We offer advice on many aspects of living in university or privately-rented accommodation.

We can also help negotiating with the University, your landlord, other joint tenants or letting agents.

 

Housing Advice Factsheets

Shelter England provides free, confidential advice to people with all kinds of housing problems through their online housing information. They have produced a set of useful Factsheets covering many aspects of renting your home. You may also want to visit Shelter's Students page- dedicated to student-specific housing issues. These are the other sources of reputable advice, read more

Citizens Advice's Adviceguide is a great source of reputable information on issues of student housing.

National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS)  aims to prevent homelessness and improve housing by giving free expert advice. You can find their Factsheets here

All set of Factsheets cover subjects like deposits, disrepairs, rent arrears, homelessness, eviction, tenants' rights and many other issues. You can trust the information as the Factsheets have been prepared by experts and are correct and up-to-date.

 

ARC Ultimate Housing Guide

Download our Housing Guide which covers all you need to know about living in a privately rented accommodation off campus.

 

If you live in Halls

Your rights and obligation will very much depend on your housing status (the type of tenancy agreement you have). If you live in Halls, you are most likely to be an occupier with basic protection read more

Your Halls Tenancy Agreement  explains your legal position in terms of your rights and obligations. In addition there are very helpful FAQs where you can find answers to hundreds questions covering various scenarios, like leaving early, room swaps, going on placement, deposits etc)

If you experience problems with your room, at first you should contact your Residence Manager (by clicking on your Halls ) and /or your Halls Mentor

If you are still unhappy with the situation, you can get in touch with us and we will assist you with your case.

If you are a subject of disciplinary procedures (section 31) instigated under the Residence Regulations, please contact us without delay. We can provide information, guidance and representation in your dealings with the Residencies.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot pay rent on time, you should email the Accommodation Services (accom-uxb@brunel.ac.uk ) and the Student Centre (student.centre@brunel.ac.uk ) explaining your difficulties properly and fully and immediately contact the ARC or Money Doctors for further advice.

You should also email the Accommodation Services and Student Centre if you are a student in receipt of NHS Bursary if you would prefer to pay for your room in monthly rather than termly instalments. Do make sure you mention that you are an NHS student.

 

For further budgeting and debt advice please visit our Money section

 

 

 
 
Caption: "The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." 
 

 

Upfront Costs of Renting

On 27 May 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 made it a legal requirement for all Letting & Property Management Agents to display a list of fees on business premises and on websites.

Agents must make potential clients, both tenants and landlords, aware of all compulsory and upfront charges. These are fees all clients will have to pay that are additional to the rent or service charge. Look through any tenancy agreement and read more

you’ll find plenty of hidden charges – a fee plus interest for being late with rent, fines for letting guests stay more than one night, costs of replacement sets of keys. These are all perfectly legitimate and tend to follow standardised measures. Where you will find a good deal of variety and grey area is in the region of upfront costs of renting. These are sums like holding deposits (used to take the property off the market), inventory costs and security deposit registration. Some agents operating around Brunel charge through the roof for these (and are legally entitled to do so), with many students presenting to the ARC concerned about this. This is why we thought it would be helpful for students to know the lay of the land in terms of costs charged by our accredited lettings agents, whose details can be provided if you drop in to see us. We contacted each of the four agents to ask them for a breakdown of the upfront costs of renting. Those agents are: NuPad, Gibbs Gillespie, Coopers and Belvoir. Figures varied, but were mostly of an acceptable level and clear in their application. We present these in categories as follows:

• Security deposit and rent in advance – across the board this is demanded as the value of one month’s rent as deposit and 1.5 months’ rent on top of that. This is standard practice across the rental market and while it may seem a large amount to provide upfront, it is done to provide security for the landlord in the event the tenant makes any damage to the property or is unable to pay rent during the tenancy.

• Administration fees – Most commonly this will cover items such as creation of the tenancy agreement and preparation of the inventory. Some agents charge separately for these so if you are unclear what you are being asked to pay for you should always ask for a breakdown and attempt to negotiate where you can. Of the agents that we asked this category of fees ranged from £60 to £150, which is around the margin you would expect. To put things in perspective, legally an agent can charge whatever they want for these items! Be aware however of agents that charge over £200 for this.

