With the pressure increasing from housing providers to rebook for next academic year, find out our list of Top 10 Reasons Not To Rush To Rent!
Every academic year, as early as October, some housing providers ask you to re-sign your contract for the next academic year. Not only this, but other accommodation providers then feel the need to compete and ask you to start signing contracts from October onwards- but we’re here to tell you DON’T RUSH TO RENT!
But… don’t just take my word for it, here’s 10 reasons NOT TO RUSH TO RENT:
- Don't limit your options by booking too early - Many contracts in Coventry don’t specify that you need to decide whether to renew your contract until 2 months before it ends, and with most contracts not ending till July this gives you until May to decide whether to renew your contract or not – really close to the end of most students’ academic year. This also means many accommodations (generally private housing) won’t be advertised until April/ May time and so if you rent too quickly you are potentially limiting your options
- You need enough time to check all the small print - Once you’ve paid a holding fee, you only have 2 weeks to hand over your deposit and secure your place (this is often equivalent to one month’s rent). This can often mean that you don’t check contracts correctly as around the November/ December months students are often so busy with assignments and exams that you don’t have the time. This could mean that you get trapped into a contract without fully checking all of the clauses, for example some contracts do not allow overnight guests in their “small print.”
- Deposits are expensive, wait until after the winter holidays - Paying deposits and ensuring a place in new housing can be incredibly expensive- with deposits already costing a month’s rent (can range anywhere from £300-£650 per month). If you book your accommodation before the beginning of Semester 2, you often won’t have the finances left to do this and if you do, you’re going to struggle financially over the Winter Holiday. By waiting until the second or third semester payments, you will have more financial freedom when securing new housing.
- Wait until you're more sure of your circumstances for the next academic year - Once you’ve signed a contract, the only way to leave it is usually finding a replacement tenant (which can often be very difficult). This means that if you leave university as a result of unforeseen circumstances or because you decide to take a different path, then you may be trapped into paying the remaining agreed term of tenancy which could be thousands of pounds. If you have withdrawn from university, regardless of the reason, you will no longer be able to access student finance and thus this situation could be financially overwhelming.
- There will always be a property available, regardless of how late you book - There are more rooms than students. Every year there are empty rooms, which means even if you turned up last minute (we absolutely do not advise this), but there will always be a housing option. This means there’s no need to rush, and you’ll often find if you wait that housing providers lower their tenancy in order to fill the space.
- Take time to negotiate contract lengths with providers - If you sign soon, the chances are you will be locked into a minimum of 47 weeks tenancy. Due to our academic year being only two semesters, many students often find that they spend money paying for a third semester even though you may no longer be living in the city. If you take time to contact housing providers and negotiate contract length, you could save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.
- Wait to figure out who you actually want to live with - You don’t have to live with the same people! It’s common that students think that they should live with the same people throughout their university experience. However, whilst some of you may be positive that you’ve definitely found your best friends, it’s common for friendship groups to change at university, especially between the first year’s first and second semester. Leave it as long as possible before rushing to rent with people you think you want to live with, you don’t want to be stuck in a house with people you don’t want to live with or in an environment where you can’t be happy and thrive.
- Visit the Housing Fair first and find out the huge number of options for housing - Use the Student Union’s housing fair as opportunity to see your plethora of options for housing. Do you want to live in a house? Do you want shared facilities, an en-suite, or a studio to yourself? How far from campus do you want to live? What are your realistic price limits? Do you want bills included or to pay them separately? Spend the fair asking housing providers what they can offer you, what discounts they’re willing to give, and why they’re the best place for you to live. All of the housing providers at the fair have been through a checking process to ensure that their contracts are beneficial for our students. You can sign up to the housing fair here: https://www.cusu.org/housingfair/
- Keep your academic/ career options open - If you rent too early, you limit your opportunities for accepting opportunities that may appear further on in the academic year, primarily placement opportunities! If you rent later, you keep your plans more flexible going forward, and may find something that hugely helps you grow as a person and as a professional. However, if you rent to early, you may miss out on these valuable opportunities due to the financial obligations in the contract you sign.
- Wait till January to get your contract checked by the Student Union Advice Centre - Take the opportunity of the Student Union Advice Centre’s contract checks in January. When you start looking for housing, SUAC can offer free contract checks where they help you ensure that you’re not signing a contract that doesn’t benefit you. If you rush to rent, you may not get your contract checked, and could end up trapped in a contract with various clauses that cause you issues throughout your time there.
If you have any questions about housing, visit the Student Union Advice Centre's webpage: https://www.cusu.org/housingfair/advice/
If you're still unsure, please contact the Student Union Advice Centre at: firstname.lastname@example.org.