Accommodation Glossary

A contract between tenant (student) and landlord (note: not the University of Suffolk). This is likely to be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) or license. Make sure you read through the tenancy agreement in full and agree to all of the terms and conditions before signing.  Once signed, a tenancy agreement becomes a legally binding document for the duration specified, regardless of your student status. You will not normally be able to end the tenancy earlier than the end date specified in the agreement, unless there is a break clause or you are able to find a suitable replacement tenant to take over the remainder of your contract. Always get a tenancy agreement in writing; never rely on a verbal contract.

Accommodation is likely to be your biggest expense. Your rent will be your second most important bill, after food. Check you can afford your preferred accommodation before you book — allowing enough money for other expenditure. Utility bills and internet access will be included in your rent if you choose to live in Recommended or Accredited Accommodation, but if you choose to rent privately, you should check if these will be included or additional to your rent. If it is additional, you might want to see if you can get an idea of how much it might be. A sum of advanced rent will likely be payable before you move into your room. Your landlord will be able to confirm the amount required and the date it will be due to be paid once you have chosen your specific room.

Normally paid by the tenant to protect the landlord against any breakages or damages to the property (excluding fair wear and tear) that may occur during the tenancy agreement. Sometimes used to reserve a room and give the landlord some guarantee that the tenant will take the room. Once the tenancy ends, both landlord and tenant will discuss if there have been any breakages/damages that the tenant is liable for and the rest of the deposit (or all, if there are no breakages/damages) will be returned to the tenant. The deposit is sometimes referred to as a holding/damage deposit. Check with your landlord what it will be used for, how much it is, and under what conditions it is refundable (if any). The landlord must protect the deposit in one of the tenancy deposit protection schemes and provide you with the details of the scheme used.

This is a list of furniture/other items in the property.  A tenant should be asked to complete an inventory with the landlord at the start of the tenancy.  Be sure to record any missing items, or marks/damage that is visible.  Both the tenant and the landlord should keep a copy to revisit at the check-out inspection at the end of the tenancy agreement.

Most landlords, including private accommodation providers that rent properties to students, require a third person to act as a ‘guarantor’ before  a tenancy agreement can be completed.  

A guarantor is a third party, for example a family member, who agrees to pay the rent if for any reason you as the tenant cannot. In some cases a guarantor is also liable for other costs that might be incurred, for example any damage to the property that happened whilst you were living there. Agreeing to be a guarantor is a binding legal commitment, and landlords can take legal action against your guarantor if the rent, or other costs, are not paid.

Check if you need a guarantor for student housing that you are interested in and be sure to get this in place before you start.

Who can act as a rent guarantor?

A person acting as a guarantor would normally have the following credentials:

  • UK individual citizen — to enable a landlord to pursue action through the UK court system if required
  • Solvent — credit checks may be taken to assess ability to meet any potential liability

You may be able to use a rent guarantor company who will act as your guarantor for a fee.  The University of Suffolk has no experience of such agencies and cannot offer advice or recommended companies in this regard.