5 Things Every Student Should Check in Their Tenancy Agreement Before Signing

contract-clipart-cliparti1_contract-clipart_02by John BairdScotlandDebtSolutions.

Becoming a student opens up a world of new experiences and Edinburgh is certainly one of the best places in the country in which to live and study. But one experience we could all do with avoiding is that of being caught out or otherwise blindsided by a nasty surprise relating to a tenancy agreement.

So with that in mind, here are some questions well worth having in mind as you approach the process of finalising a tenancy deal with a private landlord.

1 – What type of contract is it?

It can be important to figure out what type of tenancy contract you’re being presented with because it could make a notable difference to your bank balance if you are not careful.

The key point to focus on is whether you’re signing a joint tenancy agreement with your housemates or if you are agreeing an individual deal that relates solely to you and your landlord.

In a joint tenancy scenario you and your housemates will be liable for covering the total monthly rental amounts even if one or more people living there move out.

So, ideally, you’ll be able to make arrangements on an individual basis but you should at least be aware of what a joint tenancy agreement involves if that isn’t possible.

2 – Is your deposit protected?

There are laws in place to protect deposit amounts that are entered into official deposit protection schemes in relation to rental situations. These schemes are designed to protect both tenants and landlords alike but they can only do so if they are in fact being used.

So you should always check this out to make sure you don’t end up losing the deposit amount you will in all likelihood be asked to pay upfront as you move into your new accommodation.

3 – Have you provided a guarantor?

Landlords renting out properties to students will usually want to ensure that the relevant rent payments are covered and backed up by someone other than the students who are planning to live there.

Students of course are not always famed for their financial prudence and landlords like to know that they can chase parents or other third parties in cases where rent amounts are not being paid for any reason.

There is no legal obligation for anyone renting a property to provide a guarantor but it could be that a prospective landlord will insist that you provide one. Either way it is worth being aware if you have committed to having someone else back up your rental commitments on your behalf if you can’t pay.

4 – Does it cover the summer months?

It could be that you will have little choice but to continue paying rent on your student accommodation even during months weeks or months when you are not around.

However, it could also be that you can make some very notable savings by investigating the possibility of limiting the scope of your tenancy agreement in a way that means you and your housemates don’t need to pay during the summer months if you’re not going to be around.

5 – Are there any extra fees involved?

It can often be the case that agents’ fees will be included into the equation within the context of a student let tenancy agreement. There won’t always be additional fees in the agreement but it can be well worth enquiring further if you are unsure of precisely what certain amounts you’re being asked to pay for actually relate to.

So there we are, a few questions to have in mind as you come to sign a student tenancy agreement. No doubt there will be plenty of things you’d rather be doing than reading the small print on this kind of a contract but it just might save you time, money and hassle down the line if you consider these issues beforehand rather than after you’ve signed on the dotted line.

John Baird is a personal finance and insolvency expert from ScotlandDebtSolutions. He specialises in advising people on how to manage their money and deal with their personal debt problems.

Speaking Out: Why we need to talk about mental health

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In a study done of students in 2015, 8 in 10 students responded as saying they had experienced mental health issues in the course of a year of study—and more than half of those did not seek help. Why don’t we want to talk about mental health? Why is mental health treated as different from physical health, when it is of equal importance?

We fear what others might say. We fear having others not understand. We fear being labelled as “crazy” or “weird”.

All this week, EUSA (The Edinburgh University Students’ Association) has been running it’s first Mental Health & Wellbeing Awareness Week, with a variety of events going on around campus with a focus on the Let’sTalk campaign—encouraging people to talk about mental health. To get a dialogue going and to reduce the stigma surrounding these issues.

It’s time we talk about mental health.

And remember, if you ever need someone to talk to, no matter how you’re feeling, Edinburgh Nightline is here for you every night of semester, 8pm-8am at 0131 557 4444 or online ednightline.com

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

Interesting in volunteering?

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Edinburgh Nightline needs you!

Can you listen, but not judge? Can you give information, but not advice? Can you spare a few nights every term to support your fellow students?

It’s that time of the year again and we’re looking for new volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and to get involved in a new activity. All our volunteers will be provided with full training and support both during the training process and beyond.

We’ll be running pre-training events starting next week (beginning Monday 18th January). Keep an eye out on our social media accounts for more details very soon.

Want to get involved but not sure being a listening volunteer is for you? Check out Friends of Nightline, our sister organisation, who run fundraising events.

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

As Nightline Awareness Week 2015 comes to a close…

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Let’s take a look back on this past week. We’ve had flashmobs and stalls, photo contests and feelings boards with good ol’ Nigel Thin, and even some stress-busting yoga. This week has been all about getting our name out there in fun and interesting ways.

But let’s remember what Nightline is here to do for you. Stress, depression and anxiety are among the most common things students face during their time at university. Sometimes, it just all feels a bit too much. Sometimes, you don’t know who to turn to. Sometimes, you just need someone to listen.

Every night of term, from 8pm to 8am, we are here to listen. No matter what it’s about, no matter who you are, no matter how long you need us.

