My Guide to House Hunting in Aber
Don’t Sign, You’ve Still Got Time / Don’t Rush
Here in Aberystwyth, there are so many housing opportunities that you can chose from, whether that be private, or university rented accommodation and house hunting with your friends and peers can be a very exciting experience. However, as exciting as signing for a new housing contract may be, it is a big commitment! Housing contracts are legally binding and can be very difficult to get out of once signed, so it is important to take your time and don’t rush so that you are able to make the ideal and most informed decision.
In recent years, our SU ‘Love it, Hate It, Rate It’ survey told us that 27% of students felt pressured to sign for a house early.
If you are struggling to make a decision about a hosing contract, or are feeling pressured from provider, then don’t stress! Here at the SU, our student advisors can offer their advice to help you make a decision that is best for you.
It is worth mentioning here that from the same survey only 15% of students signed for their accommodation between October and December, whereas 85% of students didn’t sign for their accommodation until the months between January and September. This is a great indicator that housing in Aber is in abundance throughout the year, and it doesn’t really matter how early you sign, which will allow you to take your time when signing for a new property and put in the extra thought that may be needed.
Hannah’s Top Tips for Renting
- Make Sure It’s Legal
Shared student homes are governed by a strict criterion under the Housing Act 2004 and require a specific HMO (house in multiple occupation) Licence, especially when there are three or more tenants living in the property. It is important that you see this before signing the tenancy agreement because it will ensure that your house is up to legal standards.
Additionally, both Landlords and Agents are legally required to provide tenants with certain documents, including the Gas Safety Certificate, the Energy Performance Certificate (ECP) and the Deposit Protection Certificate. It is important that you see these documents before signing too.
What is the Gas Safety Certificate?
Landlords are required to repeat a gas inspection every year, and this is the only way to legally obtain a Gas Safety Certificate. This is a certificate that is required to be held by landlords where there are gas appliances present and it proves that the gas appliances, flues, and related pipework in your property have been checked and are deemed safe.
What is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
An EPC shows information on a property’s typical energy costs, usage, and performance. It also includes energy-efficient improvements that can be made in the property to help reduce its energy usage and cost and increase the property’s energy efficiency.
What is the Deposit Protection Certificate?
As of April 2007, all landlords and agencies must place all tenant deposits in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. This is a scheme that keeps your money safe and protected and it makes sure that you get back what you’re owed at the end of your tenancy agreement.
- Make Sure It’s Safe
Before you sign for a house, make sure that the property has working fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire blankets. All HMO licensed properties must also have clearly marked emergency exists throughout the property.
- Take Pictures!
When you first move into your new property, make sure to take time stamped and dated pictures of everything once you move in, especially pictures of items of furniture that may be broken, or damage in the property that is already there. Having these time-stamped photos upon your move-in will ensure that damaged items/inventory cannot be taken out of your safety deposit, as it proves that the damage was already there when you moved in, and you did not cause it. Without these time-stamped photos, it can be very difficult to get landlords to fix damaged that may have already been in the property, and in the worst-case scenarios a landlord could take the cost of these damages out of your safety deposit.
It is also important to note here that if you move into a new property, and it isn’t up the cleaning standards, or was left in a mess, then take pictures of this too! Before renting out a property all landlords have a responsibility to check that the property is thoroughly cleaned and up to standard. If it is not, this means that your landlord has not held up their end of the tenancy agreement and they may try and charge you for a professional cleaning free at the end of your tenancy. Having pictures of the mess when you moved in, should prevent this from happening as it showed that the property wasn’t even clean when you moved in.
Questions To Ask Your Estate Agent/ Landlord…
- Are bills included? If so, which ones?
- What furniture and appliances are included?
- Are there any agency/ extra costs?
- Do you have an inventory list?
- Do you have a sample tenancy agreement we could see?
- Is there a discount for renting during the summer period?
- How much is the deposit and what Is the deposit scheme?
- When does the deposit have to be paid?
- Is there a car park, parking space or bike storage available?
- Is there a Gas Certificate and Energy Performance Certificate?
By Hannah (Wellbeing Officer) & Sabina (Union President)