If you’re planning to rent in the future, or are currently renting privately either in Ormskirk or further afield, this webpage offers some useful tips to help you make the right choice.
Rent and Transport
Seen the perfect student house to share with your friends or recently signed up? Double-check you can afford it. Give the Save the Student Rent Calculator a try.
Don’t forget to add your travel costs into your budget when comparing properties. Use Traveline to explore public transport routes and check the transport provider to see if there are offers, discounts and deals available.
Housemate has a car? Check your timetables to see if you could share the cost.
Check if the weekly rent includes or excludes bills. If you’ve not signed up for a property yet and you’re going for a viewing, ask the current residents how much they pay for bills to give you a rough idea.
The crucial part is deciding how best to organise the payment of bills.
• Ask for the name of all residents in the house to appear on the bill if possible.
• Always provide a meter reading to avoid paying an estimated bill (which may mean you’re paying way over the odds).
• Try to take regular meter readings, keeping a check on your usage.
When you move in:
• Call your fuel providers, telling them you’ve moved in and give them the meter readings
• Discuss with your housemates and fuel providers how you’ll pay the bills (monthly or every quarter).
There are plenty of apps available to help you organise bills between a group. Some useful apps include:
• www.splitwise.com – free to use app to share bills and IOUs
• www.payfriendz.com – fast and free secure payments app
Also, check with your Letting Agent/Landlord how the hot water and heating system work to avoid large unexpected bills!
A property occupied only by full-time students is exempt from Council Tax. However, you will need to provide a copy of your Council Tax Exemption certificate to the local council to qualify for this exemption. You can find more information here about requesting a Council Tax Exemption certificate,
If there is another adult (apart from yourself) living in the household, who is not a full-time student, Council Tax will be charged on the property. Don’t get stung by this catch.
The rules around TV Licensing have changed recently which means that you will need a TV Licence even if you only watch BBC iPlayer. Visit tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo for more information.
Tenancy Rights and Responsibilities
Property owners often ask for a deposit to cover against you possibly missing rent or damage to the property. Always get a written receipt for money paid to a landlord or letting agent.
At the end of your tenancy, you have to return the property in the same condition that it was originally let (allowing for fair wear and tear), according to the government’s own advice. If you and your landlord or agent can’t agree how much of your deposit should be returned, then you have access to a free disputes mechanism, set out in the original protection scheme. For more information, go to direct.gov.uk. The National Union of Students also has an enforcement pack at nus.org.uk.
Students in rented accommodation often think their contents are covered by their landlord, or possibly by their parents’ home insurance. Some insurers will add students to their parents’ contents policy, but it is not automatic and it might be restricted. It could also work out cheaper for you to take out your own cover.
Remember that if you share accommodation with other students, you should each take out your own contents insurance cover. Check out endsleigh.co.uk
It is important to be aware that any contact you sign with a landlord is completely independent of Edge Hill University. Don’t feel pressured by a landlord to sign a contract and make sure you are happy with all the terms and conditions before you do sign.
The Students’ Union Advice Centre provides a contract checking service so if you are unsure about anything at all, you can book an appointment by clicking here.
You can get in touch with the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more guidance on Contracts, Deposits & Rents in the private sector, please visit our Off Campus section.
Write a shopping list before you head to the shops and stick to it. Never shop on an empty stomach! If you buy lots of fresh fruit and veg, consider shopping at outdoor markets which are often cheaper. mysupermarket.co.uk is a great site which lets you add products to an online basket. It then calculates how much you would pay at the different supermarkets for you to compare.
All the major supermarkets do a value range – try them out before you write them off. You can often pick up a bargain by shopping close to the end of the day as reductions are often made at this time. If you don’t need all you’ve bought, freeze the rest for later.
Buying processed and ready-made meals can soon add up and isn’t as healthy as cooking from scratch! Work on your cooking skills and get you housemates in on the act.
Check out these links to channel your inner Masterchef:
The NHS website has 20 tips to eat well for less which are really handy. You can also watch this short video about eating well on a budget.
Budgeting and Blackbullion
Edge Hill University has signed up to Blackbullion to allow YOU to access all the resources on offer. These include modules on budgeting, debt, and a 21 day money bootcamp. Take advantage of being able to access these great services for free by registering with Blackbullion here.
You’ll need your university email address and it only takes a minute. After registering, you’ll get access to your personalised Money Dashboard and you’ll be able to follow the modules at your own pace, when and where it suits you.
Before you begin the search for the right house for you, figure out what you can afford beforehand. Use The Brightside calculator to calculate your weekly budget.
You can also use the Save the Student Rent Calculator which helps you work out what you can afford before committing yourself.
For more tips on finding accommodation, visit savethestudent.org/accommodation
Advice and Support
Remember that the Accommodation team has a daily drop-in service so if there is anything that you are unsure about or you need general advice and guidance, just get in touch!
• Allow yourself plenty of time – don’t take the first house you see.
• Be patient. Don’t let your fellow house-hunters rush you just because they don’t want to look anymore.
• Ensure you have a clear understanding of the contract you are about to sign, particularly with regard to rent, bills, deposit and whether there is a summer retainer.
• Ensure you view the property first before you sign a contract.
• Make sure you get a copy of the contract after you have signed it.