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      Choosing a House:

      • Talk to existing tenants, or any friends who might already be renting houses in the area
      • Ask if your Student Union / Housing Office produce local information about houses
      • Visit www.studentpad.co.uk to search for available housing near your University. Some universities will only allow houses to be advertised if they are accredited and others simply list available houses
      • Find out about local accreditation schemes and, if one exists, find out if your potential landlord is accredited. If a scheme exists and they are not accredited, then consider why they aren’t and continue your search.
      • Use a checklist to compare properties
      • Don’t sign if you are not 100% happy with the house, housemates, contract and price

      Choosing Housemates:

      • Make sure you know the people you may be sharing with really well before you decide to live with them
      • If you have to move in with people you don’t know really well, make sure you agree on sharing the bills, buying shared household items, cleaning rotas as soon as you move in, and try and put it in writing; this can help to prevent arguments later. See Sharing a House on the National Union of Students (NUS) website.

      Understanding Bills

      • When a house is advertised, it normally says how much the rent is and whether bills are included
      • If all bills are included, is there an upper limit (for example, on how much gas and electricity you’re allowed to use), and if so, what happens when this limit is reached?
      • Telephone bills are not normally included, but check with your landlord/letting agency
      • As a student, you won’t need to pay Council Tax, but if you are going to live with someone who isn’t a full time student then be aware that they may have to pay Council Tax.
      • If you are unsure about anything then your Students’ Union or Housing Office will be able to help.

      Understanding your Contract:

      • Remember a contract is legally binding so once you have signed it you cannot normally change your mind (without the landlord’s permission).
      • Get advice before you sign – speak to your Students’ Union/Housing Office and they should be able to go through your contract with you.
      • Look on-line at websites such as Shelter, UNIPOL, or other government websites for advice and information about housing contracts. Check out the ‘Advice’ section of the NUS website for more information and links: http://www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/housing-advice/
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