Finding somewhere to live can be daunting...

It can be stressful when it comes to finding a home but this page can help you with the main points of finding, securing and living in a rented property.

We've compiled some resources and information in collaboration with local housing charities, estate agents and landlords to help you out with finding somewhere to live; as well as common issues you may encounter when living in private rented accommodation in and around Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne.

You can download our housing magazine for more info here.

Contact

Here at Brighton SU Support we can help you explore your options and the implications of your choices. In all cases, the earlier you contact us the more assistance we will be able to give you.

For help with any of these issues above please contact us and we can arrange to provide one-to-one advice and support.

First year students

If you are a new undergraduate student at the University of Brighton, the University will try to give you accommodation. This could be in halls of residence or through the Unihomes or Unilets scheme. You will need to apply for this through the University accommodation system before you start at University.

All students

There are many ways that you can find a property including through a letting agent or online property websites. The University of Brighton run a service called Student Homes which links students directly to landlords so there are no agency fees.

  • Budget

    When looking for a property, work out what your upper limit of monthly costs are. Remember to include bills, food, University materials, travel, and other expenses when looking at what you can afford. Having a monthly budget will not just help you understand your price range for renting, it can help when controlling your expenditure.

  • Friends

    It is easier to look for a property with multiple people to fill it rather than looking for individual rooms. Discuss what you can all afford when setting out on the hunt for properties. When deciding on who to live with, discuss what you would have as house rules and what you would expect from each other. This will help you understand the lifestyle of the people you are looking at renting with.

  • Property

    Knowing what you get for your money is important. When looking at properties online, look at the description because what is pictured may not be included. Furnished properties come with furniture and kitchen appliances. Un-furnished properties range widely on what they come with so always check the listing details. Asking for a floor plan will help you understand the layout of the property with the help of photos.

  • View it!

    Do not put money down on a property without looking at it in person first. Even though properties can go quickly, you should always have a look at the property before securing it. Before looking at a property, write a list of questions you have and what is included in the property so you can use that list for your viewing. Make sure you have a good look at the property and see the quality of what is on offer.

Remember to print the housing checklist to tick off criteria when you view the property!

For more information, visit University of Brighton Accommodation Website or contact them:

BRIGHTON: 01273 644100 or at accommodation@brighton.ac.uk

accomeastbourne@brighton.ac.uk

"While House Hunting can seem like a huge task, it doesn't need to be difficult. We hope that you find this webpage useful when finding your ideal student house! there is always help and guidance from both the Students' Union and the University - you can find their contact details at the top of the page."

Amy Jaiteh

VP Welfare & Campaigns

 
 
 
 
 
 

Money

There are many costs that can be involved with securing a property. Ask for all of the costs upfront with the letting agent/landlord before putting any money down on a property. Always ask about costs when looking at properties and before putting any money down to secure the property. Below is a breakdown of some of these costs.

  • Admin Fees

    These fees cover the costs of administration for the property. This can include contract fees, reference checks and credit checks. Make sure you look at all the fees that are being charged and question fees that you do not know/understand.

  • Holding Deposit

    A holding deposit is a deposit that is given to secure a property until you need to pay the full deposit and first rent payment. If you put a holding deposit down and take the property, that money will go towards admin fees, deposit and/or the first rent payment. If you put a holding deposit down and do not take the property, the letting agent/landlord is able to keep this money so be sure before you put the holding deposit down.

  • Deposit

    The main deposit for a property usually refers to a security deposit. This is an amount of money that is held so that if any damage/loss is made, it can be deducted. All security deposits have to be put into a government backed deposit scheme. This is so that your money is safe and deductions are agreed by both you and the landlord before they are taken. You will get confirmation of this scheme when you pay the deposit so make sure you keep this safe.

  • Rent in Advance

    Most landlords will ask for one month’s rent in advance. This means that you pay the rent upfront for the month. So, if you move in on the 1st of September, you will be asked to pay the rent for the month of September on the 1st September. You should be notified of this when securing the property.

Common Problems

Mould

Your letting agent/landlord may have given you a guide on preventing mould. There are a few things you can do to help prevent mould. This includes:

  • reducing tumble-drying or having the exhaust of a tumble dryer outside of the house
  • not drying clothes on radiators
  • ventilate properly when cooking and using a shower/bath

If you do find mould, wipe it with warm, soapy water and then dry the wall with a cloth and then dispose of the cloths you used. Make sure you wear gloves when removing mould and cover/move any soft furnishings.

