Once you have found a property, you could be asked to sign a contract straight away, or you may be asked to give personal details and leave a deposit, and return later to sign a contract.
Before you sign make sure you know what you are signing for to avoid any problems during your tenancy.
The Student Advice Centre in the Students' Union provides a Contract Review Service. They will check the agreement for you, making sure you're not in for any nasty surprises, and advise you on whether they think you should sign or not.
We advise you use this service before you sign anything. It's essential that you understand what you are signing and committing to.
Types of contracts
Shorthold Assured TenancyShorthold Assured Tenancy
The most common form of contract is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. This is a legally binding agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenants.
The vast majority of contracts in Newcastle are for a fixed period of 12 months. Students pay full rent over the summer vacation. In some limited cases the landlord may offer a tenancy for a shorter period of time.
The only release from a contract is to find a suitable replacement person (usually another student) who has agreed to take over your contractual responsibilities.
You must speak to your landlord/letting agent immediately if you want to end your tenancy earlier than the agreed date.
We can help you advertise for a replacement tenant. This is free of charge. Contact us for more information. You need the permission of your landlord.
Joint ContractsJoint Contracts
Most student properties in Newcastle are let on a joint tenancy basis. This means tenants sign the same agreement and are equally liable for the full rent due on the property.
If any of the tenants fail to pay their share of the total rent, the landlord can hold the other tenants in the property liable for the unpaid arrears.
Damage to the property, or cleaning at the end of the tenancy, is also the joint responsibility of all the tenants.
The only exception is if one or more of the tenants claim responsibility for the damage. They have to agree to meet the repair/replacement costs themselves.
Single ContractsSingle Contracts
Some landlords offer single tenancy agreements. This is where each student in the property signs their own contract. They each take sole responsibility for their part of the rent.
Under this contract they are responsible for any damage done to their study-bedroom. There is still joint responsibility for the common areas of the property.
Single contract dates of the tenancy may vary between members of the same household.
If single contracts are offered, this will often be detailed on the property advert. This is not common in Newcastle.
Your landlord will charge a refundable deposit as security against the tenancy. This is separate from your rent payments.
Your deposit is refunded at the end of your tenancy after you have moved out, returned keys and the landlord has checked your property. A landlord may make deductions from a deposit to cover certain costs.
These costs generally include any repairs or damage that result from the negligence of the tenant. This can also include any necessary cleaning.
Deposits must be held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme by your landlord. You can find further details of how these schemes work on the GOV.UK website.
The aim of this is to make sure that you get part or all of your deposit back, if you are entitled to it. It also provides an arbitration service in case of any disputes with your landlord.
The Scheme encourages landlords and tenants to make a clear agreement at the start of the tenancy on the condition of the property.
Make sure that your landlord gives you details of which deposit scheme they're using.
We can offer basic housing advice to assist you during your search for private accommodation and are here to support you with any concerns whilst you live in the private rented sector
The Private Sector Team offers advice to students living in the private sector. Find us in Student Services on Level 2 of the Kings Gate building.
Contact the Student Advice Centre to arrange an appointment to have your contract checked before signing, or for any other contractual issues during your tenancy.
The Student Advice Centre is in the Students' Union.
Telephone: 0191 2393979