When you rent a new property, it feels like the list of things to do is endless. Here’s some information that should be helpful to you.
Before you move in
Once you've found a suitable place to rent, you will need to agree terms with your landlord, sign a tenancy agreement and pay your deposit and rent in advance. You may also be asked to provide references.
Before you agree to move into a new property, you should always check that the landlord is registered with the council. See our useful links at the bottom of this page to find the register.
Whatever the landlord or letting agent says, it’s against the law for them to make you pay any fees or premiums on top of your rent and deposit. Check out Shelter Scotland’s campaign about unlawful fees for more information. You can even claim up to five years past fees!
Be aware that an advert for a property may not always be legitimate. If a property seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Always do your research, use reputable property sites, check out the landlord or letting agent, speak to the university accommodation service if you are unsure about anything, and make sure the address exists by using Google Maps. Even better, visit the property to avoid disappointment.
House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO)
Most students live in a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) property. An HMO is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who aren't members of the same family. HMO landlords must have a licence from the council. This licence is in addition to being registered with the council as a landlord and your landlord must have a HMO licence for each HMO property. This ensures that the property is managed properly and meets certain safety standards.
Signing a lease
Make sure you get a written agreement from your landlord. Tenancy agreements have to include the names of the landlord and tenants, the address of the rented property, how much and how often the rent is to be paid and the length of the lease. Even if you don’t have a written agreement you will still have rights. Shelter’s page on tenancy agreements gives you more information:
Making an inventory
An inventory is a list of the contents of a property and their condition. Having an inventory is very important and can help to get your deposit back, as it proves what state the property and contents were in when you arrived. When you move in, make sure you take plenty of photographs (especially of anything damaged) as evidence of the condition of your property.
Tenancy deposit schemes
Your landlord must put your deposit into a tenancy deposit scheme. Tenancy deposit schemes will prevent deposits from being withheld unfairly by landlords. Some landlords are not taking a deposit to avoid using a TDS. If this happens, and you are charged for repairs after you leave and you think these are unfair, remember you can still contest them.
Getting repairs done
You should always report any problems to your landlord, as soon as you become aware of them. Even if the repair is minor and you're not that bothered about getting it fixed, you should always let your landlord know about it. Your landlord has a legal responsibility to keep your home up to a certain standard of repair.
Ending your tenancy properly
You must let your landlord know in advance that you wish to end your tenancy. The amount of notice you have to give will depend on the kind of tenancy you have. Your tenancy agreement should state how much notice you need to give before moving out and how you must give notice.
Your rights if you have a disability
Your landlord has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to your accommodation if you have a disability - see Shelter’s information on disabled people’s rights in private rented accommodation.
Full time students are exempt from paying council tax. You must be registered as a full time student or doing over 21 hours per week. Part–time students are generally not exempt.
At the start of each academic year, the University sends a list of registered full time students to the council. However, sometimes due to various reasons you may be missed off the list and receive a bill from the council. You can pick up a form from the Student Service Centre in the Hugh Nisbet building and send it off to the council to confirm you are a registered student.
If you live with a non-student, they can apply for a 25% reduction in council tax.
If you are having problems with council tax or the council then pop into the Advice Hub. Don't ignore the bill!