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Before you rent for 2021/22...

If you haven't started looking for your accommodation for the upcoming academic year then that's fine. We have a very good supply and variety of accommodation in Norwich and we don't expect this to change.

If you haven't rented in the private sector before, grab a coffee and prepare for your search by looking at our house hunting information below.

Living with best friends can be a joy and the start of a lifelong friendship but sometimes living with your best friends doesn’t always work out. Our advice team regularly see students who have fallen out with their housemates, sometimes before the contract has even started and once you have signed the contract there's often no getting out.

When deciding who to live with make sure you get to know any potential housemates. We might not want to admit it but we all have bad habits so now is the time to talk openly about these. Some habits can be ok at first but when you start living together they can get magnified. To help, take our quick test to help identify your needs:

  1. Are you an “owl” or a “lark”? In other words, do you prefer to stay up late or do you like to get up early?
  2. Do you prefer to party a lot or cosy nights in with Disney+?
  3. Which courses are you all studying? If you are a nursing student and on a night placement, do you want to live with the person who is up at 6:30am with the hair dryer blasting?
  4. Will you shop or cook individually or do it as a whole house (can be cheaper)?
  5. Are you ok with other people eating your food?

Most housing contracts for a group of people have ‘Joint and Several Liability’. This means everyone on the contract is responsible for each other. It doesn’t matter who broke the window or who left without paying rent, everyone is responsible. So you need to make sure you know and trust your housemates.

A great way to find people is through the Home Run message board and the uea(su) housing group on Facebook where students can post and chat about forming a group.

We also host find a housemate events to help you meet other students. Click the banner at the top of the page for our full events calendar and to book your free ticket! We also post event details via uea(su)’s social media, so keep a look out!

Some students prefer to live with people they don’t know. That’s ok too, although we suggest you have some “getting to know you” meetings before you agree to live together.

Some landlords will advertise rooms on an ‘individual basis’. This means that you have your own room but you’ll probably have to share the kitchen, living room and bathroom with others in the house. This also means that you’ll have an individual contract. The advantage of this is that you are only responsible for your rent and cannot be asked to pay if others don’t. On the other hand, the landlord does not have to consult with you when they rent out other rooms in the property.

Find out about the different types of housing contracts here.

 

Resident Landlords

During your search for accommodation, you may come across rooms which are offered by Resident Landlords. This means that you live with the owner of the property who is not necessarily a student. The landlord may live alone, with their family and with or without other students.

If you rent a room from a Resident Landlord then you will be issued with a different type of housing contract (a licence or lodger agreement) and have different rights to those who sign a tenancy agreement. Find out more by reading advice(su)’s guide on renting a room from a resident landlord.

It’s probably helpful to know a little bit about the size of properties on offer in Norwich. Most properties within the student market have between three and six bedrooms. There are some bigger properties, up to eight bedrooms. Smaller properties such as those with one or two bedrooms are in relatively low supply, particularly in the areas closest to UEA.

Living in Norwich you also have a variety of student accommodation options, from Victorian terraces to modern Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) blocks, similar to those found on the campus at UEA. If you are living with others, then get together and discuss your requirements - make a list to refer back to:

  • Do you want to live in; a house, flat or purpose-built student accommodation?
  • How will you travel to campus and placements?
  • Do you need a parking space?
  • Do you need secure bike storage?
  • Which of the following are important to you - single/double beds, communal living space, en-suite facilities/number of showers and toilets, garden?

If you haven’t lived in Norwich before you might be wondering where most students choose to live? Which areas are close to campus or the city centre? We can help with that too. View our interactive map to identify the main residential areas in Norwich, where these are in relation to UEA and the city centre, as well as points of interest and walking and cycling directions.

As well as the interative map, check out our video series ‘A Guide to Norwich’. Our videos focus on the six most popular student areas in Norwich. Watch here for information on average rents, travel to campus and local amenities.

City Centre

The picturesque city centre of Norwich is right on UEA's doorstep, and its streets are packed with historic cultural sites as well as a great range of independent eateries and retailers.

West Earlham

Golden Triangle

University Ward

Riverside

Threescore

Most student housing contracts start in August or September although some will start as early as July. Most contracts are for a fixed term of 10, 11 or 12 months.

You will be liable to pay rent as soon as your contract starts, not when you first occupy the property.

Remember not to forget about the end date too, as it is not normally possible to end a contract early and it is likely to cover some of the summer break.

If you are currently living on the campus then your rent will include utilities (gas, electricity and water), internet and other services such as cleaning.

In the private sector some rents include all utilities, others include one or two and some won’t include any. If utilities aren’t included remember to allow an amount on top of the rent to cover these extras. As a guide we suggest allowing an additional £50-£60 per person per month*.

*Note, this may not be sufficient for superfast fibre broadband, a phone line and TV package! Also bear in mind that your bills for utilities are likely to be higher during colder months when you have the heating on!

You might find it easier to budget with an all-inclusive rent as you'll pay a set amount each month or you might be happy to pay rent to your landlord or agent and pay suppliers directly for utilities.

