Signing a contract and moving in

You should ensure you view your contract before transferring any money to the landlord or agency.

Your contract is a legally binding document.

  • An individual tenancy agreement is between you and the property owner.
  • A joint tenancy agreement is between you, your housemates and the property owner.

Once you have signed your contract, you cannot give up the tenancy without the landlord's permission. You should not take over the tenancy agreement of another student without written consent from the landlord.

Check your contract

Is your tenancy agreement safe to sign?

Amending your contract

You can request that you would like something to be added into the contract. For example, if you have verbally agreed with the landlord to have new carpets fitted, make sure you have this in writing. 

If the landlord is having work done on the property at the beginning of your agreement, get in writing what the work is and see if you can have some of your rent deducted for any time you are not able to live in the property due to the repairs or renovation.

Rent guarantor

Many student properties require the tenants to supply a rent guarantor. This person is often a parent or family member who agrees to pay for your rent or property damages should you (the tenant) fail to do so.

If you are living with other housemates and are on a joint tenancy agreement, each guarantor will technically be liable for all other tenants in the joint property. For example, if one housemate decides not to pay rent, all of the other housemates remain responsible for paying the entirety of the rent. If you are each on individual contracts, then this will not be the case.

University of York rent guarantor scheme

The Rent Guarantee scheme enables continuing students who don't have a UK-based rent guarantor to rent private sector accommodation where this is required. Please note that students who are new to the University are not eligible to apply.

The Rent Guarantee Scheme is now closed for applications for the 2019/20 academic year. It will reopen in March 2020.

The scheme has up to 60 places and is primarily open to care leavers, overseas and EU continuing students. We accept applications from UK students in exceptional circumstances, where there are no alternative UK guarantors available and where the student has explored all other options, including considering properties that do not require a guarantor.

If you wish to apply to the Rent Guarantee Scheme:

  1. Read the Rent Guarantee Scheme Information (PDF , 376kb)
  2. Complete and submit the Rent Guarantee Scheme Application Form 2019/20
  3. Submit all required documentation by email to or hand it in to the reception desk in the Student Hub, Market Square.

We will contact you to confirm receipt and request any additional information or documentation if required.

Please note: There is a £50 administration charge if you are accepted onto the scheme.

Moving in

You should be provided with an inventory on the day you move in. This should list all of the items within and condition of the house. You are usually given seven days to check through everything thoroughly. The inventory is useful to compare the condition of the house at the beginning and end of the tenancy in order to dispute any charges when your deposit is returned.

If you have not been provided with an inventory, write one up yourself, sign and date it, and provide a copy to your landlord. You may also wish to take photos as additional evidence to record the condition of the property.

Moving in checklist

What do you need to do when you first move in?

What happens to my deposit?

Deposits are taken to recover any damage costs incurred during your tenancy term. This can include damages beyond reasonable wear and tear, cleaning costs, and any unpaid utility bills or rent.

Your tenancy agreement needs to be clear about what costs your deposit can be used for.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST), your deposit must be placed in a deposit protection scheme within 30 days from the date you paid it to your landlord. You must receive details about your deposit including the name of the scheme, your reference number, and details of how to get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

Am I financially responsible for all of my housemates?

If you are on a joint tenancy agreement, known as ‘joint and several liability’,  then any damages or missed payments by one tenant becomes the responsibility of all of the other tenants. 

What is ‘right to rent’?

Before you can rent a property you must prove you have the right to rent in the UK. You will be asked to show documentation to your landlord.

Do I need to pay council tax?

Whether you are liable for council tax depends on your circumstances. See our information on council tax.

Are my utility bills included in my rent?

Some tenancies include your bills (such as water, electricity, gas, and internet). Your contract should state precisely what you are responsible for.

If you and your housemates are not moving into the property until a later date, you are still often responsible for all bills starting the first day of your tenancy agreement. This may include standing charges.

It’s always a good idea to record any meter readings at the start of your tenancy so that you are only paying for the utilities used during your contract.

Do I need a TV licence?

A TV licence is required if you watch any live TV or BBC iPlayer. Note, TV licences are backdated to the beginning of the month.

If you are caught watching live TV on any device without a licence, fines can be up to £1,000.

If you are sharing your house as a part of a joint tenancy, then you will only need one TV licence for the entire property. If you each have individual tenancy contracts and you wish to watch live-streamed TV (whether on a TV, computer or phone) you will each have to pay for your own TV licence.

If you live with your landlord in the same property, you will need a licence to watch live TV in your own room.

Find out about Students and the TV licence.

How do I register to vote?

Remember to update your details on the electoral register when you move house. Not only will this ensure you can vote in elections but it also enhances your credit rating, too.