It is advisable to arrange temporary accommodation before you arrive in the UK. Temporary accommodation will provide opportunity to settle and get a feel for Keele and the surrounding area. Depending on your circumstances, and whether your relocation is short or long term, you have two main accommodation options; to rent or buy.
Renting a property can offer a short to long term housing solution and is particularly useful if your relocation is temporary and you need accommodation whilst saving to buy a property, you need somewhere to live temporarily whilst looking for a property to buy, or you are considering different areas.
Renting means that you enter into a contract (known as a tenancy agreement) with a landlord or company to live in a property and you pay rent. Properties are available with furniture and appliances (furnished), without furniture and appliances (unfurnished) or it may be offered with some items of furniture and/or appliances (semi-furnished). In all cases you should enquire which furniture and appliances are included before signing a tenancy agreement.
When you rent a property you become a tenant and are subject to certain restrictions and obligations. These will be stated in your tenancy agreement which is a contract between you and the landlord. The tenancy agreement should contain key information on the terms of the rental and include the rental price, when it should be paid and when it may be increased, the date and duration of the tenancy, the deposit amount, an outline of any bills you are responsible for, the period of notice that you and your landlord are required to give and the legal terms and conditions of your tenancy. Further information can be obtained from the Citizens Advice Bureau or gov.uk.
Monthly rental costs vary depending upon size and condition of the property, location and whether bills are included. Please be aware that a deposit is usually required which can range from one to two months’ rent payable at the time of signing the agreement. The deposit should be returned to you at the end of your tenancy, as long as you do not cause any damage to the property.
A landlord may ask you to sign an inventory which is a list of all the items found in the property. You should check that it is correct and that any existing damage is documented before you sign it. Make sure you retain a copy of the document. If your landlord doesn’t make an inventory it is advisable to make one yourself and to send a copy to your landlord. This can prevent any later disputes about the contents of the property.
Landlords are generally responsible for the maintenance and safety of the property. This includes carrying out annual safety checks. Further information on rights and responsibilities can be found here.
Properties can be rented through a letting agent or directly from the owner.
Accommodation falls into several types:
- Flat or House Share – you have your own bedroom but other facilities are shared with other people.
- Bedsit –your bedroom and living room are combined in one room. These are usually small properties and you will have cooking facilities either within the room, or a separate shared facility. You may have a private or shared bathroom.
- Studio flat – your bedroom and living room are combined. Often there is a separate kitchen. Facilities should be private and not shared with others.
- Flat/ apartment – self-contained accommodation with separate living room and bedroom(s).
- Terraced house – private house attached by properties either side. Often in a row of similar houses.
- Semi-detached house – private house joined on one wall to another property.
- Detached – private house standing alone with no properties joined on.
Further information on private renting can be found here.
Buying a property means that you buy the deeds to a property and become the owner. The process of buying a house can be a lengthy and complex process in the UK and can take several months.
Some of the costs you will need to factor in are:
- Mortgage arrangement fee – this is a fee payable to a lender when arranging a mortgage.
- Valuation fee – this is the fee lenders charge for a valuation to check the property offers sufficient security for a mortgage loan.
- Legal fees - you will need to use a solicitor and fees can vary according to the property price.
- Stamp duty – stamp duty is charged on land and property sales in the UK. To find out how much stamp duty is payable use the stamp duty calculator.
- Surveys – you should have at least a basic survey on a property you wish to buy but you may want to have a more comprehensive structural survey. There are a range of different types of surveys available.
- Removal costs – this may be the cost of transporting items from overseas or from rented accommodation. The cost of moving depends on the method of transportation, distance, volume and weight.
It is advisable to contact multiple companies for a quotation, and you will need to have obtained at least two quotations if you wish to claim under the University’s relocation and removal expenses scheme.
Further information on property buying in the UK can be found through searching the internet. One source of information is money saving expert - buying property. Alternatively the gov.uk provides useful information about buying a property in the UK.
The area you wish to live in will depend on your personal preferences and circumstances. You may wish to take into consideration the following:
- Commuting time (how long it will take you to reach Keele)
- Public transport links
- Distance to services important to you e.g. schools
If you have children please bear in mind that state schools have catchment areas. This means that children living in the immediate vicinity of the school usually get priority over places.
Keele University have a small number of University owned properties that are available to rent on a temporary basis. Further information can be found at staff housing.
There are numerous national and local estate agents and letting agencies which have properties to buy or rent and they can easily be found through an internet search. You can search for agents approved by the National Association of Estate Agents.
Alternatively details of some agents in Newcastle-under-Lyme can be found here. The following are both national and local estate agents: