Rent levels vary depending on the standard and location of the property.
In 2011/12 the rent ranges from £40 to £75 + per student per week. Water rates are normally included in the rent. The average rent excluding utilities is £45.00 per week. Many landlords now offer rent packages that include utilities.
Remember - just because one property is more expensive than another does not necessarily mean it is better - landlords who bought their property before the recent increase in house prices are able to market their properties at a lower rent.
You should not be afraid to negotiate with landlords over rent levels and facilities in the house.
Unless you wish to live in the property over the summer, half rent is payable over the summer for the vast majority of properties and full rent for the rest of the year.
If the property has major work to be done over the summer and is not habitable, rent should not be payable until the house is habitable.
If the landlord has agreed to carry out work on the property over the summer, make sure you have a signed written agreement from the landlord, detailing all the work to be carried out. When signing the tenancy agreement, state in writing that you are signing the agreement subject to all the work being completed by the beginning of the academic year.
You are strongly advised not to accept a property advertised for students if full rent is payable over the summer . Some landlords 'hide' a full rent charge by charging half rent over the summer and then add the 'other half' of the summer rent on to the term time rent - check what your annual rent will be.
Do not sign for a property you cannot afford.
Remember to consider bills and food costs when working out how much rent you can pay. Approximately £15-£20 each per week for food and £15-£20 per week each for bills should be budgeted for.
Remember to check what period the agreement is for, whether water rates are included in the rent and try to find out how much the bills are likely to be (ask the current tenants), when working out if you can afford the property.
Do not sign a tenancy agreement which goes beyond the end of the academic year (end of next June).
Deposits average £100 per student.
This may be higher if there are a small number of students in the property or the fitting and furnishings are new or of a high standard.
Do not be afraid to negotiate if a landlord asks for a substantially higher level of deposit. The landlord can use a deposit to cover any outstanding rent payment, any damage to the property or fittings other than fair wear and tear, any cleaning costs and the cost of replacing locks and keys if necessary.
You should not pay a deposit before signing a tenancy agreement.
NEVER GIVE ANY MONEY FOR RENT OR DEPOSIT WITHOUT RECEIVING A RECEIPT, WHICH SHOULD INDICATE THE AMOUNT PAID AND REASON FOR PAYMENT.
By law, all deposits must be protected using one of the government's Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes, and tenants must be given details in writing of the scheme. For further information please visit http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Privaterenting/Tenancies/DG_189120
Some landlords ask for a parental guarantor form to be signed by the parents. This is not common practice in Stockton - most landlords do not request this. If you decide to accept a property from a landlord who has this requirement, you and your parents should be aware that your parents will be legally liable for the rent if you do not pay.
MAKE SURE THAT THE GUARANTOR AGREEMENT IS LIMITED TO YOUR OWN SHARE OF THE RENT ONLY AND DOES NOT COVER OTHER TENANTS' RENT OR COST OF DAMAGE.