I am an international student and not sure what to do about finding my own accommodation. Where do you recommend I look?
For overseas students above 18 years of age who do not get a place in or don’t wish to live in Joseph Stones House, it is advisable to use the services of UNIPOL.
I am planning to rent a room in a shared house rather than live in Joseph Stones House or other private halls of residence. What should I check before I sign a tenancy agreement?
Most students will acquire an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. Many rooms are let with this tenancy agreement stating that tenants are 'jointly and severally liable'. This expression means that all tenants are liable for the payment of all rents and all liabilities of each other that may fall on them during the tenancy, as well as for any breach of the agreement.
So for example, if a tenant were to leave and not be replaced, you would still have to cover their share of the rent.
Some landlords are willing to issue individual contracts – check this carefully.
Whether you go through UNIPOL or look by yourself, be careful not to sign a contract unless you are sure you want to share with the other occupants, or you have checked that there actually are other people moving in to the house with you. It is extremely difficult to be released from a contract, whether in halls or shared houses, unless you can find someone to take over your room.
Will I have to pay a deposit? How much will it be and will I get it back?
When arranging rented accommodation you will be expected to sign a contract, in most cases for 12 months, and to pay a deposit of between £75 and £250. This is refunded at the end of the rental period unless you have caused any damage or loss to fixtures or furnishings.
As part of the Housing Act, deposits paid on Assured Shorthold Tenancies signed after April 2007 are protected. This scheme ensures good practice in deposit handling so that when a tenant pays a deposit and is entitled to receive it back, they can be assured this will happen. Further details on the Deposit Protection Scheme and how it works are available from UNIPOL or at www.direct.gov.uk.
I need to make my first accommodation payment to be able to move in, but I haven't received my student loan yet. How do I make this payment?
In order for you to receive your room keys, the first accommodation payment is normally required over the summer before enrolment (around the end of August/beginning of September). This is standard procedure by all private accommodation companies.
As you will not receive your student loan until you have been enrolled by the Conservatoire (enrolment triggers the payment system), ensure that you have enough money to cover your first accommodation payment and that you are not relying solely on your loan to pay it.
Will I have to pay council tax?
If your house is solely occupied by students, no. You will require a Council Tax Exemption Form, which can be obtained from the Conservatoire rooms 401 and 406.
Do I need to take out insurance, or am I covered?
If you live in Joseph Stones House and usually in any of the other private halls, you will generally get basic insurance cover as part of the deal – but we strongly advise that you insure your personal belongings, particularly if you will be bringing musical instruments, equipment, a computer etc. with you.
Endsleigh have policies designed for students at a reasonable cost, or you may get cover through your parent/guardian's house insurance.
Do I need to get a TV licence?
If you are living in halls and you intend to have your own TV in your room, you must buy your own TV licence. If you are living in a shared house, you will need a TV licence to cover the house. If you watch TV programmes on a laptop, mobile phone or any other device that receives television programmes, you need to be covered by a TV licence. www.tvlicensing.co.uk/students
As an FE student I don't get a student loan. How can I afford to live away from home?
Some Further Education students may be eligible for financial assistance with rental costs, from the Residential Bursary fund. For more information refer to Fees and Funding.