Finding a house
All students starting the first year of a course are provided with accommodation via the BU Accommodation Service. After your first year it is your responsibility to find and secure your accommodation. If you intend to move in with other students then its a good idea to ensure you agree on price, location and facilities before starting your search. It’s important to know how much rent and bills you can afford on a monthly basis. You can use our budget sheet to give you an idea of what you can afford, or contact us to discuss your options. You may also need to budget for administration fees, a security deposit and a holding deposit.
Once you have figured out what you can afford it’s a good idea to check out which location would suit you best. Being able to walk to Uni saves you bus fare, however getting to town for a night out or going to the beach for the day could mean having to get a bus or even a taxi.
Most student properties in Bournemouth and Poole are assured shorthold tenancy's (more on this below) which are joint and for a fixed term. However, you can find some accommodation where you have you own, individual contract.
SUBU Advice only endorses BU Lettings - the University's official letting service. Private landlords who have registered their property with BU Lettings have signed up to a Code of Conduct, ensuring their property is to a satisfactory standard. These are reviewed annually to guarantee quality. BU Lettings also charge a considerably lower admin fee than many external providers (£99 covers all administration charges and your personal possessions insurance).
If there are no properties available via BU then you will need to contact private letting agents to ascertain what stock they have available, and if it meets your requirements. We also recommend checking out Move'm. This is a site where students can review their housing experience, including house condition, landlord, speed at which problems were resolved, local area, garden, neighbors etc. It's an excellent tool to help you find the most suitable property for you. Students who go into new properties having done proper preparation are far less likely to experience problems or lose money later on.
We have a list of suggested letting agents in the local area to help get you started: SUBU Advice Letting Agents list
Assured shorthold tenancy agreements
Most private student properties are Assured Shorthold Tenancy's and are ‘joint and several’. This means that you are all jointly and individually responsible for paying the rent. If one tenant moves out without giving notice or is not paying their share, the others will be responsible for paying it for them. Most letting agents require a guarantor for each tenant, but again this doesn't guarantee they will pay the rent where one student fails to do so. If none of you pay your rent, your landlord can pursue any one of you and ask you to pay the full amount. You will also be jointly and individually liable for paying any rent arrears, even if you were not personally responsible for them.
If, like 90%+ of students, you are signing up to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) then the letting agent or landlord is legally required to give you details of the scheme in which your security deposit will be held within 30 days of paying it. For more information click here.
If you are moving in to halls of residence then you will most likely have a license agreement and your deposit doesn’t need to be protected.
If you are unsure what type of tenancy/license you are going to sign up to, or unsure of any of the terms within it, then contact us for a contract check. Its important you know what you are signing as it is a legally binding document.
Average accommodation costs
Admin fees: varies between £100-£200 per person (BU Lettings charge £99 and this includes content insurance).
Holding deposit: varies, but can be taken off the security deposit at later date. Ask the letting agent for details.
Security deposit: varies between one month’s rent and one month’s rent plus £200 per person.
Utility bills: Average £40 pcm, each. Look out for all inclusive if you are worried about the responsibility of keeping up with bills.
Do I need a guarantor?
It is most likely that you will need a guarantor. This is someone who signs to agree they will cover the rent and cost of any damages if you fail to do so. The guarantor needs to be resident in the UK so if you are an international student you may be required to pay all the rent up front, or pay a larger deposit. Don't have a guarantor? Contact us for advice.
Whilst most full time students are eligible for Council Tax exemption when you are a final year you may be left with charges. You exemption certificate, issued to you when you enrolled in your first year, may end on the last day of the academic year in your final year and therefore any period of time between that date and your tenancy ending you may be liable to pay Council Tax. If you have lost your exemption certificate then you can order a new one via askBU.
If you live with someone who does not qualify for Council Tax Exemption (non student, some part-time students) then they will be required to pay the Council Tax bill.
For more on exemptions have a look here.