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Rent Protection: The Top 5 Things To Look Out For In A Rental Contract

Finding the perfect student house can always be stressful, however, a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract and should never be entered lightly. It’s important to take your time, do your research and communicate any questions or concerns you may have before signing. Rent Protection is Only My Shares top priority.

If it’s your first time renting, the process and terminology may seem confusing initially, but Only My Share is here to help. From guarantors and agreements to deposits and rent protection, we’ve pulled together the top 5 things to look out for before signing on the dotted line.

Back to basics: What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a contract between yourself and a landlord. This contract sets out the terms and conditions of your tenancy and allows you to live in the property as long as the agreed rules are followed and you pay rent.

Know your type of tenancy agreement.

Often, students will be renting as a group of sharers. Student lets usually involve an assured shorthand tenancy agreement for 12 months. There are also two main types of tenancy agreement that may be offered to a group of students:

• Individual contract: This is between each individual tenant and the landlord.
• Joint tenancy agreement (most common): The whole group is responsible for collective rent payments and the property.

It is important to understand the difference between the two and understand which will work best for you before agreeing to your contract.

Joint and Several Tenancy agreements.

Most students and sharers will choose to live in a joint tenancy as they’ve met a group of friends that they want to live with, or are looking to meet new people through a house share. However, entering any kind of contract will always come with risks.

With joint and several tenancy agreements, when you sign the same contract as other people in your house, you are responsible for not only your individual rent but also the collective rent of the whole house. This means that if someone leaves the house early or chooses not to pay rent, you or your guarantor would be liable. Find out more about Joint and several liabilities here.

Luckily, Only My Share is an affordable rent arrears protection service that stops this risk with one simple-rent protection guarantee. With just a one-off payment of £99 you can have peace of mind that, should one of your fellow sharers find themselves unable to make a rent payment, you and your guarantor will not be left to foot the bill. Find out more about our rent protection services here.

Secure a Guarantor.

As a first time renter and student, landlords will often require a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a parent or guardian (often required to be a UK homeowner) who will agree that in a worst-case scenario, they will cover your rent payments. Before entering your agreement, it’s important to have this discussion and be prepared.

It is very common for students and sharers to find themselves in a situation where they are unable to find someone who meets the requirements of a guarantor. If you find yourself in this position, you should check out our sister company Housing Hand, which is a rent guarantor service. Find out more here.

Deposit Protection Schemes

When renting a property, you will be required to pay upfront usually 1-6 weeks worth of rent. This is to cover for late rental payments or in case of damage to the property. The law states that all deposits that are taken by landlords must be put into a government-backed deposit protection scheme within 30 days.

Students will often get a large portion of their deposits taken from them at the end of their lease. This is due to damage, but sometimes landlords will try and get more than what is owed. However, you are entitled to get this money back, and this is where the deposit protection scheme comes in – so it is vital to make sure this is in place before your agreement.

Read the small print

This may seem like an obvious point, and a tedious task considering the length of the average tenancy agreement – however, this is one of the most important parts. Here are some of the main points to look out for:

• Double-check the rental amount.
• Check the start and end date of the tenancy is correct.
• Read the terms and conditions/obligations carefully (what you are and are not able to do during the tenancy).
• Agreed repairs – make sure anything that needs fixing before your move-in date has been pre-agreed here.
• Furnishings – ensure that any furniture that comes with the property is stated.

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Only My Share was in the Telegraph!

We were featured in the Telegraph in an article about the “Dangers of Joint Rental Contracts” , this issue is becoming even more prevalent especially in the last 12 months. As renters are increasingly uncomfortable with taking on additional financial responsibilities, with the ongoing uncertainty in the marketplace, renters and their guarantors are taking every precaution they can. 

The article highlighted case studies about tenants and their parents who have been chased for hundreds of pounds after horror story housemates have failed to pay their share of the rent, which is becoming the norm more than ever before. 

James (who asked to use a pseudonym) was a customer who contacted Only My Share, shared his story with the Telegraph.  He was in his final year of University and along with three of his housemates was being chased for £800 of outstanding rent by their landlord after the fifth person they lived with failed to pay. 

