As students across NI get their “A” level results, local charity Housing Rights Service has come up with handy tips and a short video for anyone thinking about renting privately.
Many students heading off to College or University will choose to rent privately. The sector has grown rapidly in recent years and now makes up for 17% of all households, nearly 130,000 homes in Northern Ireland.
Claire Moss, Housing Rights Service Communications Officer commented: “Setting up home for the first time can be both exciting and daunting. Students heading off to College or University can often be unsure about their rights and responsibilities when renting privately. Our tips to help avoid any potential problems are:”
1. Don’t panic and sign up for the first property you see – it pays to shop around
2. Think about the type of property suited to your needs- shared, self contained, flat or house.
3. Consider the location – is it near schools, shops, bus route?
4. Can you afford the costs involved-deposit, rent, rates, heating, electric?
5. When viewing a property look out for any disrepair or signs of damp.
6. Check the inventory of items in the property, including their condition, before signing off.
7. It’s advisable to have contents insurance, as this isn’t normally covered by the landlord.
8. Don’t sign a tenancy agreement unless you are clear about the obligations placed on you.
9. Know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
10. If in doubt get free, independent advice.
Housing Rights Service public advice site www.housingadviceni.org has lots of information on all aspects of renting privately. The charity has also produced a 3 minute video that is designed to help people find private rented accommodation and understand their rights. The video has been scripted and overseen by members of Northern Ireland’s first Private Tenants Forum – a group of tenants who have come together to help improve conditions in private rented sector. The video is available online at http://www.housingrights.org.uk/
People experiencing homelessness or housing problems can contact Housing Rights Service on 90245640 for free independent advice.