There isn’t a right or wrong way but whichever you choose, make sure the budget works for all the household.

Some landlords specify a whole property rent and ask you and your housemates to determine how the rent will be split. Other landlords have a set rent per room and you’ll be asked to pay the corresponding rent for your chosen room.

Find out more about average rents by watching our 'A Guide to Norwich’ video series above. 

Postgraduate Accommodation

As a postgraduate student, you can apply for on campus accommodation. Find out more about your options and the application process here.

If you’d prefer to live in the private sector, or want to check out all of your options, then you are also welcome to view the Home Run housing list (see 'where to look' below), message board and uea(su) housing group on Facebook.

Some landlords/agents advertising via Home Run may state that they are looking for postgraduate tenants. This may happen where spare rooms are advertised and the current tenants have specified that they would like to live with other postgraduate students.

If you would also like to live with other postgraduates and an advert is not specific about the current tenants (if included, these details will be found in the property description) then it will be necessary for you to request further information from the landlord/agent.

The housing list search function also includes a ‘Student Type’ filter and postgraduates is one of the available options.

The message board is also split into different topics, some of which are for postgraduates only.

We do not have any specific postgraduate housing events at the moment but all students are welcome to attend our events. These are listed on the events calendar here.

 

Family Accommodation

UEA has a very limited supply of accommodation which is suitable for those with up to two children. To check availability and to request further information, contact UEA Accommodation Office by email (accom@uea.ac.uk).

If you’re looking for family accommodation then it is quite likely that you’ll need to search in the private sector.

Home Run (see ‘where to look’ below) does not have a specific allocation of family housing but landlords/agents may indicate that they are happy to rent to students who have family joining them in Norwich for their time at UEA. These properties can be identified by selecting ‘Family’ from the ‘Student Type’ filter on the property search.

As most student property rents are calculated per person or per bedroom, it may be preferable to look outside of the student market where rents are normally calculated for the whole property. You may wish to start your search via one of the accommodation search platforms online which bring together properties in the local area which are offered by local letting agents. Please note, in most cases, the properties advertised via these platforms are not affiliated with UEA or UEA Students' Union.

Take your time to make sure you are prepared for your search. When you are ready, read the next steps of your house hunting journey below (although this doesn't mean you need to start your search straight away!).

Have a question about your property search or renting outside of the campus? Contact Home Run by email to homerun@uea.ac.uk and we'll be happy to help.

When it's time to house hunt...

For most students, UEA on-campus accommodation isn’t available after their first year. This means you will need to look in the private sector, but don’t worry, help is at hand via Home Run.

Home Run is a property accreditation scheme for student accommodation in Norwich, run by UEA Students’ Union. Home Run has a range of Private Landlords, Letting Agents and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Providers (PBSA) offering a variety of accommodation across the city.

Every landlord and student accommodation type registered with Home Run has agreed to follow a set of minimum standards aimed at ensuring you are provided with safe, reliable and affordable accommodation, and to give you the best living experience whilst you study in Norwich. You can search for accommodation via the Home Run website.

As well as the housing list, the Home Run website also features a message board where you can post to find other students to group up with or advertise spare rooms.

Current Students

If you are a current UEA student then please login here, using your UEA email address and password (the same details you would use to login to a computer in the library on campus or to access e:Vision).

Once logged in you’ll be able to make direct enquiries to landlord/agents via the internal messaging system, create a hotlist of properties you are interested in and setup alerts to receive emails when new properties meeting your requirements are added to the housing list.

 

Prospective Students

If you have an offer to study at UEA then you are also welcome to view the Home Run housing list and message board. Please create a Home Run Student Account here and send confirmation of your offer to homerun@uea.ac.uk. Once your account has been activated, you'll also benefit from the account features described above.

There are of course many other landlords and agents advertising accommodation across Norwich who are not registered with Home Run. It is for you (and your housemates) to decide who you rent from. We’d encourage you to look at Home Run accredited accommodation first as these are the landlords we work closely with and who agree to our minimum standards.

Looked at the list and can’t find a suitable property? The housing list is updated regularly so don’t be discouraged! Whilst we can’t guarantee that you’ll find the property for you via Home Run, you can keep checking the list and sign up to receive property alerts.

We’ve reached step 4 of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and most of the legal restrictions to control the spread of covid-19 have been lifted. Despite this, we are advised to remain cautious and use personal judgement to manage our own risk and protect ourselves and others.

Face coverings are not legally requited but they are advised in crowded and enclosed spaces, and where you come into contact with others that you do not know. With this in mind, we recommend that face coverings are still worn during property viewings (unless you are exempt), and are recommending all landlords/agents do the same.

It is also advisable to carry hand sanitiser with you, for use on entry and exit of the property, and to avoid touching surfaces where possible.

If you haven't looked for accommodation in the private sector before then you might be wondering what to look out for when you view a property? Use our viewings checklist for tips and to find out some important questions to ask the landlord/agent and current tenants.