The fifth housemate was non-contactable as he had just upped and disappeared after they finished their exams and he stopped paying his share of the rent. James and the rest of the housemates were in a predicament as they did not have the funds to pay. Their parents, who were their guarantors had to step in and pay £200 each, to cover the arrears. There was also additional charge as damages to the property exceeded their deposit, once again the parents had to pay for the fifth housemates share of the amount. 

James’ is just one story that highlights some of the issues that can arise when people fall into rental arrears and the implications this has on their housemates under a Joint and Several contract. There are many others who have experienced similar or have been in worse situations than James, to read the full article on the Telegraph click here.

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The Best Late Summer Festivals In & Around Europe

Your university year may have come to an end, but that’s no reason to slow down your partying lifestyle this summer. From Glastonbury to Benicassim, there are hundreds upon hundreds of fantastic music festivals throughout Europe just calling out for you and your friends to visit. 

Make the most of your free time before student-life stress takes over again in September – spend a few days soaking up the atmosphere of a large-scale music festival across a plethora of tents, whether they be a marquee, VIP or camping. 

While some of the bigger festivals may cost a lot to attend, we how important it is to keep the price down for you as a student. Nobody likes spending hundreds of pounds on travel costs and ticket prices – we all like to make sure we’re getting value for money. 

Each of the festivals listed below provide exactly that – an amazing experience at a relatively low cost. Whether you opt to stay at home in England or venture further afield, we guarantee you’ll have an amazing time at any of these six music festivals. 

Sziget Festival – Budapest, Hungary.

Renowned for being one of the best festivals in the world, let alone Europe, Hungary’s Sziget festival attracts thousands of fans and incredible headliners every single year. Taking place in early August, the week-long event is one of very few global festivals to occur on its very own island. 

With some of the biggest names across all genres of music attending the festival later this year, you will be able to watch the fairly popular British protégé Ed Sheeran perform among many other high-profile acts, including Foo Fighters and The 1975. 

Highlights: Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, The 1975, Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Dates: 7th – 13th August 2019.  

Boomtown – Winchester, England. 

One of the more weird and wonderful music festivals you will ever come across, Boomtown is as unique as they come. Featuring a throwback carnival of music and street performances in a purpose-built wild-west-style town in the English countryside, this festival will provide you and your friends with a truly unforgettable experience. 

Oh, and it has some pretty great acts performing this year too. The likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Groove Armada and Chase & Status will be gracing the streets of Winchester’s Boomtown later on this summer. 

Highlights: The Streets, Chase & Status, Chronixx, Groove Armada, Ms. Lauryn Hill. 

Dates: 7th – 11th August 2019.  

Reading Festival – Reading, England. 

While you may feel like you do enough reading at uni already, this festival puts a much more fun spin on the word. Probably the most student-focused music event there is, Reading Festival is often a rite of passage for undergraduates across the land. 

Originally set up to be the UK’s flag-bearing rock weekender, while the festival still tends to feature more guitar-based bands and artists, it has branched out in recent years to include other genres. This year’s line-up exemplifies this in particular, with a smorgasbord of acts from the world of hip hop, pop and dance. From Post Malone to Royal Blood to Bastille, the festival really has something for everyone. 

Plus, if you’re based further up north, the same line up plays at Leeds over the same weekend, so you can get the exact same festival experience as you would in Reading. Win-win.

Highlights: The 1975, Royal Blood, Foo Fighters, Dave, Bastille, Post Malone. 

Dates: 23rd – 25th August 2019.  

Creamfields – Daresbury, England. 

Known for being one of the world’s most iconic dance festivals, Creamfields is the place to be if you’re into house anthems, fist-pumping trance and heart-pounding drum ‘n’ bass. The three-day event will take place in Daresbury later this August, with headline acts like Deadmau5, Swedish House Mafia and Martin Garrix gracing the stages of the small Cheshire-based village’s festival. 

With so much music to bounce to, the event tends to push people to their limits. In other words, prepare yourself for one helluva hangover. However, if you do make it through until the very last thing on Sunday, you gain the legendary status of being a ‘hardcore caner’ – a badge of honour that remains with you for eternity. 

Highlights: Deadmau5, Faithless, Martin Garrix, Swedish House Mafia, Pete Tong. 

Dates: 22nd – 25th August 2019.  

Green Man – Brecon Beacons, Wales. 

If you’re looking for a festival that both take place in a stunning location and features a much more chilled out vibe, we have the place for you. 

