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Accommodation

The 3 Most Common Student Accommodation Nightmares

Are you just embarking on life as a fully-fledged grad-student? Do you have a place in the University’s halls of residence? Or perhaps you are part way through your degree and are scrambling to find an affordable shared rental property? Either way, there are certain student accommodation nightmares you will want to avoid.

A report by the Huffington Post says that no water, no heating and noisy housemates are common student housing nightmares. Let’s take a look at three student accommodation problems in more detail.

 

Poor value for money

Poor value for money is a major problem when it comes to student housing, especially in the private rental market. The 2019 National Student Accommodation Survey of over 2,000 students found that one in three students feel their accommodation is poor value for money.

One student said, “Last year I had no hot water for the entire year, I had to boil the kettle and fill up the sink that way to wash my face.”

Another student reported, “In first year, my cupboard fell off the wall on top of me and the halls of residence tried to charge me for repairs.”

Earlier this year The Independent reported of unscrupulous people exploiting vulnerable students by failing to provide even basic standards of living.

Universities minister, Chris Skidmore, said “While there are many landlords who do take their responsibilities seriously, for too long rogue private landlords have been exploiting vulnerable students by failing to provide even basic standards of living.”

Mr Skidmore warned “the time is up” for landlords “making a profit from shoddy accommodation”.

Recently introduced regulations now empower students to take their landlords to court if they fail to address serious accommodation defects such as mould, damp and safety hazards.

Earlier this year a group of Leeds students were awarded £15,000 (a full year’s rent) after taking their landlord to court under the new measures.

 

Struggling to keep up with rent

The National Student Accommodation Survey (mentioned above) also found that a whopping 44 per cent of students struggle to keep up with paying their rent. Students polled in the survey said,

“Rent, fees and food being expensive means at times I’ve had to not eat in order to pay my rent.”

“I had to pay £2,500 this term for my accommodation. Student finance only gave me £1,700.”

“Student loan doesn’t even come close to covering rent, so have to rely on parents for extra money which is really stressful. Have to spend very little on food each week so am not eating very well because of it.”

Rent is an unavoidable expense for students (unless they choose to live at home or are lucky enough to be funded by parents). But half of the students, according to youth news site Tab, can’t afford to pay rent with their loan.

 

For many students, university life is the first time they have had to fully manage their own finances, which can be quite stressful. Struggling to keep up with rent can put an added strain on students. Many students need to work part-time simply to be able to afford to live whilst they are studying.

Budgeting and borrowing as a student aren’t easy – it requires careful management and many students don’t have the financial experience to cope well with this.

New research by the National Union of Students (NUS), commissioned by Future Finance, reveals that many students are resorting to high-cost bank overdrafts and credit cards to get by and that an incredible 36 per cent said they worry about their finances to such an extent that it is affecting their mental health.

See more on mental health and how to cope with student life here.

 

Housemate problems

Whether you are in university halls or a shared student house, you’ll be living in close proximity with people who are likely to be quite different from you. Nightmare housemates are a common bane of student life, from noisy housemates to slobs, naggers and flatmates stealing food.

You will have to put up with different sleep schedules, parties, noise and even live alongside people you find annoying and just don’t gel with.

The last thing you need on top of financial worries and starting life as a student is to find yourself in conflict with your housemates! See some tips on how to handle problem housemates here.

 

This article about “The 3 Most Common Student Accommodation Nightmares” was written for Only My Share by Annie Button. For more information on how you can work with Only My Share, visit onlymyshare.com

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Accommodation

How to Pick the Right University Accommodation

Many of the first-year university students will head straight into the university halls and not worry about where they are going to stay or with who. Choosing your university accommodation can be tricky. Who do you stay with? Where do I live? How much do I pay? How long do I live there for?

A study was conducted which asked students the very same thing. Where and what type of university accommodation they stay in. Here is what they said:


   University Accommodation

 

All of the options you can see are valid options. However, if you want to have a bit more guidance then read on. We have gathered a list of the 4 of the more popular university accommodation options, excluding the option of ‘living at home’.

Uni Owned Halls of Residence

University Accommodation

As mentioned, many first-years head straight into university halls. Most if not all university halls are located on the campus or very close walking distance with very easy access. Being close to campus is something that you will learn to love. You might not think that the 30-minute commute to your 9am lecturers isn’t bad, however, once you are in the full swing of the university you may begin to notice. Heading to lecturers every day, seeing friends for coffee or a drink, travelling around to see your friends takes time.

