Moving into a house for foundation year is an exciting prospect, but there’s a lot to consider to ensure you avoid unnecessary stress.
Transition from halls into a house
If you are planning on sharing a house with others, make sure they are people you feel comfortable with. This is essential, given the fact that once you sign a tenancy agreement it can be difficult to get out of it if an issue arises between you and another tenant.
You should consider whether you want to live with fellow medics. It’s useful to come home to people you have a common interest with and that truly understand how challenging your foundation years can be. On the other hand, you might decide living with non-medics is preferable because it allows you to properly ‘switch off’ after shifts and talk about other things.
- Have a record of important information that will be required by landlords and agents. They will want to confirm your identity, immigration or UK resident status, credit history and possibly employment status
- You may need to provide a guarantor (a person who agrees to pay your rent if you are unable to)
- Consider joint or sole tenancy agreements. Sole tenancy is usually preferred as it’s less likely to affect your deposit return
- Tenancy deposit protection - your landlord must put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007
- Check who is responsible for utilities and council tax
- Take meter readings as soon as you move in, so you aren’t liable for previous tenants’ bills
Getting your deposit back
Take photos of everything when you move into the property, especially any existing damage. Attach this to your inventory submission, sign it and keep a copy for your records. When moving out, be present for property inspection as you may need to dispute damages.
Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you’ll get back. If you’re in a dispute with your landlord, then your deposit will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.
It’s also worthwhile understanding exactly what landlords can and can’t take money for as they should tell you why they’re taking it, and if they don’t always remember to ask them.
What to look for in your contract
- Type of contract - for example, if you’re going to be on a joint or sole tenancy
- Check the start and end date
- Make sure every tenant's name is on the contract, as well as the landlord's
- Take a look at your obligations in detail (what you can and can't do during your time in the accommodation) and make sure you agree with them
- Check the rent amount, as well as who is liable to pay it
- Make sure the contract allows for general wear and tear
- Check for any agreed repairs you want done before or as soon as you move in (e.g., washing machine replacement, fixing leaky taps and so on)
- Tenancy deposit protection - there are only three approved schemes in the UK: The Deposit Protection Service (DPS), My Deposits, and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
- If anything looks odd or you don’t agree with anything, ask for the contract to be revised
If you organise your living arrangements for foundation year in good time and follow the above tips, you shouldn’t encounter any issues.