The Green Man festival in Wales is set in the country’s stunning Brecon Beacons – an expansive mountain range of Old Red Sandstone peaks. More relaxed than most other music festivals tend to be, the event tends to attract a slightly, how do I put this, more mature audience. 

There is, however, still ample opportunity to down a box of wine until the early hours of the morning – if you’re so inclined. 

Highlights: Four Tet, Idles, Amadou & Mariam, Father John Misty. 

Dates: 15th – 18th August 2019. 

Dekmantel – Amsterdam, Netherlands.

For anybody who’s into electronic music and loves finding new artists to listen to, Dekmantel could be your ideal festival. Rather than following the typical festival formula, the Dutch festival steers clear of headline-grabbing artists, instead opting to support upcoming artists that you may not have heard of before. 

Truly an experience like no other, Dekmantel is the place to be if you like identifying new trends. Plus, it’s relatively quick and easy to get to – book early enough and you can fly to Amsterdam for under £100 return, or hop on the Eurostar from London for a similar price.

Highlights: A whole host of upcoming electronic artists. 

Dates: 31st July – 4th August 2019.

To see more like this head to our news page.

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The guide of unusual things for students in London (for all budgets)

You’ve shipped out of your home and you are spreading your wings in your new life as a University student. It makes perfect sense to NOT follow the crowd. There is so much to do in London, but it’s easy to get caught in the tourist trap or stick to one patch. If you are looking to get the most out of your student experience in London, check out this guide of unusual things for students in London to make your student days (and nights) memories of a lifetime.

Escape games

If you are a puzzle-pro or a gamer, but want a screen break and some crystal-maze action, check out the growing trend ‘escape rooms’ in London. What are they? Escape rooms give you (and a bunch of your fellow student mates) the chance to detect a murder, carry out a bank heist or flee some zombies and escape the room you are locked into. Your skill at solving hands-on challenges is what gets you and your team out.

Super fun and a little bit different to yet another night at the student union bar!

Visit Eel Pie Island

As a Time Out review points out, “the pies are a little thin on the ground, but it is a real island.” This private island in the Thames is periodically opened to the public. Housing 26 artists’ studios, this overgrown hamlet is a welcome escape from the whir of London’s city life. It’s nice to do something different and you can tell your parents you’ve been somewhere the Rolling Stones once played. Trust me, they’ll be impressed.

London flying experience

For students with a leisure-time budget to blow, why not take to the skies and experience the delights of light sport aviation. IntoTheBlue offer a range of flying experiences from introductory flying lessons to pilot starter packs and flights to the Isle of Wight. With the opportunity to take the controls when airborne, you’ll be able to test out if becoming a pilot is the career path for you.

Flights depart from Damyn Hall on the Essex/London border. Take the District Line eastwards to Upminster at the end of the line, then hop in a taxi. It’s just a 5-minute car ride to the airfield.

White Water Rafting (yes in London!)

Thanks to the London Olympics you can now experience white water rafting in London at the Lee Valley White Water Centre. From as little as £39 per person you and 8 friends (there’s a maximum of 9 persons per raft) can plunge into the rapids and experience the twists and turns of this Olympic course. Or try tubing, inflatable two-man kayaks and hydrospeeding. Choose whatever most floats your boat to get the ultimate whitewater experience!

Moo canoes

If white water rafting is an adrenaline rush you don’t think you can handle, how about a gentler water bound experience? Tandem Kayaks and canoes decorated with a Friesian cow print are available for hire by Moo Canoes so you can navigate the waters of London for some alternative sightseeing.

Set off from the floating bar and café in Hackney Wick or from Limehouse Basin, close to Bank Station. There are a variety of routes depending on how long you want to spend on the water and how much of a challenge you are looking for. Prices start from £26 for the first hour, with subsequent hours charged at £10 per hour.

Secret Cinema

Step into your favourite film. This might break the student budget, but I guarantee Secret Cinema will be the talk of your Halls for the rest of your student life! With a group discount tickets will cost you and your buddies £72.12 each (ouch). But if studenthood to you is all about amazing and unusual London experiences (as well as getting a degree of course), then this one has to be on your list of must-do’s.

This is the ultimate alternative night out in London. It’s a cultural phenomenon EVERYONE is talking about. So, what is it exactly? Secret Cinema is an epic immersive cinema experience. You dress up as a bespoke character and can literally become a part of the film. Awesome!

