When it comes to signing your contract, it pays to know the basics of what your landlord has to do. Knowing your rights helps you spot good and bad landlords, puts you in a stronger negotiating position, and helps you resolve problems if they happen.
Our advice team can look through a contract for you, and flag any unusual or important terms within the document. It is unusual for a contract or tenancy agreement to offer a "get out clause", so you should be absolutely sure this is the property for you (and your housemates) before signing.
We recommend taking at least 24 hours to read through and consider the terms before signing, and to raise any issues with the landlord or letting agent so that the document can be altered if necessary.
NUS offers some guidance on what to look out for in your contract in this video:
Most private properties ask that you find a guarantor who is someone who will take responsibility if you do not pay your rent or other associated costs.
Generally speaking the criteria for being a guarantor are:
- Being between the age of 18 and 75
- Having a good credit history
- Being able to pay your monthly rent
- Being a UK resident
It will be important to check what your guarantor is agreeing to be responsible for. It is highly unlikely that your guarantor will be happy to become responsible for the entire house's rental costs for instance. Make sure that your guarantor understands what they will be responsible for prior to signing ans this also forms part of a binding agreement with your landlord.
If you are an international student and do not have a UK guarantor, there are some letting agents in the area particularly who are amenable to other arrangements. Ask your letting agent if they are willing to make other arrangements, or ask the Students' Union for details on letting agents who are happy to use other methods, such as online guarantor services.