Housemate Disputes

If you are having a minor dispute with housemates, try to solve it internally with a discussion with them. This can be done by doing it at the house or in a place with someone there who is neutral and can help with discussions.

If you are having a dispute that cannot be solved with a discussion, you can get support from the following people:

Landlord Disputes

When dealing with landlord disputes, it is always good to have support. When dealing with landlord disputes, make sure you keep all correspondence with them as evidence. Also, it is good to keep other evidence, this can include:

  • For rent/payment disputes: You can get bank statements from online banking or from your nearest branch.
  • For deposit/damage disputes: Take photos of the place when you move in and move out and have your inventory to hand. More information can be found on the Get In and Get Out pages.

If you are having a dispute that cannot be solved with a discussion, you can get support from the Andrew Keeffe at A.W.B.Keeffe@brighton.ac.uk

Repairs

In your contract or your welcome pack, you will have information on sorting out repairs or maintenance issues. Any maintenance which isn’t your fault (usually referred to as general wear and tear) should be at the cost to the landlord and you shouldn’t pay anything. You may need to be around to give contractors access to make repairs but sometimes the landlord/letting agent will give access directly after asking for your permission.

If you have an emergency repair scenario (what constitutes an emergency is outlined in your contract/welcome pack), use the emergency repair phone number that is in your contract/welcome pack.

Electricity & Gas Safety

If you have a power cut, do not call your electricity supplier as they do not have control over the grid directly. Call the National Grid directly on 105 or search “Power Cut 105” online.

For properties that have gas, if you smell a gas leak, call 0800 111 999. Also, open all windows and doors; do not smoke or light a flame; do not turn any switches on or off; and if possible, turn off the meter at the control handle unless the meter is in the cellar.

If you are in a gas property, you will have a carbon monoxide alarm. If this alarm sounds, open all windows and doors; turn off all appliances that you are using; and evacuate the property immediately. Once you are safely outside, call 0800 111 999 and seek medical help immediately. Going outside with the fresh air will not treat any exposure to the gas so make sure you get medical help.

 

Person signing documents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Council Tax

A tax charged to the residents of a property. If all residents in a property are students, that property does not need to pay council tax. If any of the residents are not students, council tax will need to be paid.

 
 
 
 

 

Moving into a new place is always exciting but even after you have moved everything in, there is some important things you should remember. This list will help you remember some of the most important activities you should do in the first few weeks.

Arrange bills and suppliers

Once you take the keys, you will have a limited amount of time (check with your landlord/letting agent) to be able to make amendments to the inventory list. This is the list of everything that is provided to you so make sure that it is correct and any imperfections/broken equipment is listed.

Register to vote

For voter registration online, you just need your National Insurance number and it takes a few minutes to register. It is important to register/update your address as soon as you move so you don’t forget when the deadline comes for the next election or referendum.

Change your address

Create a list of all the accounts you have that has your address. Most accounts that have your address is your bank and everything that is billed to your bank account. This can include streaming services, subscription boxes, takeaway services, and online shopping.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Take photos

Take photos of the place including all imperfections and items supplied by the landlord. It is good to have this just in case there is a dispute about damage when you move out or during inspections.

 

Take photos

Take photos of the place including all imperfections and items supplied by the landlord. It is good to have this just in case there is a dispute about damage when you move out or during inspections

Check your deposit records

Your landlord has to put your deposit into a government backed deposit protection scheme. These are usually done via email so make sure you keep that email safe. Check that your deposit is in one of the schemes listed on the Government Website, and check that the amount is correct to what you paid for the deposit.

Register for healthcare

You can find your new local GP on the NHS website. The best way to register is to go in person to the GP to pick up the forms needed. Make sure that you have a government issued photographic ID (i.e passport, driving licence) when you register for your GP. Also, don't forget to register with a local dentist!

 

Moving out can be a daunting experience for some, it may leave you feeling overwhelmed with trying to remember all the things you need to do before leaving. Here is a handy list to help you remember all the important things so that you don’t get caught out by anything.

 

Take LAst meter readings

For the close of utility accounts, you will need to supply final meter readings. Make sure you take the full reading on the meter and the date that you took it. Some companies can accept a photo of the meter but check with them beforehand.

Picture of turned on tap
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Notify utilities that you're leaving

Let all the utility companies know when you are leaving so you can close your account at the right time with the right readings. This includes any home internet contracts and council tax. Some internet/TV providers will ask you to send the equipment back as you only rent it for the contract so make sure you send this off using the company’s instructions.