ArcelorMittal Orbit

Time Out London listed the ArcelorMittal Orbit slide as the #1 activity in the capital in its opening year. The world’s longest tunnel slide is 178 metres long and incorporates 12 twists and turns. During your descent you’ll be able to see glimpses of the Olympic Park, as well as get plunged into darkness. Not for the faint-hearted, this is a brilliant slide experience not to be missed. Add this one to your list of things to do as a student while you are in London.

Tickets cost £13.50 and need to be booked in advance. It’s a popular attraction!

Shakespeare’s Globe

If you are reading English, studying theatre or aiming for an acting career, you’ll likely be desperate to see some of London’s fantastic productions. The Globe theatre offers Yard standing tickets from as little as £7. It may be standing with a restricted view, but with tickets at £7 a pop you can’t really argue with that. There’s no excuse – everyone should get to grips with Shakespeare. Invite your parents and they might upgrade you to the seats!

Unusual Things for Students in London: About the Writer

This article about “Unusual Things for Students in London” was written for Only My Share – the leading Rent Arrears Protection company by Annie Button. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself against up to £10,000 of a flatmates’ rent areas under a joint and several contract in shared accommodation, visit onlymyshare.com or call 0203 887 2961.

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Tips for University Parents

4 Must-Read Tips for University Parents

Congratulations! Whether your child is prepping for their first semester at a university or their last, you deserve a pat on the back for supporting them as they begin to tackle the world as an adult. While the fact that your child is on their way to becoming a young professional is certainly something to be celebrated, there are plenty of challenges that lie ahead. Though you survived the terrible twos, it can be argued that a panicked “I slept through a final exam” phone call from your 20-something is almost as unpleasant. Luckily, these Tips for University Parents will help you navigate this exciting and transitional time in both of your lives.

Create Quick Cuisine.

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.  University students spend staggering amounts of money on food delivery services, so take some time to teach your child a few quick and easy recipes. No need to get fancy, some simple dishes will remind them of home and keep them from totally adhering to a diet of pizza and beer. It’s a win-win as you’ll be able to sneak in some quality time, and your bank account will thank you!

Money Matters.

After the basic cooking skills and a quick laundry tutorial, some smart financial decisions guidance is one of the most important things university parents can teach their children as they become increasingly independent. One common mistake made by university students is signing a rental agreement with housemates only to have them fail to pay their share, especially on Joint and Several Agreements. As a parent and possible rent guarantor, you may find yourself taking on massive debt along with your child. To avoid this, I recommend checking out a service like Only My Share that protects you both from a future financial disaster.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.

As the title suggests, communication is key. As a university parent, the most important thing you can do is remain on the same page as your child. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will agree with every decision your child makes or that they will follow all (ok, any) of the (amazing) advice you give them. It means keeping an open line of communication and discussing future goals to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Information is Power.

University students are notoriously terrible when it comes to passing along important information in a timely manner. Between their busy social life and crammed class schedule, your child might not be the best when it comes to keeping you informed. This may be borderline infuriating for a university parent, but luckily university websites are packed full of important information and dates of semester breaks just waiting to be transferred into your calendar. Make sure to check your child’s university website every once and awhile to stay up to date.

This article about the “4 Top Tips for University Parents” was written for Only My Share by Ameena Debboun. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself from rent arrears in shared rented accommodation, visit onlymyshare.com or call 0203 887 2961.

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Parents Warned Of Financial Risks When Standing As Guarantor of Shared Tenancies

What Are Parents Risks Standing As Guarantor?

Parents are being warned about the potential financial risk standing as guarantor for their children in shared student accommodation. This is because they could face large debts if housemates fall into rent arrears.

Joint and Several Agreements

Under ‘joint and several’ tenancy agreements, all tenants and their guarantors are equally liable for each other’s obligations.  So if a tenant in shared accommodation fails to pay the rent, the other housemates and guarantors are liable for the rent arrears.

Rent Arrears Protection

According to Only My Share, the only provider of rent arrears protection for tenants in shared properties, many parents don’t realise the financial risk of being a guarantor on a joint tenancy, especially at a time when student rent arrears are at an all-time high.

Do students go into Rent Arrears?

