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Discover the Best Student Accommodation in Newcastle

Are you a new student in Newcastle and England? Let me share my experience as a long-time resident of this vibrant city. Student accommodation in Newcastle can be a breeze if you know where to look and what to do.

In this guide, I’ll give you the inside scoop on Newcastle apartment renting from top renting agencies to crucial elements to consider before signing a lease.

Renting Agency for Newcastle Accommodation

Regarding renting agencies, Newcastle has significant players like SARAH MAINS, REEDS, PATTINSON, and more. There are also reliable choices like uhomes– a platform specially designed for international students.

There are also personal agencies and local rental websites like GUMTREE.  You can double-check it for direct listings from landlords without any agency fees. Just be cautious of potential scams.

The agency fees for major agencies are generally half a month’s rent (confirm if this price includes VAT). In comparison, fees for smaller agencies range from 100 to 200 pounds. There are also accommodations specifically for students, many of which do not charge agency fees, but their quality is often not exceptional.

The ground rule is you get what you pay for. Major agencies may be expensive, but they provide assurance, while smaller agencies involve a bit of risk.

However, some well-established smaller agencies can offer good deals, potentially surprising you with unexpected affordability. On the uhomes platform, many listings have no service fees, ensuring safety and the lowest prices for properties across the entire network.

House Hunting (Before/After)

location

Before you start your house search, make sure you know which area you want to live in, your budget, and the type of house you’re looking for.

It’s also essential to consider factors like smoking and pet allowances, parking availability, and transportation convenience.
Start looking for housing about a month in advance, as listings typically only stay on the market for a short time.

However, keep an eye out for the rare opportunity to reserve a place well in advance, especially if a current tenant is leaving in the future. Taking a proactive approach will help when it comes to finding your dream home.

Viewing the House in Person

Viewing the apartment is usually free, but making appointments in advance is always good. Keep going even if a property you’re interested in gets rented out before viewing. Until you sign a contract, it’s still up for grabs.

During your viewing, pay attention to details like the condition of the windows, security systems, parking options, kitchen utilities, cleanliness of carpets, furniture, heating systems, lighting, and signs of water damage. The bathrooms and kitchens are essential to evaluate.

Take note of the equipment and appliances provided by the landlord, as they can reflect their standards. Ask about approximate electricity costs – it’s always good to budget ahead.

Also, take a close look at the surrounding environment. The types of cars parked around can give you a clue about the neighbourhood. Consider transportation options, proximity to public transportation, and bus companies operating in the area.

Don’t forget to inquire about student bus passes and the cost per academic year or month. Choose your property location wisely by considering the surrounding environment. One indicator is the types of cars parked nearby. If you see a lot of luxury brands like Mercedes or BMW, it may not be the best area for you, such as FENHAM.

It’s essential to consider transportation options, like how close you are to the subway or how long it takes to reach your campus or the supermarket by bus. It’s also crucial to check if you’ll need to make transfers.

Another factor to consider is the bus company that operates in the area. For example, if you’re a student, you’ll likely be using buses from STAGE COACH unless you’re in GATESHEAD, where GO NORTH EAST is more common. And if you’re heading towards the north or the seaside, look out for the bus company ARRIVAL.

Make sure these buses accept student cards for purchasing bus passes and find out the cost for the academic year or monthly.

Lastly, check the frequency of bus departures. 10-minute intervals for STAGECOACH buses, for example, are a reasonable expectation.

Subletting and Middleman Landlords

Finding student accommodation in Newcastle can be challenging, especially if you’re alone and don’t have roommates. That’s why many students consider subletting or renting from middleman landlords. But before you make your choice, here are the pros and cons for reference.

Subletting means renting directly from the landlord without a second landlord involved. On the other hand, middleman landlord arrangements apply an agreement between you and a second landlord.

While some people may be sceptical of second landlords, they provide valuable services and should be compensated for their efforts. It’s still challenging, as they handle utility bills and take on responsibility and risks like property damage and vacancies. Middleman landlords must maintain their integrity.

However, it’s essential to note that subletting is illegal, and tenants in such arrangements lack legal protection. The original landlord has the right to evict anyone not on the contract.

So, it’s best if the second landlord has proper authorization from the original landlord. Even with approval, tenants still rely on trust and honesty for a secure agreement.

Signing a Tenancy Agreement

Legitimate rentals will have a tenancy agreement. Reviewing this agreement thoroughly and not assuming it’s standard because it’s from an agency is essential.

Some smaller agencies might include unreasonable clauses. I had a personal encounter with this while renting from a specific agency. Although it wasn’t a contract, it was an agreement regarding agency fees. I’ll explain this in detail later in the post.

The agreement should clearly outline the deposit, duration, utility costs, etc. Some properties include water bills, but many don’t, so clarify in case you are put into extra trouble.

Some major agencies may conduct a CREDIT CHECK. If you fail, they may refuse to rent the property to you. Check the terms carefully. Core issues are like If you fail the credit check, will they refund all fees?

