. Not all student tenancy agreements have a break clause, but you could ask your landlord if it’s possible to include one if you think you may want to move out early. Without a break clause, it's likely that you'll be liable for the property until the end of the tenancy.
- Arrange a contract check – If you find new accommodation and decide that you would like a contract check, or if you have any specific questions about your tenancy agreement, our service can provide some advice and support. You can contact us through our contact form or via email on [email protected].
Our Advice Service has lots of useful information on student housing issues.
You can also find some further tips on tenancy agreements in the University of London Housing Services’ Contract Checking Guide.
Upcoming online event
Have you received your tenancy agreement but you don't know what to look out for? Or do you want to have a better understanding of what a tenancy agreement should include?
On Wednesday 1st September 2021 at 11am GMT, we'll be running a 45 minute webinar to help you understand what you expect from your tenancy agreement. You can register yourself onto the webinar through our bookings page here.