Clean

Have a deep clean after you have moved out your belongings is very important. If the landlord does not think that the place is up to scratch for someone to move in, they will put a cleaning charge against your deposit. Make sure you dust, vacuum, and clean everywhere; including the oven and hob.

Request inventory and check everything

Check off everything that is stated in the inventory that you got when you moved in. The landlord can charge for anything that is damaged, broken or missing from the inventory through the deposit. Also check that you haven’t left anything in the place when you leave. You could be charged for disposing anything that you have left.

Take photos

Having evidence is important. Take photos of the place when you move out to prove that the place is clean, tidy, and everything on the inventory is accounted for. If you need to dispute any charges taken off the deposit, you will have evidence.

Take last meter readings

For the close of utility accounts, you will need to supply final meter readings. Make sure you take the full reading on the meter and the date that you took it. Some companies can accept a photo of the meter but check with them beforehand.

Living

Living by yourself or in a shared house without your trusted ones near, can be a big step. It may be your first time living independently, which can leave you feeling stressed that you will forget to do some things that you perhaps didn’t have to think about whilst living at home. To help ease you into independent living we have put together a list of useful tips.

Keys

Make sure you keep your keys safe and have the emergency number for if you have lost your keys on your phone. If you are looking at making copies of your keys, ask the landlord or letting agent first.

Parties

Check your contract if there is a no noise period. You will usually have one if you are living in a block of flats. Always be mindful of neighbours if you are planning to have a party. If you have a problem with a neighbour making noise, it is always good to try to speak to them first before issuing a noise complaint formally.

If you do encounter any problems, contact the University's Accommodation Office for further support:

BRIGHTON: 01273 644100 or at accommodation@brighton.ac.uk

EASTBOURNE: 01273 643810 or at accomeastbourne@brighton.ac.uk

Cleaning

It is always good to regularly clean your place so that dirt does not build up. Make sure you use the right cleaning product for the right surface by reading the instructions before use. Products intended for metal shouldn’t be used on other surfaces. When checking cleaning products, always check the warning labels. If you are using a vacuum, make sure you change the bag (if uses a bag) and check the filter regularly.

Insurance

When getting home insurance, check how much the insurance covers. If your belongings that are stolen or destroyed exceed the value of your insurance plan, you will only get the maximum of the plan. Keep an inventory of all your belongings so that you have a list for the insurance company if needed.

Rubbish

Check when and where your rubbish is collected. This will be in the documents that you received when you moved in. If your rubbish collection includes a bin store or a wheelie bin, check the instructions on the move in documents.

Washing

If you have a washing machine, make sure you fill it fully to save energy. Check with the manufactures documents how it should be used including tablets and fabric softener. Make sure you look for the washing instructions on your clothes as it could need a special setting or need to be hand washed. If you are using the local laundrette, check that you have change, washing powder, and an easy way to carry washing to and from the laundrette.

Recycling

Look at your move in documents about any information on how recycling is done in your area. For recycling most materials that are recyclable, there are recycle banks available and they can be found online. Most supermarkets will have areas to recycle plastic bags and batteries.

Bills

If you have monthly bills, send regular meter reading so that your bills can be more accurate and you are less likely to overpay or underpay when you leave. Some utility companies offer discount if you pay by direct debit and/or have online billing. If you are using direct debit, make sure that you have the money in your account on the date that the bill goes out so you do not get a “bounce back” and get charged extra for late billing.

If you are on a gas card or electricity key, regularly check how much is left on your meters. If you need to, you can activate the emergency setting that makes your meter go into debt up to a certain amount. If you do this, make sure you pay this off and top up as soon as you can.

Dishwasher

When using a dishwasher, check that it is filled with rinse aid and dishwasher salt. Make sure you do not overload the dishwasher and that everything going in can be washed in a dishwasher. Only use dishwasher tablets and check the salt and rinse aid regularly.

Inspections

Your contract will show how often your landlord/letting agent does an inspection. They have to inform you before they enter your property via email or phone. Make sure the property is tidy for inspection. If you clean regularly, you do not need to worry about having a deep clean before your inspection.

Alarms

Make sure that you test your fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm (houses with gas) at least once a month. Most alarms have a test button for this. Do not remove the battery from alarms. This can invalidate your insurance and is unsafe. If you alarm sounds regularly when you are cooking, it can be turned off by holding the button on the alarm.