Private Sector Rental Advice

ACCOMMODATION ADVICE

You should visit the Student’s Union Accommodation Forum, a Facebook group for help with searching for accommodation in the private sector and meet other Queen’s students wishing to share accommodation. This is a secure site monitored by the University to ensure that it is used by Queen’s students only.

The website NI Student Pad is recommended by the Students’ Union to help students search for private rental accommodation. If they do not have anything suitable or available, you could consider having a look on these websites:

www.propertypal.com 

www.gumtree.com 

www.spareroom.com 

www.daft.ie 

www.rent.co.uk

Private student accommodation in Belfast is available at John Bell House - Fresh Student Living, Mark Royal House, Donegall Street and Botanic Studios, Dublin Road

In order to assess the location of private sector accommodation in relation to the University, you can enter the University postcode (BT7 1NF) into an online map search.

Advice

We would advise students of the following: 

  • Stay Safe – If possible, take a friend or family member with you to any house viewings. If you are going alone let someone know where you have gone and when you expect to return.
  • Contracts –Please do not sign or commit yourself to anything until you have read the contract in full and understand your rights and responsibilities. Ensure you are aware of the length of contract you are committing to as it is likely to be for twelve months. Any contract is legally binding and it is rare to be permitted early release by a landlord. Once you sign, you are liable for the rent for the entire period and can also be held liable for rent with any ‘joint’ tenants so choose carefully who you share with if you are committing to a ‘joint’ tenancy. If you feel there are unfair terms in your tenancy agreement you can contact the Trading Standards Agency for further advice.
  • House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) – If you are moving into a house that will be occupied by three or more persons (not from same family) then this is known as an HMO. These properties must be registered to comply with the law and regulations that are primarily ensuring the house is safe, well managed and meets regulations such as fire, gas and electric safety. You can find out if a HMO is registered by calling 03448 920900 and asking for the Belfast HMO Office. By providing them with the full address, they can check if the property is registered and for how many occupants. If the property is not registered, think very carefully about committing to a contract.
  • You can also visit here for advice from the Housing Executive on private sector rental.


Useful Tips

  1. If you have any questions before signing a contract you can seek advice from the Students’ Union or Housing Rights Service, as once the contract is signed it is legally binding.
  2. Once you find a property and have moved in, make a list of all items in the property and their condition including fixtures and fittings. We would recommend providing your landlord with a copy of this list. Please click here for a sample Inventory form.
  3. Take photos of all the fixtures and fittings and provide a copy to your landlord in the event that there is a dispute in relation to repairs or damages.
  4. If anything needs repaired please let the landlord know as soon as possible and agree when it will be done. The length of time this will take will depend on the priority of the repair.
  5. Email or text message is the best way to communicate with an agent as it will create a written record of your correspondence.
  6. Ensure you pay your rent on time and budget for all household bills. If you are struggling with money management seek advice from the Students’ Union.
  7. Read the lease thoroughly to make sure that you are familiar with the tenants and landlords respective responsibilities.
  8. Keep your property secure and strongly consider taking out insurance from providers such as Endsleigh.
  9. To check whether your deposit has been protected, you can use this Sample Letter. You can also seek further advice from the Students’ Union advice centre if needed.

 

Endsleigh’s helpful moving house web tool

Moving house has been recognised as one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. And, due to frequent lifestyle changes during the ages of 18-30, young people are likely to suffer with the stress of moving house regularly. But wouldn’t it be easy if there was something to help you with the searching and moving process; from the questions to ask a potential landlord or letting agent, right through to the tasks of moving day?

With so much to think about during the moving process, from booking viewings with potential landlords to sorting those all-important utility bills; we understand that things need to run as smoothly as possible. That’s why we’ve created Move Me In; a useful web tool designed to help you every step of the way throughout your search and into the move.

Whether you’re searching for a property, renting a room in a house with other students or graduates or buying a new home, Move Me In gives you a customised set of tasks tailored to your search or move. You can add photos of the potential property, share tasks with housemates, add notes and create your own jobs to complete. It’ll even email you a reminder if you’ve got any outstanding tasks each week, so you can rest assured that you won’t forget anything important.

Start your journey to a hassle-free move now, visit: www.move.me-in

And for extra information, tips and advice on moving house visit:

https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/life3/categories/student-housing-matters/