• Deposit registration – this may be found within admin fees and is an amount paid to secure the deposit with the relevant third party adjudication scheme (who resolve any disputes over deductions at the end of the tenancy). The two agents who charge this ask for £20 each.

• Referencing – this is the process of checking the tenant’s credit score with companies like Experian, as a means of establishing whether they have a good history to pay rent throughout the tenancy. Figures we obtained for this were £40-50.

• Holding deposit – this is probably the most contentious area of charges for students as it is money upfront to take the property off the market and make it available to the tenant group. This does not mean the agent cannot then pass it on to another student group, or that there is a binding agreement to give it to the students. Of those agents who charged for this we found lower figures of £100/150 going up to £400. We would advise that those in the lower range are more acceptable. Read further information about Holding Deposits on our main Housing Advice page.

• Check-in/check-out of property – only one agent gave us clear figures for these as part of their own procedures. It is therefore not that useful to provide these. These apply to the cost of an inventory and checking the property for damage and for comparison for when the check-in was done. These figures are most commonly found in the administration fees. Normally the landlords pay for the costs of the check-in inventory and the tenants pay for the check-out inventory. It would be unusual for the tenants to pay for both. That concludes the full survey of estate agents’ fees in the Uxbridge area. We found these to be mostly reasonable and transparent. And remember – DON’T GET RIPPED OFF! Ask the Agents for the full breakdown of fees before you part with any money. Transparency is the word.

 

Preferred Letting Agents Scheme

We have launched a new and exciting project called Preferred Letting Agents Scheme (PLAS). We have invited various reputable local letting agencies to join the scheme and become PLAS members.

Our intention is to ensure that Brunel students have access to good quality, safe and clean housing, and that surrounding rental advice and management is of the highest standards. Letting agents will need to demonstrate that they fulfil certain high-level criteria in order to become PLAS members. Read more

Full PLAS criteria can be found here

Currently our accredited PLAS member is NUPAD LETTINGS. Nupad have satisfied all the scheme's criteria and Nupad colleagues are always very responsive and helpful. Congratulations to Nupad, our top local letting agent!

Our University's housing service- Brunel Student Lettings, remains our preferred non-letting agent housing provider.

 

 

Contract checking

If you have found your ideal property, you should ask the landlord or the agent for a copy of the contract.

Once you've got it, we at the Advice and Representation Centre can help you to check it. read more

We'll have a look through it, alert you to any especially important or unusual clauses and make sure that the contract is OK.

You should not feel pressurised by the landlord or letting agent to sign a contract without first having the opportunity to read it through and to get independent advice.

The ARC provides a Contract Check service and we aim to review these and respond to you within 5 working days. You will not be able to get your contract reviewed immediately at a 15 minute Drop In session as we do need the time to go through it properly. Try to resist landlord's requests to have it signed off "by tomorrow"!

What we need you to do is:

• Read through the contract and highlight any information you require clarification on

• Drop off a copy of your contract at the ARC during our Drop In sessions; or

• Email a copy of your contract to advice@brunel.ac.uk. Please include your Student ID number in all Email communications.

We are based in the Hamilton Building, ground floor, next to Locos Bar.

Our opening hours can be found here

You can also find essential housing advice here - read about holding deposits, security deposits, what it means to be a "joint tenant". Get advice before it's too late.

 

Guarantor- important information for International Students.

Brunel University can act as a Guarantor for a specific group of International Students; read about it in detail here

 

Looking for a housemate?

The Brunel Student Lettings team have their own Facebook page for all students interested in off campus accommodation. You can request to join the group and talk to other students if you are looking for potential housemates to live with.

Join the group.

They will also be using the group to advertise 2018/19 applications, the new lettings website, and upcoming housing fayre events. You can also use the group if you're looking for another student to replace your contract, this is open to students renting through the University or external agencies.