It is one of the cheapest options as well, the bills are included and you will only have to pay one lump sum or possibly two lump sums. With a cheap & convenient lifestyle, some of the life luxuries may be overlooked. The university halls are regularly rundown with an old design and most will have 2 or 3 bathrooms shared between 10-16 people on average. A big communal kitchen invites a social environment but dirty dishes and messy surfaces do not clean themselves.

Pros: Convenient/social/cheapish/arranged through uni

Cons: Potentially rundown interiors/basic facilities

Purpose Built Student Accommodation – PBSA

Student Accommodation

Where university halls bring the bare essentials, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) bring the whole catalogue, the good ones do at least. This type of university accommodation brings more luxury and modern touch to the university hall experience. This choice is regularly close to campus and in a very convenient location to make the student experience ever easier although it is always good to check before moving in.

With all the modern interiors and new build structures, this university accommodation comes with all kinds of bits and bobs. Some of the regular facilities include a gym, cinema room, study areas and a game room. With all of these added facilities, there are often on-site events making PBSA’s excellent for making a home away from home.

However, with all this comfort and luxury there is a large price tag. It includes all the bills into the price tag and paying a year upfront is a possibility or pay termly, certainly worth the money. With most rooms having an en-suite bathroom and if not then you will share will no more then 3-5 fellow students. With a varied room selection, there will be the opportunity to pick something best suited to you. Rooms such as:

  • Studio Flats — includes a kitchen area and a bathroom with plenty of room.
  • Dual occupancy studio — more rare but perfect for those couples who want to share. 

Pros: Modern/New Facilities/Stylish/Convenient/Easy Payment/Social

Cons: Expensive

Private Flat-Share

Student Accommodation

If you want to get away from the university living life and happy to commute into the campus and looking for a more personal touch. You will be happy to hear that the university accommodation is not the only way. A private flatshare can feel much more like living at home. Most landlords will have a furnished apartment preventing you from bringing any large pieces of furniture into the flat. However, some flats will allow for posters/pictures/memorabilia to add that extra homey feeling.

Whether you rent a flat by yourself and keep it simple and small or rent with a few of your best mates it will be a good escape from studies. Sharing with friends or others will mean the rent is split more ways as well as the bills and any other costs. If you are organised then a weekly food shop can be split making it EVEN CHEAPER.

Renting costs vary from the suspiciously cheap to the outrageously expensive. It is good to check the property, it may be cheap because of hidden problems in the flat which could appear during your stay, this may have financial repercussions.

Pros: Independence/Private/Flexible/Furnished (check)

Cons: Admin & Logistics/Less Sociable/Potentially Expensive/Unexpected Costs

Private House-Share

University Accommodation

This is a larger option and regularly shared between 5-6 people. Sharing with more people means that the bills will be split evenly, whether it be the rent, utilities or food shopping (if you are that organised). Organising the group to sign the right documents and talk to letting agents or landlords can be a tiresome process.

When looking for a house to share, a few fundamental unspoken rules amongst the student community are applied. Most house-share properties can be older buildings that have been around a long time. This can make them very cold and damp, in the summer this may sound lovely, however, it makes winters a very cold and distressing time. The houses can also be susceptible to disrepair. The rule of thumb is to double-check, triple-check and quadruple-check. Chances are that if the house smells like damp, then there absolutely is damp.

House’s are not as daunting as they may seem. Having a home with a group of people your age, with the same schedules and living their best university life can be very relaxing. Some houses are very well maintained with landlords that are very understanding and sympathetic in knowing students are renting. Consideration should go into where the house is located, the usual check of safety is always necessary. No student can afford to continuously buy a new bike every other week because they live in a dangerous area. Also, considering the commute to a from classes is important.

Pros: Split Costs/Social/Independence

Cons: Admin & Logistics/Old Properties/Cold & Damp/Security

In order to rent most types of university accommodation, a guarantor will need to be used. The award-winning UK Guarantor Housing Hand can provide you with everything you need. Head over to our website to protect yourself from any rent arrears.

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Accommodation

Shared accommodation Tenants”may face rent rises or eviction”!

Most of us have experienced the horrors of the sticky and questionable shared accommodation, originally built for a family of four, but somehow, like the Tardis, has six or more bedrooms. It goes without saying that some of these houses in multiple occupations (HMO) are not perfect, but they often provide a lifeline for those on very low incomes.