More than 17,000 students* living in university halls of residence fell behind with their rent payments in the last year, according to figures that suggest thousands more face financial hardship during their courses. (*Source: Liberal Democrats, Responses for 90 universities across the UK 2018).

There has also been a significant 16% rise in the numbers facing rental arrears in university accommodation and a small, but rising number of students are also being evicted from halls, or having their tenancies cancelled after falling behind with payments.

Only My Share – Rent Arrears Protection

Jeremy Robinson, Managing Director of Only My Share comments: “With rising living costs, students in shared accommodation are increasingly at risk of a housemate defaulting on the rent.  This could lead to rent arrears which have to be covered by the other tenants in the property.

“If parents have become a guarantor in a shared tenancy agreement, they could be left with a massive financial liability running into thousands of pounds.  However, there is a solution offering peace of mind.

“Only My Share can reduce the risk for parents having to pay other tenants’ missed rent, meaning they are only liable for their share. We can stand in place as a guarantor for rent arrears that a housemate has run up and that a parent has been asked to settle. Our guarantees are simple, transparent and 100% backed by A-rated insurance companies. We provide guarantees for £10,000 of housemates rent arrears from £99 a year.”

Talk to a Rent Arrears Expert about your Financial Risk Standing as Guarantor

Talk to us if you are concerned about your own financial risk standing as guarantor for rent in shared accommodation. We can help you understand your risk as a result of joint and several contracts.

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Case Study

Karen Follie’s son was attending university. She took out rent arrears cover with Only My Share and found they saved her a lot of money and stress. “Unfortunately for my son, one of his flatmates did not pay rent and I received a demand saying I was liable as well. I was horrified as we could not afford more money.

“I filled in the claim form online with Only My Share. Got a lovely email from Alan who told me not to worry. Then Only My Share took over the case, leaving me relieved. Within two days Alan had got the arrears paid. Alan kept me informed with excellent communications.

“Only My Share offer parents peace of mind knowing that they only have to pay their son or daughter’s share.  It also takes all the worries. The stress. The uncertainty out of being a guarantor for your son or daughter that is renting a house with university friends. The company offers excellent service and communications, I would recommend all parents use this service.”

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5 Tips when renting in the UK

Are you planning on renting in the UK? If yes, then read our top 5 tips for how to get the best property…

1. Be sure you know what you’re looking for when renting.

When it comes to finding a new home, we always have a special image in mind, built from our dreams or from what we’ve seen on TV. But in the end, many of us just don’t know what we want. This can get even more complicated if you are in a shared property as you may not all have the same idea of what is best when renting in the UK.

The best way to avoid being lost in your research is to start with a list of the elements which are the most important for you. If you are new in the city, you will need to do some research about the local area such as; local facilities, security issues, transportation options, and rental price to help set a budget…Don’t forget the bills and the agency fees!

2. Ask the locals.

Whether you are new to the city or not, a student or a working professional, you might be able to find friends, colleagues or people from the uni or even groups on Facebook to help you with your property hunting.

3. Considering shared accommodation.

Sharing a flat or a house with friends or other people is a good way to save money. In a case you move in with people or someone you don’t know, you will need to meet them first to talk about details such as; who is cleaning and how, if you or they party oriented?

Your life will be so much easier if you are moving in with the person who shares the same interests as you. Be sure to check if your tenancy contract is joint and several, as you may end up having to pay your housemate’s rent in case he/she doesn’t pay or leaves unexpectedly. To prevent ending up in this kind of situation, OnlyMyShare (Housing Hand group) is an assurance that divides the contract and covers you in case of non-reliable housemate (from £99) www.onmyshare.com

4. Be organised.

Renting a property in the UK might sometimes be a bit tricky and requires ample organisation.

you should write down all viewing appointments in a diary and note down the time, address, the name of the person you are meeting and any other important details.

Also, keep a record of all the questions you need to ask the landlord or letting agent. Be sure you ask the accommodation provider what their requirements are guarantor wise. Finding a guarantor or applying for one through Housing Hand, usually takes at least a day or two. so if you don’t want to be in a position where you are stressed or may lose a property you like it’s best to leave enough time to arrange a guarantor or have a guarantor in mind.

5. Prepare yourself.

Be sure you have all the documents usually required by letting agents or accommodation provider in general. Some accept international proof of ID whilst some will only accept passports so be sure all your documents are scanned and readily available to be sent quickly.