Let’s Talk Lettings: FAQs for Student Renters

We get it: understanding the ins and outs of student letting can be complicated. 

What does all that legal chat in my contract mean? What are my options for payment? What happens if my plans change? Am I protected?

These are very important questions, and at Joint Living, we want you to know exactly what you’re getting into. We are proud to be an ethical letting agent; our goal is to help you understand your commitments and responsibilities, keeping everything transparent and fair for our tenants and supporting you when and if things change.

It is our mission to give you the best experience possible and this starts right now, by providing you with all the information and resources so you feel comfortable, confident, and in control.

So before you join us, we have compiled the below information for you, highlighting some of the key commitments and considerations so you can make an informed decision before moving into the private rented sector (PRS).

You will find loads of useful information here, but this does not replace any part of your contract and don’t forget: signing a letting contract is a legally binding document, so you must fully read the AST (assured shorthold tenancy) contract and guarantor agreements before you make a decision.

Let’s get into it!

So, you’ve signed your Joint Living contract! Congrats!

Once you have signed your tenancy agreement it is legally binding for the full term of the tenancy, which is usually 12 months. If you want to leave the property at any time, even if you have not yet moved in, it’s not as simple as just walking away.

Sometimes things don’t go to plan, and we understand that, so we are here to help you if plans change.

Considering dropping out of University?

Before making a final decision, you must consider that leaving university early will not mean your tenancy agreement ends. You are bound by the terms of the tenancy agreement until the end date - this is usual for all private rental sector properties. For example, you are still responsible for the upkeep of your house and payment of rent for the full term of the agreement. If you have a guarantor, they are also bound by the terms of their guarantor agreement for the full term of the tenancy contract. If you are no longer a student, you then become liable for the council tax due, as you are no longer exempt - all these things should be considered before making a final decision to leave university and the property that you are renting.

I have dropped out of University, what can I do about my accommodation?

Made the decision to leave Uni and your accommodation? Then you do have options. In order to be released from your tenancy agreement, you will need to find a replacement tenant.

How do I find a replacement tenant?

Finding a replacement to take your room can be very challenging, as the student-letting period is short, generally, most students are settled by the time their course commences. There will only be a small number of students who start late or decide that they want to change their accommodation during the academic year, and for this reason, it can be very challenging to re-let your room. Tenant wellbeing is paramount to us, so Joint Living only let student accommodation to other full-time students - who also must fulfil the same criteria you did.

What about subletting? 

Subletting is not an option at Joint Living, we need to know who is living in our property to ensure the safety and well-being of our other tenants.

However, if you find a replacement tenant and you refer them to Joint Living, we do not charge you for referencing or contractual changes. Once a replacement tenant has passed referencing and signed a change of tenant contract addendum your deposit will be returned to you, and you as well as your guarantor will be released from the terms of your agreements. You will have to leave your accommodation in good order and have returned your key in order for this to happen. 

Here are some ways you can find a replacement tenant:

  • University forums/notice boards
  • Student Union Forums
  • Spareroom.co.uk
  • Student Facebook groups

You’re not alone in this. We will do what we can to help you!

  • We will post your room on our website's “Available Now” page
  • We will post your room on Housing\Hands Student Finder page

All about guarantors

What does it mean to be a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay a tenant's rent if the tenant cannot do so for any reason. Obviously, the hope is that this would never be the case, but this brings peace of mind for the landlord and the students. Becoming a guarantor isn’t something to enter into lightly, so it’s important your chosen guarantor fully understands what they are signing up for. We will expect payment from a tenant's guarantor if rent payment becomes 21 days overdue. If a tenant cannot pay their rent for any reason, that’s when the guarantor becomes responsible, so they must have the financial means to pay the rent in full on the tenant's behalf.

If the tenant and guarantor are both unable to pay the rent for any reason they are at risk of legal action being taken against them by the Landlord. This can come with legal costs that the guarantor will also be expected to pay and any interest owed as detailed in the Tenancy Agreement. 

How to become a guarantor?

Becoming a guarantor is a significant financial commitment. There are other ways of supporting a student if being a guarantor is not the right decision for you.

What to think about if considering becoming a guarantor.

A potential guarantor should read the Tenancy Agreement & Guarantor Agreement in full before making their decision. A person considering becoming a guarantor must consider their own financial position very carefully before making a final decision.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Do I have monthly expendable income for the period of the tenancy agreement that, as a minimum, matches the monthly rent?
  • Do I have savings or investments that, as a minimum, cover the total rent for the period of the tenancy agreement?
  • What other financial commitments and risks will I have during the period of the tenancy agreement?
  • Am I willing to pay the rent on behalf of the tenant if requested to do so?

Alternatives to a personal guarantor

Some students may not have access to an individual who is able or prepared to take on the role of guarantor, at Joint Living we have other options available should a student wish to rent with us! When choosing a guarantor or alternative it is really important to make the right choice based on your individual circumstances, ensuring a person has the opportunity to attend a university without jeopardising financial stability.

We wish that your university living is an amazing and positive experience but, if something unexpected happens, we want you to be in the best possible position to deal with any challenge.

Housing Hand - housinghand.co.uk 

  • Housing Hand are a commercial business that will act as a guarantor for a student tenant provided they are over 18 years of age. There is a cost associated with the service, typically around 8% of annual rent, however, Housing Hand partner with many universities which can reduce the cost to around 5%.
  • Housing Hand will represent International students - non-UK residents with an international student visa.

Advance rent payments are an alternative to having a guarantor 

You could also pay up in advance. A UK resident student can pay the final five months rent in advance before moving into the property, for an international student a full 12 months' rent is required.

Our commitment to ethical letting

Our dedication to ethical letting is not just a commitment but a basis of our business. By prioritising fairness, transparency, and the well-being of our student tenants, we aim to set a standard of excellence for student accommodation.

Check out our Instagram for more information on what we do to maintain our fairness to you, and so much more!

Got a question? Use our contact form and we’d be happy to help!

We hope to see you in a Joint Living house in one of our cities soon.

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