 

As of October 1st this year, around 160,000 more properties in England are included in the HMO shared accommodation category due to new government legislation that has broadened the definition, meaning they will be required to be inspected and certificated by local authorities. Instead of being a three-storey (or more) home with five or more occupants from two or more separate households, the definition now stretches to includes any home including five or more occupants from two or more households. The removal of the three-storey threshold is a bid by the government to uproot rogue landlords who risk the safety of their tenants by renting out ‘sub-standard, overcrowded and potentially dangerous’ properties, as the guide for local authorities reads.

 

The Conservative government’s drive to help young renters has been a plan better suited for paper than practicality. As part of the 2016 Tenant Fee Bill, that is yet to come into effect, the government have tried to stop letting agents from charging extortionate and dubious ‘fees’ before a tenant can move into a property. While this seems like a positive move, in reality, the legislation’s loophole of allowing ’default fees’ will likely be exploited meaning that tenants can be charged extortionately for things like losing keys or leaving crockery in the cupboard after moving out.

 

As well as the loophole allowing the mysterious ‘referencing fees’ and ‘admin fees’ to manifest differently, it is likely that estate agents will simply look to landlords to make up for the shortfall. If the agent looks to the landlord, then the landlord will, in most cases, look to the bottom of the food chain, the low-paid tenant, to shield the blow by increasing rent.

 

As is recognised in the new government guidelines for HMOs, this type of shared housing is occupied mainly by students, migrants, and young professionals. Acknowledged as ‘the most vulnerable people in our society’, the government said it trying to protect them from ‘overcrowding’ and increased risk of fire, but while doing that, it is likely to increase the risk of homelessness for the most needy altogether. While the living conditions may be considered substandard to the government, to students with no support or migrants on low-paid jobs, it is an option that allows them their own autonomy and safety. Pushing out those options favours middle-class renters, leaving the most vulnerable in the lurch.

 

If these 160,000 homes that are now classed as HMO do not apply for their license, landlords could be hit with a £30,000 fine and be forced to refund any rent received. It differs according to local councils, but the average annual cost of an HMO license is £1,200, a cost that is predicted to result in either increased rent for tenants or in HMO landlords evicting their current tenants and selling up or reducing the number of rooms they rent out. According to a freedom of information request by Touchstone Education, there is a local authority with 1,800 properties now classed as HMOs and only around 40% meet the new regulations.

 

The private median rent for a room in England in 2017-18 was £385 a month, according to figures from the Valuation Office Agency. Over the past three years, median room rents in England have risen twice as fast as median wages, meaning there are many working people who are relying on cheap HMOs.

 

The new rules, which Property Week observes plays into the hands of ‘specialist investors’ instead of ‘amateurs’, meaning there will be stricter regulations on minimum bedroom size, the number of refuse bins, fire doors, fire alarms, soundproofing, and cleanliness of shared areas. Adhering to the strict new rules means that the ‘times of amateur investors buying HMO properties for possible high returns has passed’, meaning it is the less well-off and experienced landlords may be penalised. The new legislation is contributing to the ever-increasing issue of property being an investment only the rich can obtain. It includes rules on specified licencing, allowing local authorities to ‘make it compulsory for all private rented accommodation in a specified area to have a licence.’ These ‘problem areas’ are likely to be the poorer and most vulnerable areas in a city, meaning scrutiny is divided along income lines.

 

It would be in the interests of the most vulnerable in England for the government to reflect on how this legislation will play out in reality, and how to protect the powerless renters from shouldering financial shortfalls.

 

This article about “Tenants in shared accommodation ‘may face rent rises or eviction’!” was written for Only My Share by Neelam Tailor. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself against unwanted rental arrears, visit onlymyshare.com or call 020 3887 2961.

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Accommodation

Shared Student Accommodation is like…

Living in Shared Student Accommodation can be a different experience for everyone. There are however some aspects of sharing rented flats and houses when at university that we all go through. We believe compared to many things…which is exactly what the Rent Arrears Protection Specialists, Only My Share, have done here with comparisons like…The World Cup Group Stages and more to come! Next on the list is maybe Love Island…?

Shared Student Accommodation in Second and Third year is like… The Group Stages of the World Cup 2018

Russia as Hosts

Russia want to be the best hosts. Initially, you’re happy about this as they’ve decided to clean up in preparation. They’re more friendly and there seems to be less tension in the house but the enjoyment is short lived when you realise they’ve invited 32 people round for what everyone is calling “the greatest party on earth”!

Belgium as your Coursemate

Belgium is the course friend. You originally recognised them from your domestic studies classes, sitting next to them in the premier league master class and you both bonded over how hard the European classics term is. To the rest of the international group, they’re considered the new kid on the block and most still know them as the dark horse. When they embarrassed a couple of the weaker members of the group, you stepped in and then they turned on you. You’re not as happy to be in Belgium’s group anymore.

