Advice for securing a property

It has almost come round to our lettings season again.  Our team really enjoy this time of year, as we love helping tenants find what we hope will be the right property for them.  Please ask us questions if you are not clear on something – our team are always happy to help.

Viewing procedure differences

Of course, everything looks a little different this year, but we have put plans in place which we hope you will find useful in deciding upon a property for the 2021/22 academic year.

This year our properties are being shown online from mid-December, but you will not be able to apply for a property until 1st January 2021.

We will not be conducting in person viewings, so our adverts include the following to help you decide if a property is right for you:

  • floor plan
  • photographs
  • video or a live stream viewing slot
  • detailed descriptions
  • bullet points of key features

We hope that the above will be sufficient for tenants to make a decision on a property, but we are also available for viewings over Zoom to talk through the information you can find online, and answer any questions.

We appreciate that everyone likes to do things differently, but we hope we have enough different options to suit all groups.

Things to consider about properties

As you may not be viewing the properties in person, it is more imperative than ever that you gather the answers to any questions you have before taking a property.  Things you should take into consideration:

  • Distance from Uni. – think of the times that you would be walking home from a late lecture, or those early morning starts.
  • Do you need to store your bike somewhere? Is there a shed?  Are there any lockable rings for storage?
  • Do you drive? Do you need driveway parking?  Is there permit parking or just on street parking?
  • Distance to town – do you have a job in town? Do you want to be closer to Uni or to town, or in the middle?
  • The location – does it work for you, are there sufficient busses to Uni etc?
    • You could go for a walk round the location you are considering prior to even starting to look for properties.
  • Your housemates – it may sound obvious, but can you live with this person for almost a year?
  • Do the tenancy dates work for you?  These are fixed dates but you may find other properties with more suitable dates.
  • Does the price include bills?  The majority of ours do, and these are set in stone, but there are some available without bills included if that is what you prefer.
    • The internet we provide will depend upon what is available in the particular area.  Speeds vary depending upon the time of day and the location of the property, as does our ability to provide Virgin or fibre internet.  If you need a particularly high speed or fibre service etc. for your course, please bear this in mind.
    • the internet provided in the properties may not be as quick as you may have found in your halls.
  • Do you want locks on your bedroom door?  We do not provide keys for the majority of the locks on bedroom doors, as when renting as part of a group you are renting the whole property and not just a room.

Frequently Asked Questions about contracts

Every year we are asked similar questions, or have similar comments mentioned, so we wanted to give you some tips which we hope you will find useful in deciding upon a property for the 2021/22 academic year:

  • Most contracts are signed on a joint and several liability basis – this means that you and your housemates all have a joint responsibility to pay the rent and look after the property.
  • Our contracts and guarantor forms are all signed online – so you do not need to be able to get to York or to the office to sign.
  • We ask for a guarantor from everyone – this person agrees to pay your rent should you not be able to pay it, so you must ensure that you are happy to ask them for assistance if you need it.
  • Please read through contracts carefully before you sign them.  Once they are signed and completed they are legally binding.  We would much rather you ask us questions before you get to the signing stage if you have any concerns at all.  We can send you blank contracts to read through before you apply for a property, please just send us an email.
  • Rent is paid monthly over the summer and then in 3 instalments to coincide with your student loans – our payments differ as the payments cover a different number of months.  Other landlords and agents will probably do things in a different way so make sure that you are clear on how much will be due and when before you sign your contracts.
  • Deposits are paid at the point of signing, and they are held for the length of the tenancy to cover any damage done or cleaning required at the end of the tenancy.
  • You (and your guarantors) must sign contracts within 3 days of your application – please ensure that everyone is available at some point during this time to sign.
  • Properties are let on a first come first served basis – it is a quick process, and unfortunately you might lose out on your favourite property if you do not act quick, but we would recommend that you take steps in advance to ensure that you are prepared for this, and not rushing into the decision:
    • Ask to read through a blank contract so you know the clauses you will be signing for – this can be done before you apply for a property which saves you time during your 3 days – ask your guarantor to have a read through too.
    • Know your guarantor details – you need to know their name and email address
    • Speak to your guarantor in advance and ensure they also know there is just 3 days.  They will not get a copy of the contract and guarantor agreement until you have signed.
    • Have your deposit payment ready – this is usually £350, but does differ for some properties.
  • All landlords and agencies work differently and have different contracts etc. – please do not assume that if you have read one contract that another will have the same terms and conditions in.

Please ask us if you have any questions about any of our properties, or the information we have provided.  As mentioned before we want to help you find the right property, so feel free to ask us any questions.