At some point during your student life, you’ll almost certainly need to sort out your own rented accommodation. So follow our top tips—and remember, our Student Welfare Team is always there to help.

Check before you sign!

Although there are some great landlords in Leeds, unfortunately (as everywhere) some are a little more slippery. Check any rental contract over carefully; who’s responsible for repairs and utilities? What penalties are there for late payment? What about deposits? What if you want to leave early? There’s some good advice from the NUS but, if in doubt, always check with our Student Welfare Team.

Leave it as you found it!

You’re going to want to make the place feel like home, but you also need to be reasonable. Redecorating or drilling into the walls may not go down well with the landlord, so check first. You may be required to look after the garden, so stay on top of it before it becomes a daunting wilderness. Damage like marks on the wall, cigarette burns and broken fixtures will probably come out of your deposit; and if you leave the place dirty, the landlord may charge you for having the place professionally cleaned. Don’t leave rubbish behind. And remember—you may need this landlord’s good reference before you can secure your next place!

Be safe!

By law, your landlord needs to have all gas and electrical appliances checked annually; ask to see the certificates, and make sure they’re up to date. Ensure there are enough smoke-detectors (check out the Fire Service’s safety tips), and check the batteries every week by pressing the button. Know where your fire escape routes are, and keep them uncluttered. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a danger; know how to protect yourself, and if your landlord hasn’t provided a detector, get yourself one.

Share carefully!

A virtual stranger could be the perfect housemate, whereas a close friend could turn out to be the housemate from hell. Think carefully about who you pick and why, and agree the house rules in advance. What’s for sharing, and what’s yours? How do you split the housework and the bills? How do you all get some personal space? The NUS has good advice on sharing, but if you run into problems, don’t let them build up: come and talk to our Student Welfare Team.

Get that deposit back!

Of course, your landlord may be perfectly entitled to keep some or all of your deposit if you haven’t kept to your side of the deal. But some landlords will push it far as they can; the NUS has some great tips for getting your deposit back when you leave.