Germany the stable one?

Germany is the one that you thought you could count on. When you lived with them last year (Rio 2010) they seemed very stable and like they would be a great housemate in the future. Definitely not someone who would disappear after the first term because they failed an exam! Now you’re the only ‘sensible one’ left. Are you going to have to pay their share of the rent? Can you afford to do this or will it mean you get ‘knocked out’ the house as well? These things happen, in football and in renting shared accommodation. But you can avoid the possibility of being sent home early by Germany (again) by using Only My Share to cover up to £10,000 of rent arrears.

What is Only My Share – Rent Arrears Protection for Shared Student Accommodation?

Only My Share guarantor protection is the second service from Housing Hand, the award-winning rent guarantor service. If you cannot provide a rent guarantor, then call Housing Hand on 0207 205 2625.

If you can provide a guarantor for rent, but you or they are concerned about having to pay for a housemates rent under a joint and several liability contract, then talk to us.

Only My Share was created to help protect those who do stand as guarantor against the possible financial risks. If you want to know more about the Risks to Parents of Standing as guarantor in shared accommodation, follow the link!

Understanding the risk posed to tenants and guarantors under joint tenancies, we wanted to provide a service that protected people from rent arrears by other tenants. The risk of having to pay other tenants rent is often high and the amount considerable.

Over 95% of students that hare properties require a guarantor. Under joint and several agreements, each tenant and their guarantor are equally liable for each other’s rent. Form our experience we have found that £10,000 of rent protection is enough to cover this potential liability.

In shared student accommodation, either the tenant or guarantor can take the Only My Share missed rent protection. Then, in the event of a rental default by another tenant, the service has been designed to make it as easy to make a claim as it is to apply. Simply let us know via our online claim form when you’ve been requested to pay for another tenants rent arrears and we will deal with the situation.

The team at the HH Group are passionate about helping tenants seamlessly rent in the UK without signing up to unnecessary risk and Only My Share guarantor protection was designed to protect the guarantor and/or the tenant that is renting in a shared house against the possibility of paying other tenants’ missed rent.

Only My Share guarantor protection works with our long-standing insurance partners Brit Insurance, an A-rated insurer part and of the Lloyds of London group. Each Only My Share guarantee we make is completely insured so you can sit back, we’re in your corner, you’re covered.

Free Enquiry for Shared Accommodation Rent Arrears Protection

If you’re interested in avoiding the possibility of having to pay a housemates rent, send us a quick, free enquiry to speak to one of our helpful team.

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Accommodation

Fees for renting in the UK

What are the fees for renting in the UK? Only My Share explains what cost you are required to pay to rent property in the UK. We explain how the upfront cost of renting in the UK can be much higher for international tenants. Plus we discuss the government policy to try and prevent tenants from being conned into paying more in rental fees than is required or fair!

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF RENTING IN THE UK?

Typical Fees for renting in the UK that new tenants can expect to pay include deposits, referencing fees, credit checks holding deposit and admin fees.

DEPOSITS

A deposit is required of new tenants to cover against damage to the property or the rent arrears. This may be refunded in full at the end of tenancy if no damages a made, the property in left in a reasonable state to be rented for the next tenant and paid all rent is paid.

REFERENCING FEES

Reference fees are the checks run by the letting agent to check they are good tenant. This will likely be contacting a previous landlord and /or a current employer. This can cost between £75-£100 per tenant.

ADMIN FEE

This (as the title suggests) is a fee to cover any admin costs. This will mainly be the cost of drawing up the contract but may also include general admin costs related to a tenants application such as inventory recording, photocopying, phone calls and key cutting.

HOLDING DEPOSITS

Holding deposits can usually range between £200-£500 but they are usually based on a portion of rent so depending on the rental property could be higher. The good thing about this cost is that it is subtracted from the deposit. Tenants aren’t required to pay twice for deposits. The only way this will be a cost on its own is if for some reason the tenant cannot rent the property.

UPFRONT COST OF INTERNATIONALS LOOKING TO RENT IN THE UK

Internationals looking to rent in the UK should be aware of the upfront costs they are likely to face. If they are unable to provide a UK rent guarantor then they will be required to pay 6-12 months rent up front. With Housing Hand UK Guarantor Service tenants are able to pay rent in monthly installments. No 12 month upfront cost! If you are an international in need of a UK Guarantor, get a quote or give us a call to apply today.

Follow this link for more information on internationals looking for rental property in the UK.