It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of finding a new house to rent. However, with this pandemic and current national lockdown, finding a house for next year doesn't have to be added to your list of worries. It's so important to step back and evaluate the current situation and know your tenancy rights and responsibilities before you sign on the dotted line.
Here are just some of the many reasons why you should not rush into a new contract:
Once you've signed a contract, it can be incredibly difficult to leave before the end of the fixed term.
Tenancy Agreements are legally binding documents and once you’ve signed one it can be incredibly difficult to leave before the end of the fixed term. Most student private housing contracts are fixed term. This means you will be liable to pay rent for the whole duration of the fixed term. Most of the time the only way to leave a student tenancy agreement early is to find a suitable replacement tenant, but it's worth thinking about how easy it would be to find a replacement tenant. Due to the pandemic this may be a lot more difficult.
There are more houses than students to fill them
Despite what you may have heard, there's no real shortage of student housing in Worcester. Try not to feel pressured into looking for somewhere to live now, when you may have only just moved to Worcester yourself! You will be able to find a house for you and your future housemates, regardless of when you start looking, and your SU is always hear to support you in your search.
Student Pad launches in late January
Student Pad is the University and SU's official property search website, which will go live in late January. It lists all accredited landlords and houses for Worcester students and you're almost guaraunteed to find the right place for you and your future housemates. Due to coronavirus restrictions, it's very unlikely that the annual Housing Fair will go ahead in the same capacity this January, therefore we encourage you to sign up to Student Pad and find properties that way.
Virtual viewings vs in-person viewings
Virtual house viewings can't always provide you with all the crucial information needed to make your decision. Are there damp patches, for example? Is the property well looked after? What is the noise like? Being able to visit a house in person allows you to identify any potential problems or warning signs. However, safety comes first, therefore we strongly encourage you to wait until semester 2 (and once the national lockdown has ended) to attend house viewings in person.
This situation is ever-changing.
None of us know exactly what will happen over the next few months. You may not want to tie yourself into a housing contract too early, only to find that you’ll experience difficulty leaving it early if you need to.
There are many different pressures for students at the moment, so don’t make next year’s house one of them! For more advice around housing, visit worcsu.com/helpandadvice.
The SU also offers a free contract checking service. More information around this can be found on our website.
If you're looking for housemates or advertising a room, you can also join our Housemate Finder group on Facebook.