Features / Bristol24/7 Student Guide 2020

Bristol24/7 Student Guide 2020: Renting advice

By jack fifield, Thursday Aug 20, 2020

So, you’ve moved to Bristol. For many of you, this might be the first time you’ve lived away from your hometown.

Living in rented accommodation can be confusing – here’s some advice to make it feel less daunting.

Your students’ union is there to support you
Remember, you’re a member of a union – your students’ union. Whether it’s Bristol SU or The Students’ Union at UWE, they’re there to help you out if you’re having issues.

Confused about council tax?
As a fulltime student, you’re exempt from council tax, but, unless you’re in halls, you’ll need to tell the local council.

Problems with a dodgy landlord?
If your landlord isn’t doing what they should, such as giving you 24 hour’s notice prior to coming over, repairing damages, keeping the property safe from fires, then Bristol City Council’s private rental team can help you get it sorted.

Take photos of everything
When you move in, take photos of everything. Under the bed, the kitchen sink, the walls – if you can name it, take a photo of it. That way, if your landlord tries to charge you for any damage that was already there, you’ll have the photographic evidence to prove it. Make sure to keep the photos somewhere safe, not just on your phone.

Groups like ACORN can support you as a renter. Photo: Martin Booth

Know what you can’t do
Make sure to read your tenancy agreement. Often, you’ll have agreed not to use blue tack or to keep bikes in the hallway, let alone doing something more drastic like painting the walls.

Know your rights
You have plenty of tenancy rights, and you can’t be kicked out of your accommodation without proper notice being served. Check Citizens’ Advice for more information.

Renters’ unions
Recently, rental unions have been formed to protect renters and provide non-legal advice to their members. ACORN Bristol is a member-led union that campaigns primarily for tenants’ rights.

Main photo: Joshua Perrett

Read more: Things you need to do now

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