Wherever you decide to live, you may well be expected to pay a term's rent in advance.
- As a general rule, student accommodation and travel costs are highest in London and south east England and least expensive in the north west, the Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- Average costs ranged from £134 per week in London to £67 in Northern Ireland.
- Small variations in weekly rent will add up to a significant amount over the course of a year, with students opting for study in Northern Ireland saving £2,806 over a year.
- However this is not quite the whole story, particularly if you intend to take a term-time job (as 54% of students do) as average wages in London will often be higher than in Northern Ireland or other parts of the country.
In addition to an advanced rental payment, you could also be asked to part with a deposit or bond (typically the equivalent of one month's rent) to cover breakages and damage.
- This could be about £200 (much higher in London) in university-owned accommodation and as much as £300 in the private sector.
- This is returned, less any deductions, at the end of the contract and, at that stage, there is potential for dispute as to what constitutes fair wear and tear!
Disputes over the return of deposits is a real and recurring issue, particularly in the private sector, so much so that the government introduced mandatory deposit protection schemes to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords who withhold deposits for no good reason.
- Under these schemes your deposit will be covered by an insurance scheme or lodged with an independent body, not the landlord.
- It is important to note that these schemes only apply if you have signed a type of contract called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, so check the details of the contract before signing it.
These schemes ensure deposits are fairly returned with any disputes resolved quickly and cheaply.
- So within 30 days of receiving your deposit, the landlord or agent is required by law to tell you how your deposit is protected.
- If you don't receive that information in writing, make sure you ask for it.
Next page: University Halls and Houses