Seven steps to a successful student rental

Worried about renting your first student property? OnTheMarket agent Sugarhouse Properties recommends seven steps to make it a stress-free process

For students looking to move into private rented accommodation for the first time, the experience can often seem daunting. By doing some research and preparation beforehand, you can make the process much more straightforward.

If you’re searching for your next student home, make sure you visit our dedicated directory at OnTheMarket.

So where do you start? Richard Napier, Director at Sugarhouse Properties, recommends following the below points to find your perfect student home:

1. Choose your housemates wisely
This is important. Chances are that you’ll be living with these people for a whole year. Sharing a house with someone is a lot different from spending an hour in the pub with them, so ask yourself some key questions. How well do you really know the person/people you want to live with? Do you share the same interests? Do you have the same attitudes to cleanliness? Is working more important to you than partying?

2. Pick your location
The majority of cities offer student accommodation, some properties are nearer to campus, while others will be closer to local amenities – all of them will be a little bit different. Make sure you work out what’s important to you, have a look at the transport links and facilities nearby and ask around to see what other students think about the area.

3. Calculate your budget
No matter how deep your pockets are, everyone has a budget. When you are living with a group of friends, make sure you all have a pre-agreed budget for bills, food and anything else you will want to share to avoid any awkward conversations. There are options out there to suit all bank balances and while the mantra of ‘you get what you pay for’ still holds true, there are plenty of high standard budget options out there to keep everybody happy.

4. Do your research
Ask lots of questions! Speak to your course mates, pester your friends, visit student noticeboards and dip into social media for hints and tips on popular locations. It’s also worth searching on portals like OnTheMarket where you can find and speak to local agents, who are experts in their fields. Students already in their second or third years are a great source of knowledge because they have already been through the process.

5. Book some viewings
Once you have a good idea of your criteria, get out there and start looking! Try to see a good selection of properties with more than one landlord/agent. Most agents and landlords will offer accompanied viewings with transport provided. Remember there’s no obligation if you book a viewing!

6. Read your contract
Once you’ve found the property of your dreams (hopefully!) you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. Make sure you read all paperwork carefully so you understand what you’re signing. Most student unions will provide a contract checking service if you’re uncertain. If you are signing a joint tenancy agreement, make sure you understand the legal implications of this. If you’ve agreed any improvements with the landlord, ensure these are put in writing as part of your contract. Click here to see OnTheMarket’s student guide to legal rights.

7. Prepare to move in
With student rentals, it’s often a long time after you’ve signed for the property that you actually get to move in.
– Don’t forget to ensure all of your paperwork is complete and that your first instalment of rent is paid to avoid any problems with the keys being released.
– Make sure you are given an inventory to the property and use this to double check that any damage or disrepair is noted and the amended inventory is returned in good time.
– Remember to take meter readings and inform the council that you have moved in but are in full time education; that way you won’t need to pay council tax.
– And then finally, go and put your feet up and enjoy having your own rental property for the first time!

Content provided by is for information purposes only. Independent and professional advice should be taken before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial products.