Getting Your Foot in the Door
Renting for the first time? Problems finding somewhere to live? Can you afford it? Problem landlord or problem tenants? Mushrooms growing on the walls? The landlord won't fix the heating? Been asked to leave? The landlord's changed the locks? The landlord won't pay your deposit back when you leave?
Tips for negotiating rent with your landlord
- Check (and double-check) your tenancy agreement
There may be a break clause and if it does, let us know and we can give you advice on how to implement it. If it doesn't and you're struggling to pay rent, it is important to communicate with your landlord at the earliest opportunity.
- Include all information in your letter
Outline your circumstances, including if you have moved out, become ill, or are struggling to pay the full rent whilst living in the property. There may be specific reasons such as unemployment or illness that should be stated and there may be relevant dates such as when your course changed, when you moved out or when you were made redundant.
- Get feedback on your draft letter
It's always good to get feedback so email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and make sure to include a copy of your tenancy agreement.
- Keep records of your communication
Make sure it is all in writing as it is easier to trace. If you request a rent holiday and your landlord responds negatively, please contact Shelter for further advice.
- Offer different options to your landlord
Make sure you are offering options that are realistic, there are some options below.
Possible outcomes could be:
- You might get released from your tenancy agreement early without any financial penalties
- You might be offered a rent reduction - paid on the original payment dates.
- You might be allowed a rent holiday - this would pause payments for an agreed period. However, you would have to pay in full at a later date.
If there are any other changes to your circumstances, communicate that new information to your landlord. They might change their mind on any initial decisions they have made.
Know Your Rights
Click on the link to download our short guide on renting from a private landlord.
And if you’ve got a problem with your housing, get free, independent and confidential housing advice from your Students’ Union.
We can also refer you to local specialist support to take action if you need to.
WHAT STUDENTS SAY
“Without the student union I might have dropped out of the course -as my accommodation was in bad shape.”
“There are lots of houses available in Greenwich, but it may also be worth a look in other areas such as Blackheath, Charlton, Woolwich and even just across the river in the Docklands area. By expanding your search, you are more likely to find affordable housing.”
“ If you are going home over the summer or on holiday, it may be best to wait until late August before you start looking. Most houses require you to move in quite quickly, and no one wants to be paying rent on a house they won't be living in.”
“Go into the accomodation office at the University and ask them for any information, there is also a memo board which some landlords advertise properties on.”
“Think about how you will get to Uni and how long you want to spend travelling. Also bear in mind the cost of this, it may actually work out cheaper overall to pay a higher rent and walk to and from the campus every day.”
“It is always a good idea to view as many properties as possible. Try to arrange viewings of as many kinds of property and in as many locations as possible; some might surprise you!”
“If you view a house and think it’s the one for you, it is always a good idea to have the money for a holding deposit available.”
“Most estate agents will charge a lot for their services, and this can be even more for a group of students. There are usually administration fees, credit reference fees and inventory fees. To avoid nasty surprises, ask for a list of these costs upfront and if they are excessive negotiate.”
Top 10 tips
Protect your money and feel secure when you move into rented accommodation with these ten tips.
1 Only sign a tenancy agreement if you are 100% sure that you want to move into the property. You are liable for the whole of the rent for the fixed term of the agreement once you sign the contract.
2 Be aware that if you sign a joint tenancy agreement when you move into a property, you are jointly liable for the rent even if another tenant does not pay the rent or decides to move out.
3 Make sure that you fill out an inventory checklist before you move in and take pictures of any disrepair so that you are not charged for any missing items when you vacate the property. Send these pictures to the landlord or letting agent so they are dated.
4 Make sure that your tenancy is protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.
5 Make sure that any fees that you are charged are in line with the new Tenants fees bill 2019.
6 Make sure that you have an UK address for your landlord on your tenancy agreement.
7 Your landlord is responsible for fixing any repairs but make sure that you report it and put it in writing.
8 Make sure that you take a meter reading for both gas and electricity and contact your provider to tell them the date that you have moved in. This will prevent you from being overcharged.
9 Make sure that your you have a current gas safety certificate (GSC) when you moved in. Ask your landlord for the GSC as it is a legal requirement to have one.
10 Agree at the start how you are going to share the bills if sharing with other tenants.