When looking for accommodation for students in Canterbury or other towns in Kent, it couldn’t be easier than with Caxtons Student Lets. But how does the process actually work?
Student lets in a nutshell
In short, student lets are relatively straightforward. If you have your personal ID and banking details to hand and you’re fully prepared, you view a number of properties, choose one that you like, place a deposit, then sign an agreement.
This assumes, however, that you have your details to hand. Most of the time, the biggest block to renting is the wait for prospective tenants – you – to send their details for checking and registering. So be prepared, and make the process as smooth as possible.
Firstly, do you want to share?
Firstly, do you want to share with friends in a student house or live on your own? Renting with friends can be a wonderful way to spend lots of time together – it may be cheaper than renting a one-bedroom property as the cost will be spread between everyone living in the house.
Whatever you decide, research where you could live and your preferred area.
Consider the area
Certain areas will be closer to amenities than others. Living closer to campus might appear to be a benefit, but consider where you’ll be spending most of your time. For example, postgraduate students often spend a lot of time off campus. If you like to work in cafés and libraries, consider properties closer to the town centre.
Contact a registered lettings agent
While it’s a good idea to view online listings, starting a relationship with a respected and registered lettings agent who will then help you (and your friends) find the perfect home. They will already have a good idea of the properties on offer so will be able to advise accordingly. Also, using agents who are registered with, or members of residential letting organisations such as ARLA PropertyMark, RICS Client Money Protection and Home Stamp will ensure that you are in safe hands.
Get your details together
Make sure everybody you’ll be renting with has the details below ready as soon as possible. Properties in the most sought after and desirable areas are often snapped up quickly, so if you have the necessary details ready, your application process should be straightforward.
Because most students aren’t in full time employment, landlords often require guarantors to promise to pay the rent – even if the student doesn’t.
Usually a guarantor is a parent or guardian, but they must be UK-based. Make sure you ask your intended guarantor if they are happy to proceed well in advance of supplying their information to an agent.
If you are studying in Canterbury, but usually live outside the UK, check whether your university would be willing to be your guarantor.
Have clear scans of all your important ID documents. You will need to include these with any application. This includes: passport, driving license (if you have one), proof of address, and possibly your university acceptance letter.
Consider the kind of contract you need
If you don’t intend to stay in your student accommodation during the summer break, you could look for a 9-month student lettings’ contract. This means that you only pay for the time that you are studying at university.
However, many students like to remain in the city during the summer so they can enjoy their time off with other student friends, so think about what works best for you.
Have a deposit ready
You will often need to provide a deposit to protect against damages to the property. This can be a month to five week’s rent (Tenants Fee Ban regulations).
Once you have established a general rental budget that you’re happy with, put aside enough money to secure your perfect accommodation as soon as you see it.
Are you exempt from council tax?
You will need a letter from your university stating you are in full-time education. You may need to send this to your local council in order to get a council tax exemption letter. Sometimes this is handled by the landlord or letting agent, but do check!
Holding deposits and signing agreements
Once you’re fully prepared and you’ve seen a property that you love, you can usually put a holding deposit on it so that you’ve provisionally ‘secured’ the property.
This will then start the process of drawing up contracts, checking guarantors, and verifying details. This can take some time, which is why being prepared will help.
Tenancy agreements are designed for the mutual protection of you and your landlord. Read it thoroughly before signing, so that you know what is expected of you, and what you can expect from your landlord.
As a leading Kent student letting agent, Caxtons is always available to help you with any problems relating to your property search. Let’s talk about finding a home for you.