As we approach the end of Term 3, you may be starting to think about accommodation for the next academic year. University of London Housing Services is a great place to start looking.

Although the Government has set out its plan to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the months ahead and what teaching will look like at the start of the 2020/21 academic year. We would therefore advise you to wait until your department has confirmed the teaching arrangements for September, unless you are certain you intend to live in the property regardless of whether your course is taught online or in person.

Our Advice service will also be on hand throughout the summer 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.