Student rental glossary

Guide to student accommodations

Student rental glossary


The lettings industry is regulated by Association of Residential Letting Agents.

Carbon monoxide detectors

These are small devices which test the levels of carbon monoxide in the air. If gas appliances are faulty and emitting unsafe levels of carbon monoxide the detector’s alarm will be activated. These are life-saving devices which can be bought in any D.I.Y. store and in many supermarkets and are highly recommended.

Council tax

This is a monthly cost paid to the council for the upkeep of local services such as street lighting, road cleaning and refuse collection.  The amount owed will depend on your student status and type of accommodation. So, if you’re living with a mix of full and part-time students be clear on who is and who isn’t exempt.  If you think you qualify for an exemption you must apply to the relevant local council.


This is a sum of money which is taken by the landlord or managing agent at the start of a tenancy and held in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme as security for the landlord. The landlord has the right to use part or all of this money to fund any repair works which are needed at the end of the tenancy which are additional to the usual expected maintenance requirements. If there is no repair work required then you will be entitled to a full refund.

Electrical certificate

This is a statement from an authorised electrical engineer, to testify that an electrical appliance has been tested and meets the current safety standards.

Gas safety record

Because of the dangerous nature of gas all properties which have gas appliances such as heating systems, cookers and fires must be regularly checked by a certified ‘Gas Safe’ engineer to ensure that the fittings and appliances remain in good working order. These checks must be conducted on an annual basis and the landlord must have the certificates to prove that this has been done.


The majority of students will be new to renting and with no track record to prove that they pay the correct rent, on time, landlords often seek extra protection. This can take the form of asking you to provide the details of someone who has agreed to pay any overdue rent, should you be unable to pay.

House in multiple occupation (HMO)

A private rental property becomes an HMO if there are at least three tenants sharing a toilet, bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Household bills

In addition to the basic rent, there will be a number of running costs for the house. Some of these will be included in the rent, often water and sewage bills, possibly council tax. Other costs will be your responsibility, such as gas and electric and TV licence, amongst others.

Management of property

Rental property can be managed independently by the landlord in which case rent will go directly to them and they will be responsible for the maintenance of the structure of the building, décor, etc.  The alternative is when the landlord employs a property manager, usually part of a letting agency who collects the rent and takes care of the property on the landlord’s behalf.


Price per week/Price per calendar month – this is the way you will be charged. Some landlords collect rent weekly, others prefer a monthly collection.


A statement from someone who knows you well enough to vouch for the fact that you are a responsible person who will look after the property and pay the agreed rent on time.  It is usually a relative, past teacher or employer.


Regulation is overseeing the activity of an organisation to ensure that they are following the correct procedures, to prevent misconduct.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Essentially this is protection for your deposit money. Any deposit taken by a landlord must be saved in a Government approved scheme to ensure that the landlord can return it to you at the end of the tenancy; providing that you have met the terms of the agreement, not damaged the property and have paid rent and bills.