As winter well and truly swings in, leaving us cold and tired from the short, dark days, please take this message with you: you are not alone. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

8pm to 8am — 0131 557 4444 — ednightline.com

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

Awareness Week 2015: the week so far

Hello, Edinburgh!

We’re halfway through Nightline Awareness Week 2015—let’s take a look at what’s been going on so far, and what’s still to come.

On Monday, the Edinburgh University Modern Dance Society put on an incredible flashmob to Call Me Maybe outside the University of Edinburgh Central Library. If you missed it, check out the video here.

On Tuesday, we hosted a stall in association with Sexpression Edinburgh, raising awareness about consent.

Today (Wednesday) Nigel Thin was out on the University of Edinburgh campus meeting students and asking them: when I think of Nightline, what do I think of? We had some great responses, such as support, help, and kindness. Don’t forget, if you met Nigel today, head on over and ‘like’ our Facebook page and tag your photo. The most likes will win the £30 Amazon voucher!

But, the week is not over yet…

Still to come:

  • Friday: keep an eye out on campus for our feelings boards. How are you feeling today?
  • Saturday: the Edinburgh University Yoga Society is hosting a workshop at 6:30pm in Teviot, with a focus on relaxation and de-stressing. Check out the Facebook event here!

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin


 

Nightline Awareness Week 16 – 21 November 2015

Shop and Support—It’s That Simple!

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Ever wished you could make your money go further when you’re shopping online for things like groceries or books for university? Now you can.

With easyfundraising, almost every time you shop online you can donate a small amount of money to a charity—like us, Edinburgh Nightline! It’s at no extra cost to youthe cost is entirely covered by the company itself. And there’s an amazing amount of online shops taking part in this initiative—including Asda, Argos, Amazon, eBay, to name just a few of the over 2,700 shops! You can check out the entire list here.

Registration only takes a few moments of your time and then you can know that every time you purchase something through one of these shops, that company is donating a small amount of money to us in turn. So when you’re begrudging the price of that textbook or lamenting how much your grocery shopping comes to, you can do so knowing that at least a small amount of that will be going forward to do some good in your community.

To get involved and help us continue the work that we do, sign up here.

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

Edinburgh Nightline — What you need to know

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Be you a student new or returning, you might have a few questions.

What is Nightline? And what can they do for me?

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Nightline is an anonymous and confidential service that provides both support and information.
  • Nightline is run by students, for students.
  • Our lines are open 8pm to 8am, every night of term. That is, from tonight, Sat. 12th Sep.
  • You can speak to us over the phone at 0131 447 5555 or online, through an instant messaging service you can access at ednightline.com.
  • Nightline is non-judgemental and non-directional. You can talk to us about anything and our trained volunteers will be there to listen as long as you wish to talk. We listen—but we don’t advise. We can provide information if asked, though.
  • Edinburgh Nightline is part of a National Organisation and has won several awards and been shortlisted for more over the past few years acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our volunteers.

If you want any more information about the service or what to expect when contacting us, check out the website.

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

September is upon us…

Off Grounds Textbooks 2014The smell of fresh ringbinders is in the air and I can hear whisperings of tutorial sign-ups on the breeze. It can mean only one thing—September is here, and the new academic year is about to begin.

Welcome back to the returning students coming into their next year of study at Edinburgh—be you Uni of, QMU, Napier, Heriot Watt or Edinburgh College-ers. And the warmest of welcomes to the freshers, of course!

Be you a fresh-faced first year or a seasoned third year, you might be feeling all sorts of things right about now. Excitement. Apprehension. Nerves. Stress. Wherever your feelings might fall, that’s okay. The important thing is you remember that you’re not alone.

Come Saturday (Sep. 12th), our lines will once more be open between 8pm and 8am every night of term, whether you want to give us a call on 0131 557 4444 or talk to us online at www.ednightline.com. We’re here to listen, no matter how you’re feeling right now. And we’ll be here, all year.

Welcome students—and here’s to 2015/16.

—Your friend,

Nigel Thin

Festive Period!

View of bench against christmas tree and shining lantern through snowing. Night shot.

Hello all, Nigel here!

I hope you’ve had a good bit of R&R over the break, I know I have! I am looking forward to starting this next term. The January term can always be a difficult one, with the gloomy weather, exam results and the beginning of work after a break, but please remember our wonderful Nightliners will be there for you every night of term, from 8pm-8am.

We will be keeping you up to date with any information that can help you re-adapt to Uni and Edinburgh life.

For now, don’t forget to check in with your university emails to make sure you catch any vital information, and remember your respective advice and student services can help you find any information you need!

 

Love, Nigel!

Awareness Week

Nigel has been super busy this AW! He’s been out and about at QMU bakesale!
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He’s also been around Edinburgh University campus, even meeting the local police!
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Nigel will be about Edinburgh University campus this week running a photo competition!Get your photo taken with Nigel, like our facebook page and the picture with the most likes wins a £30 Amazon Voucher! Wow!
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