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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Top tips for students thinking about renting privately

As students across Northern Ireland get their ‘A’ level results many will be thinking about moving out of home for the first time.

Many students choose to rent privately, which can be a daunting experience for any first time renter. Our Advice Service Manager, Catherine Feely says:

“Setting up home for the first time can be both exciting and daunting.  Students heading off to College or University can often be unsure about their rights and responsibilities when renting privately.”

Here’s our top 10 tips:

  1. Viewing a property is really important - shop around and keep an eye out for signs of damp or disrepair.  If you spot a problem, get written confirmation from the landlord before you sign the contract that the problem will be dealt with.
  2. Make sure you fully understand what any money you pay over to an agent is going to be used for and under what circumstances it will be refunded.
  3. If you have to provide a guarantor, check that this person understands exactly what they’re responsible for and make sure they get a copy of your agreement– they could be asked to cover your flatmates’ arrears or damages as well as your own.
  4. Read your tenancy agreement carefully and don't sign it unless you understand and are happy with all the conditions.
  5. Check the inventory of items in the property, noting their condition and cleanliness before you sign it.
  6. Your landlord must be registered and your deposit must be protected. Make sure to check that your landlord has complied with these requirements.
  7. Check that you’ve been given a gas safety certificate for any gas appliances and that all alarms and safety measures work
  8. Get your own contents insurance, the landlord’s insurance won’t cover any damage to your belongings.
  9. Make sure you've budgeted for all the costs associated with having your own home - don’t forget your living costs as well as your rent, rates and utility bills.
  10. Know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and where to get advice if things go wrong.

If you would like any more information about renting privately for the first time there is lots of useful information at www.housingadviceni.org.  We also have a housing advice helpline available from Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.30pm on 90 245640 if you require any advice about your rented home.


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Private Tenancies

This article was written on 16 August 2018. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.