Rentsmart campaign

Planning to live off-campus? Then make sure you #Rentsmart to make sure you find a place to live where you can be happy and healthy!

Our #Rentsmart campaign is all about helping you to make the right decisions at the right time about where you live and who you live with.

Read on for our top tips on making sure you find a home that's right for you! Our advice team is here to help if you have any questions, find out more here.

When to rent?  

There's no need to rush!

There is a lot of pressure put on students from rental agencies and local landlords in order to get students to sign rental contracts many months in advance of the next academic year. This causes rash decision-making that students often regret and then wish they took the extra time to make an informed decision. 

That is why we advise you hold off renting during the first term until you are sure you are ready!

We believe that the best time to start looking for a house is around the start of Lent term as this is when the Lancaster Homes Housing Fair has taken place and you'll have had a bit more time to get to know people and decide who you'd like to live with. Once you've taken the time to research and gather all the information and advice available, you'll be more confident overall to enter the rental market.

LU Homes Accreditation Scheme is housing scheme that has been approved by Lancaster University. It offers the widest choice of landlords in Lancaster for students to search, completely free! All SU Living houses have passed this accreditation scheme; see if the landlord you are choosing to rent with does!

Questions to ask while viewing a property

  • Who is our point of contact if something goes wrong?
  • What expenses are included, and what is extra?
  • Is it possible to have the walls repainted?
  • How much is the deposit and when does it have to be in?
  • If there is a deposit: Where will the deposit be held?
  • Can you see a copy of the contract you’ll have to sign?
  • What will you need to do when you vacate/get your full deposit back?
  • How much does it cost to replace a lost key?
  • Can you talk to any current tenants?

Get more housing advice.

Are you ready? Find out with this handy checklist!

Before you've signed a contract, have you:

  • Had a look around various landlords and letting agencies
  • Checked out the LU Homes Accreditation Scheme
  • Attended the Lancaster Homes Housing Fair
  • Booked viewings with several properties with LUSU Living or another accredited scheme
  • Checked if you need a guarantor and claimed their permission if so
  • Had your contract checked by the lovely people in the union's Advice and Support team
  • Found out and confirmed, in writing, where your deposit is going to be held
  • Considered local amenities and travel times to university
  • Made sure it is the property you want and you are happy with the contract

Remember, your contract is legally binding and a year-long commitment! You cannot change your mind half-way through the year because you find a better property or other friends.

Housing Rights

  • Your landlord has to give you 24 hours’ notice before they come into your property.
  • Your deposit must be put into a protected tenancy scheme and returned to you within 10 days of moving out
  • Your property must be safe and in a good state of repair; this includes supplies of gas, electricity and in some contracts if stipulated, even internet access.
  • You are to be supplied with the name and address of your landlord to contact in case of repairs or any issues.
  • In the case of eviction you are to be given at least 28 days’ notice.
  • You are entitled to an energy performance certificate to inform you how much energy on average the house uses; this is helpful if you are paying bills yourself

Moving In

So you've found the perfect place to live, and signed a contract. Here's what to do before you move in...

  • Have you got the keys for the property? (i.e. front door, back door, windows, garage, shed)
  • Have you completed the inventory with as much detail as possible and signed it with the landlord?
  • Have you take photos of the property, and emailed them to yourself and the landlord, especially any areas which appear damaged or you are unsure about? Have you got the contact details of the landlord in case of repair/maintenance? 
  • Have you made a note of meter readings? (gas, electric and water) 
  • Have you contacted all energy suppliers to let them know you are the new tenants?
  • Have you applied for a TV licence? (this can be done instantly online)
  • Have you checked you have insurance?
  • Have you made sure that the smoke alarms work and discuss where any fire equipment is located
  • Have you highlighted any repairs to the Landlord and asked for written confirmation that they will be fixed?
  • Have you seen a copy of the Gas/Electricity safety certificate?
  • Do you have a copy of the tenancy agreement?
  • Have you made sure you know how everything works? (i.e. heating, shower, kitchen appliance)

Moving out

Before you move out, there a few important things you should do to make sure you don't end up out of pocket.

  • Ensure all waste has been removed from the property (including any gardens/yards)
  • Repair/replace anything which has been broken
  • Wash walls to remove grime, vacuum carpets and mop floors
  • Defrost the freezer and clean the fridge (as well as emptying them), when empty leave the door open
  • Take pictures of the house once you’ve cleaned and removed your possessions, just in case there are any disputes over the condition the house has been left in.