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So you are probably thinking about heading back to Uni after the summer.  You might be in halls, but you might also be looking to let somewhere privately off campus with your friends.  This is probably the first time you will fully live out of your home environment and there is so much to think about!  Where to live, how much rent to pay and even who to live with (very important!)

To help you make this first step into private renting we have put together our list of the top 10 things students need to be aware of when moving into a private rented property:

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1.    What do letting agencies do? Letting agencies are private companies that can help you find accommodation that suits you. Most agencies also manage the day-to-day running of the tenancy.  They can’t ask you to pay fees for registering with them, or credit checks so make sure you are aware of their responsibilities when you find one.

2.    Will I have to pay a deposit?  When you move into rented accommodation, most landlords or letting agents will ask you for a deposit. Landlords have to register your deposit within 30 working days of your tenancy starting. Find out what your deposit is for, how you can get help to pay your deposit, and what you should do if you have trouble getting your deposit back when you move out.

3.    What type of tenancy do I have? If you rent your home you will probably have either a short assured or an assured tenancy.

4.    Is my landlord registered?  Before you agree to move into a new property, you should always check that the landlord is registered with the council. Landlords should be registered (by law) with the council or at least applied to register.  Use our info on landlord registration to find out more about how the system works and how you can find out if a landlord is registered.

5.    What is a Tenant Information Pack?  At the start of your tenancy your landlord has to provide you with a tenant information pack. The pack is not part of your tenancy agreement but sets out important information that is relevant to you and your landlord.

6.    How can I ensure my home is safe?  What can you do to minimise risk in your new home?  Our advice covers fire, gas and electricity safety, on preventing accidents and what to do in an emergency. It also looks at crime prevention and how to keep your home secure.

7.    Who is responsible for repairs?  Some types of repairs are the responsibility of  landlords but some are the tenant’s responsibility so make sure you know the difference! Find out why it might be a mistake to tackle the DIY yourself!

8.    What if I have problems with my housemates? There are lots of reasons why you might fall out with your housemates. You might have problems because they are not paying their share of the rent or bills, because they are noisy or because they don’t do their share of the household tasks. If talking doesn’t sort out the problem, it may be worth asking your landlord for help.

9.    What happens if I want to move out? If you want to move out of your rented accommodation, it’s important that you go through the correct process and give your landlord the correct notice. Make sure you understand the correct way to end your tenancy.

10.  Help! I’m being evicted!! Your landlord cannot just turn up one day and throw you out, they have to follow the correct procedure.  Advice about your rights if your landlord has asked you to leave your home.

If you have any questions about your rights as a tenant visit our website or call Shelter Scotland’s free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.

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