 

Deposits, guarantors & contracts

Some landlords will ask you to pay a small holding deposit to take their property off the market while they prepare the tenancy agreement for you to sign. This is perfectly legal, but under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, it should be no more than the equivalent of one week’s rent.

If the landlord decides not to proceed then they must refund the holding deposit. However, if you change your mind and decide not to go ahead with the tenancy, the landlord is entitled to keep your holding deposit.

Landlords can also keep your holding deposit if you fail to sign the tenancy agreement by the deadline you have been set. The ‘deadline for agreement’ is normally the 15th day after the holding deposit has been paid although you and the landlord can mutually agree a different ‘deadline for agreement’ which could be more or less than 15 days.

The holding deposit is different to a tenancy deposit (also referred to as a damage deposit) which you will usually have a pay when you sign the tenancy agreement.

A damage deposit is a refundable payment that can be used at the end of the tenancy to cover damage and unpaid rent. Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, a landlord can charge the equivalent of five week’s rent but a damage deposit of one month’s rent is more common.

If you’ve paid a holding deposit then the landlord might ask if you are happy for this to be used as part payment of the damage deposit. This is permitted as long as you consent to the deposit being used in this way. The landlord should ask you to confirm this in writing.

It is a legal requirement for damage deposits to be protected with one of the approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS). Landlords must protect your deposit within 30 days of receipt and provide you with evidence that your deposit has been protected. If they don’t, you could claim compensation of up to 3 times the amount of your deposit. You can read more about deposits and Tenancy Deposit Schemes here.

Most landlords require tenants to have a UK guarantor, someone who lives and works in the UK and agrees to pay your rent if you are unable to.

If you are unable to provide a UK guarantor then you might be asked to pay rent in advance. You can read more about guarantors and your options here.

It is likely that your guarantor will also be asked to sign an agreement to confirm their commitment to pay your rent if you are unable to.

Landlords/agents are legally required to check the identity of everyone who wants to rent a property to verify that they have the right to rent in the UK. This applies regardless of whether you are a UK, EU or international student.

Read our Right to Rent leaflet to learn more about the two types of Right to Rent check and the ID you'll need to have ready to show to your landlord or agent.

 

Adjusted checks due to Covid-19

Please note, right to rent checks have been temporarily adjusted due to covid-19. It is currently acceptable for a landlord or agent to check your documents over a video call or ask you to send scanned documents or a photograph of documents via email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals.

Adjusted right to rent checks are coming to an end and from 31st August 2021, landlord/agents completing a manual document-based check will be required to meet with you in person to check your original documents. This is unless you are eligible and have opted to use the Home Office online checking service.

Landlords/agents will not be required to carry out retrospective checks on those who had an adjusted check between 30th March 2020 and 31st August 2021 (inclusive).

For any tenancy agreement signed on or after 1 June 2019, there are restrictions on what fees you can be changed as a tenant.

Landlords and agents cannot charge fees for:

  • referencing and credit checks
  • immigration checks
  • renewal of tenancy on the same terms

The fees which landlords and agents can charge (other than rent) are:

  • a refundable tenancy deposit of no more than 5 week’s rent (detailed above)
  • a refundable holding deposit of no more than 1 week’s rent (detailed above)
  • losses or reasonable costs incurred by the Landlord or agent as a result of early termination of the tenancy by you or if you leave without notice. This could be, for example, the balance of the whole rent due for the rest of the tenancy
  • Up to £50 (or actual cost if reasonably incurred) for changes to the tenancy agreement including change of tenant
  • payments of bills including utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
  • interest on late payment of rent, if it is paid 14 or more days late and the tenancy agreement provides for this
  • replacement of a lost keys where this is specified in the tenancy agreement

If you are concerned that you are being asked to pay a deposit or fee which does not comply with the above then please request an appointment with advice(su) here.

A tenancy agreement is a contract between a tenant and the accommodation provider specifying the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

You should be provided with a copy of the tenancy agreement and be given time to read it and get it checked before signing.

Be cautious of any landlord who puts pressure on you and be prepared to walk away. Good landlords never pressurise and if you’re feeling pressured and uncomfortable at this stage, what will they be like when you actually move in?

Our minimum standards require Home Run landlords and agents to agree not to pressurise prospective tenants and allow prospective tenants at least three working days to read the agreement and seek independent advice.

Read advice(su)’s leaflet on tenancy agreements here.

Before you sign anything make sure you fully understand your tenancy agreement. Our advice is never sign a tenancy agreement until you know exactly what you are signing up to. In most cases, once you have signed you are legally bound to that contract and it's not possible to leave the contract early, even if you have changed your mind or fallen out with your housemates.

Watch our 'Know before you sign: Tenancy Agreement Workshop' here to find out what it means to sign a contract (using the Home Run tenancy agreement as an example)

It’s quite common for students to ask a family member or friend to look over their tenancy agreement. Remember, advice(su) can also help with this too. Request a tenancy check appointment here.