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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 NI get their “A” level results, local charity Housing Rights has come up with handy tips for anyone thinking about renting privately.

Many students heading off to College or University will choose to rent privately.  The sector has grown rapidly in recent years and 21% of households now rent their homes.

Catherine Feely, Advice Service Manager with Housing Rights said: “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.  Our tips to help avoid any potential problems are:”

  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.


Ms Feely continued: “It's really, really difficult to get out of a tenancy if you change your mind about the place, so get advice immediately if you can’t continue with the contract or if you're having any problems in your new rented home.”

Housing Rights has a housing helpline available from Monday to Friday from 9.30am-4.30pm on 90 245640.   They also have lots of useful information on renting privately online at www.housingadviceni.org.



Notes to editors:

For further information contact Claire at Housing Rights Service on 90 245640

Spokespersons will be available for comment

  • Housing Rights is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland.  Established in 1964 the charity works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems
  • Last year the organisation provided advice and assistance on over 46,000 housing issues.
  • One in three of all the queries to Housing Rights helpline are from people who are renting privately.