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Know Your Rights

Wednesday 3 February 2010 Renting A Home

When you are living in the private rented sector it’s important that you know about your legal rights and obligations. Depending on the type of property you live in, and your tenancy you might be entitled to different things. This article will highlight different legal issues around contracts, deposits and housing, as well as links to other websites for more detailed information. There’s also advice on how to choose properties and flatmates to ensure you have as happy a home as possible.

Lots of students, like plenty of other people renting, live in HMOs. These are rented properties of three people or more, where at least two people are not related.

Students are also likely to be living in licensable HMOs. These are rented properties of five people or more, in a property of three or more floors, forming two or more households. Landlords need to obtain licenses for these properties, and meet certain physical and management standards.

Often students will be in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy  (AST) however, there are a number of other types of tenancies, you can use Shelter’s ‘tenancy checker’ to determine what yours is.

How much you pay for your accommodation will vary widely both between towns and cities and within them, from around £40 per week in some areas to well over £100 in others, particularly central London.

Unlike the accommodation provided by universities and colleges, private landlords are unlikely to include the costs of heat and light within the rent, which adds further expense, as well as the costs of food and other essentials such as travel.

When looking for accommodation, always ask whether utility bills (gas, water, and electricity) are included in the rent or whether you have to pay for them in addition.

Tenants are also usually expected to pay a deposit that is the equivalent of a month's rent.

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