It is a myth that all the best properties will be gone if you don’t sign up before Christmas – you don’t need to even start looking for housing for next year until the end of January at the earliest. Don’t let any landlords or agents convince you that there is a shortage of properties in the local area - there isn’t! In fact, there is a surplus of accommodation and students are still finding properties in August. We usually hold a Housing Fair in late January/early February, and there are many landlords looking to rent out their properties at that time.
Students who sign up to off campus housing too soon can experience problems that include:
Finding a more suitable place or leaving university before your tenancy starts
Tenancy agreements are legally binding agreements, meaning you usually have to pay the rent for the whole length of the contract even if you change your mind before you've moved in. We’ve seen many students who didn’t realise this and have signed up for one property then later signed up for another that they preferred, finding themselves legally bound to pay rent twice.
The students who you were closest to in the first few months of your time at Keele may not be your friends by the end of the year and you could regret agreeing to live with them. Also, no one has taken and passed any exams yet, so how do you really know who will be here to move in with you next year?
Bear in mind that if you sign up for a joint tenancy you’ll all be responsible for each other’s rent so make sure you fully understand your responsibilities and are comfortable entering into this form of contract with each other. The total household rent could be around £15-20,000 for the year - you would normally take a lot of time to think about it before spending this much money on anything else!
Rushing into signing a contract without properly checking the condition of the property or the contract terms
It is important that you follow some simple steps to avoid repeating the same mistakes that other students have made; this can take some time but is well worth it. If possible, view the property in person or at least look carefully at any photos or videos and ask questions. If possible, talk to the previous tenants. Visit our Tenancy Agreement page for advice on what should/shouldn't be in your contract. We can also check your tenancy agreement before you sign it, to make sure there are no issues with the terms and explain anything you don’t understand.
Being unable to afford the full cost of living there
Take the time to make sure you can really afford the cost of living in that property. If it's more than you can afford you may fall into debt and rent arrears, which can affect your studies and mental health and may even have a long-term impact on your future. Our Bills page has a guide to living costs.