renting accommodation in norwich

Renting accommodation in Norwich

Both undergraduate and postgraduates students can apply for accommodation on Campus.  Most accommodation on campus is in shared flats and little accommodation is available for students accompanied by their family. If you have a family, or if you are not successful in getting on campus accommodation you will need to look for private rented accommodation.

The Student Union has its own register of approved student accommodation (“Home Run”). This can be a very good way of finding a room in a shared house. You can contact them by emailing homerun@uea.ac.uk, calling 01603 592505/593230 or visiting the Housing and Advice office in Union House. Another place to look for a room in a shared house (or offer one) is The Official uea(su) Housing Group on Facebook. This is a closed group for UEA students.

If you are looking for family accommodation, a quick way to find accommodation is online using Rightmove (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent.html) or Zoopla (http://www.zoopla.co.uk/to-rent/ ). You can also contact HomeRun by email and ask them for a list of individual letting agents who you can contact. Most  letting agents advertise properties online through Rightmove or Zoopla.

When you have found a property which is looks suitable and is within your budget, you can arrange to view the property. Agreeing to rent a property without seeing it in person is risky, as details advertised will not show potential problems with the house/flat and do not always give an accurate impression of features such as the size of rooms. For general advice on things to look out for, see https://www.uea.su/advice-housing/housingadvice/

We also recommend that you be very cautious about paying  substantial sums of money to secure a property unless you have viewed the property and/or checked  that the agent or landlord you are paying the money to is an established and legitimate business.

It is best to find temporary accommodation when you first arrive in Norwich so that you can look at the range of accommodation available and choose something suitable.

Finding temporary accommodation

Home Run have a list of Bed & Breakfast accommodation. Contact them on 01603 592505/593230 or homerun@uea.ac.uk  for more information. The university also has its own bed & breakfast accommodation, Broadview Lodge https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/visiting-staying/visitor-accommodation/broadview-lodge . Charges as at 2016 are £60 per night for a single room and £74 for a double room. This is cheaper than a typical UK hotel room and comparable to prices for other bed & breakfast accommodation. The average price for overnight accommodation via Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.co.uk ) is around £85 a night.

Before you sign an agreement

You can come in to the see us at advice(su)  to have your tenancy agreement checked. We will explain any terms you don’t understand, explain your rights and obligations and point out any unusual or unfair terms. Call in to the Advice and Housing office in the Hive to book an apponitment or find out  drop in session times.

Important points to note for International students

Agents

You may find you are dealing directly with the owner of a property, who will be your landlord. However, many property owners use an agent to find tenants for them, and these agents also administer the tenancy agreement and deal with property maintenance on their behalf. Where we refer to a landlord on this page, the same will usually apply to an agent acting for the landlord. When you rent a property, you are known as the tenant of the property.

Some agents and landlords charge fees to students for drawing up or altering legal agreements, callouts and other services. There arelegal limits on what they are allwed to charge.  Before you sign an agreement, check what fees you will have to pay and come and see us to check if they are legally allowed to charge these fees.  There is more information on what fees are allowed here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/letting_agent_fees_for_tenants. If you  think the fees  the agent or landlord are planning to charge are not allowed you can query them, or look for another agent/landlord who does not charge excessive fees. charges lower fees. Landlords registered with Home Run do not charge any fees to tenants.

Contract length

Unless you share living accommodation with a resident landlord (that is, you have your own room in someone else’s house but share facilities such as the kitchen with the owner) you will find that the minimum contract length will be 6 months, and may be as long as a year.  Unless there is a term in the contract allowing you to end the contract early, you will be committed to paying rent for the whole contract term once you sign the agreement.

Rent and other costs

Most Landlords will want to carry out a credit check before agreeing to rent to you. Some may say they will charge a fee for this, but this is not allowed under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 . Ask for advice if an agent or landlord insists that you pay a fee for a credit check, or consider looking  for accommodation with another agent or landlord. Landlords will also will want to have some certainty that they will receive rent for the full period.  To do this they will want either to be paid all or part of the rent in advance or that you provide a UK based guarantor. A guarantor is a person who agrees to be responsible for paying rent or other money due to the landlord in the event that you fail to pay money you owe.

If you cannot offer a UK guarantor, and are asked for rent in advance, try to negotiate paying rent in 2 or 3 payments over the year, instead of paying the whole amount at the start of the tenancy.

If you cannot pay a significant part of your rent in advance, another option is to find a commercial guarantor. This is a company who charge a fee to take the risk of being a guarantor for a tenant’s obligations. Contact advice(su) (advicecentre@uea.ac.uk) to talk about  how you can find a company who can provide this service.

As well as basic rent, you will need to budget for utilities (gas, electricity, water, and phone/internet)   For a room in a shared house, this would be £50-60 per person per month. It will be more for a family house, depending on size of house and number of occupants.

For help working out your budget, you can use the International Student Calculator:http://international.studentcalculator.org   

Insurance

If you live on campus, your licence agreement with the university includes basic insurance cover for your possessions. If you live off campus, we advise that you take out insurance to cover the risk of your possessions being lost, damaged or stolen- particularly high value items such as laptops and bicycles. You can find insurance via a comparison website such as www.moneysavingexpert.com   or via a company such as Endsleigh insurance (https://www.endsleigh.co.uk/) .

Choice of area

When you chose the area you want to live in, consider factors such as  

  • Travel options – is it on a bus route or within walking distance of the university?
  •  If you have children, are there schools nearby? (For information about  finding a school for your children, seehttp://www.norfolk.gov.uk/Childrens_services/Schools/School_admissions/index.htm
  • What are local facilities like? Do need you access to shops within walking distance of home?
  • Do you want to live in a quiet family orientated area or somewhere with a busy social life?

Look out for housing information stands held over the year by the Advice Centre where you can ask any questions you have about housing such as which areas are popular, what transport links are like and what to look out for while house-hunting. See this map of Norwich showing the main student areas and public transport routes to help you dicide where to look: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=13egIu5hcw1cbSa7dVMfshzcaIE8

Proof of identity

By law, all landlords/agents must check the identity of everyone who wants to rent a house or flat that the prospective tenant has the legal right to be in the UK.  UK and EU students will have to show their passport or other identity document.

The checks can be satisfied for international students by showing a student visa and a letter from the university confirming that you are a registered student.

The documents which you may need to show your landlord are:

  • UK passport
  • EU passport or identity card
  • Other (than UK or EU) passport with a stamp that shows the holder is allowed to stay in the UK for a time-limited period (student visa stamp).
  • Permanent residence card or travel document showing indefinite leave to remain
  • Home Office immigration status document
  • Letter from the University confirming your enrolment

When you show the documents the landlord must check the original versions of these documents for ALL adult tenants, in the presence of the holder of the documents, and keep copies with a record of the date on which the check is made. This means that you cannot rent a property until you have met the landlord or agent in person, shown them your original documents and they have taken copies. If you will be renting a house for your partner or family, anyone over 18 will have to meet the landlord/agent in person and show their identity documents.

Need more information?

Come in to talk to advice(su) or the Home Run team. You can also find lots of information on the UKCISA website: http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Living-in-the-UK/Choosing-your-housing

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