I carefully examined the terms before signing a contract and noticed that some agencies don’t refund the agency fee if you fail the credit check. So, I strongly advise against signing such agreements.  It’s not about fearing the bill; you have no recourse if they want to deceive you.

Reasons include not knowing about the exact credit score. Also, you are uncertain about others’  interest in the same property. They may tell you that you failed the credit check. Then they rent the property to the other person, doubling their agency fee.

Don’t sign unreasonable agreements. Even if the property seems great, avoid signing such agreements. Also, don’t be too eager to sign the contract before reviewing it thoroughly.

Getting Clear about The Price

Rent prices in Newcastle can be negotiated. If you work with an agency, ask them to arrange for you. Large agencies only earn agency fees, so the cheaper they negotiate for you, the more confident they are about renting the property.

This way, they can reach their payment. They lose if they can’t negotiate the price and nobody takes the property. Therefore, agencies are usually proactive in negotiating for you in this matter.
However, it’s important to note that agency-managed houses can fall into two categories (typically with small or student-oriented agencies).

One involves the landlord asking the agency to advertise the property and earn an agency fee. Still, the landlord signs the contract and manages the property, with rent paid directly to the landlord.

The other involves the landlord giving the agency complete authority to control everything, including pricing and property maintenance. In this case, you won’t meet or communicate with the landlord; rent is paid to the agency.

If it’s the latter one, negotiating the price is up to you and the agency. The landlord might give the agency the property for £150 a month, but they offer it to you for £200 a month. You can’t blame the agency in this scenario. They aren’t forcing you to sign a contract.

If you sign the contract, you accept the price. So don’t complain online about how this person or agency cheated you, which is futile. You are the one who needs to honour the contract once after the signing. Otherwise, you will be the one who loses credit.

Keep an Eye on Your Deposit

According to the latest UK law, rental deposits are managed by a third party or a specialized organization. If you rent through an agency, this organization should hold the deposit, not the landlord or the agency.

Many landlords do not place a deposit in this organization for private rentals, which is technically illegal. Even though this has become a common practice, and at least for now, many people still follow this practice.

If a problem arises, it can be challenging to get the full deposit back; at most, you might get a partial refund, depending on the landlord’s integrity. But if the landlord refuses to refund any portion of the deposit without valid reasons, you can seek help from the CITY COUNCIL to recover the deposit.

Taking further legal action usually costs around 50 to 60 pounds, and the CITY COUNCIL will handle the process entirely. A phone call or a letter from the CITY COUNCIL to the landlord can lead to a partial or full refund. In such situations, it’s up to you to decide whether to continue pursuing legal action or accept what you can recover and move on.

Deducting a portion of the deposit after moving out is common, usually for cleaning expenses. But you can request the other party to provide an invoice. If the amount deducted seems unreasonable, you should object. Meanwhile,  you can also refer to the previous section for potential solutions.

Paying The Rent

When paying through an agency, you will always receive an invoice. You’ll get an invoice and a credit card receipt if you use a credit card. If card payment isn’t an option, checks are usually accepted and will be written in the name of a company.

Writing a personal name on a check is unconventional unless it’s for the landlord. If you pay cash to the landlord, always insist on a clear receipt, including details like the date, amount, name, purpose, and property address.

Otherwise, with proper documentation, the landlord can accept receiving your money. 

1 to 2 Weeks Before Moving In

During this period, you should start scheduling internet installation. Some apartments may not allow facilities for aesthetic reasons, meaning services like SKY might not be permitted, but houses generally allow it.

The installation should be scheduled to start after your contract begins. If you need to set up BT, make an appointment in advance, specifying when you want the service activated.

Next, update your address with various institutions such as the local council, your bank, the school, car and insurance providers, and the driving license office, among others.

If you are not hurry about the installation, you can update the information after moving.

Moving In to Your New House

student studio in Nottingham

In the first week after moving to the new house, you should check that all items are present and accounted for. Reputable agencies provide a checklist for this purpose.

Inspect if any appliances are damaged, if there are scratches on walls or furniture, holes in carpets, etc. Take pictures with a camera, and save the original images as evidence for when you move out.

If any appliances or heating systems are faulty, promptly notify the landlord or agency to arrange repairs. The issue should be resolved within a week, typically.

Additionally, report the water and electricity billing data to the respective utility companies on the day you move in. Remember to take photos as evidence, as some places charge for water based on usage readings.

Ensure you note down the exact numbers to avoid potential large bills later. Also, remember to inform the city council to cancel or update your council tax, presenting the school’s proof of address.

A Reminder

Whether you are viewing an apartment or signing a lease, it’s essential to have everything documented in writing, mainly regarding financial matters.

Last but now least, I wish all students the best in finding their ideal accommodations and a safe, happy time while studying and living in Newcastle.

If you have any further questions about housing rental and school life, please visit the student accommodation in Newcastle section on uhomes for online booking. 

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