It is important for you to have suitable accommodation while you are based here at Leeds.
Property and accommodation in the UK can be very different from what you are used to and it is advisable to arrange something temporary before you arrive until you get more settled, find your feet and get a feel for the area.
Having a UK address will also help you to set up a bank account more quickly, and, if you have children, you will need a UK address to obtain a place at a state school. 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. As such where you choose to live may well be determined by the school you wish your child to go to.
The accommodation office exists to help all members of Leeds University, from students and academics to staff and visiting scholars, to find suitable accommodation. They will be able to provide a list of suitable hotels located close to campus and in some cases may be able to provide temporary accommodation to rent.
There is a variety of accommodation available including furnished or unfurnished apartments or houses, shared accommodation and self-contained apartments. Depending on your circumstances, you have two long-term accommodation options; renting or buying a property.
To find a property it is advisable to use an estate agent. Leeds has a number of agencies which can easily be found with an internet search. The following are both national and local estate agents:
You can search for properties to rent or to buy; if you wish to stay in an area close to the University you should search for property located in or around the LS2 postcode area of Leeds.
It is advisable to rent in an area first before buying in order to get to know your neighbourhood. Before choosing a place to live you may want to view neighbourhood statistics which detail the different localities in the area, including information about education, health and crime rates.
Renting a property can offer a short to long term housing solution; it is also a convenient option.
It is worth bearing in mind that estate agents normally showcase accommodation at least a month before you can move in, so you will need to factor this time into your plans.
Minimum rental periods tend to be six or twelve months, and are typically renewed on a monthly basis after that.
Rented accommodation normally states whether it is furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished. You should always check carefully to ascertain what is included before signing any contract or agreement.
Landlords may ask for a deposit in advance which will be paid back to you at the end of your tenancy as long as you do not cause any damage to the property. Landlords are generally responsible for the maintenance and safety of the property.
Once you have found somewhere to live you will have to sign a tenancy agreement; this is a contract between you and your landlord. A tenancy agreement should contain information about the rental price and when this should be paid, the length of the tenancy, the deposit amount, an outline of bills you’re responsible for and the legal terms and conditions of your tenancy.
It is most likely you will have an assured shorthold tenancy which means that you can’t be asked to leave without a substantial reason during the first six months.
The landlord may also ask you to sign an inventory detailing of all the items in the property. Check that this is correct and that it lists any existing damage to items before signing it; also obtain a copy for your records.
If you are remaining for a substantial period of time in the UK, it may make sense for you to buy a house. However, you should probably wait until you have settled in before you take this step, and get to know the area in which you would like to buy.
Buying a property is a complex and costly procedure and you may want to bear in mind the following:
Mortgage – There are a number of mortgage lenders in the UK who offer a huge range of mortgages. Each lender sets their own eligibility criteria for each mortgage, so it can take time finding a suitable mortgage. Where a mortgage is required, buyers will normally be required to pay a significant deposit, typically around 20% of the purchase price.
Solicitor’s / conveyancer’s fees – These can vary according to the area and property. Completion times can range from 6 – 8 weeks to several months, depending on the specific circumstances of the property being purchased, the buyer and the seller.
Surveyor’s fees – There is a basic valuation survey, which normally costs approximately £350 (2016). However, you may also want a complete structural survey and the costs of this vary.
Stamp Duty Land Tax – You have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if you buy a property in the UK over £125,000 (2016), which increases incrementally for more expensive properties. This is charged on all purchases of houses, flats and other land and buildings.
Timescales – Buying a house in the UK is a time-consuming process and takes about three months, from viewing property advert to sealing the deal and this is presuming the process runs smoothly.
House prices will vary considerably depending on where you choose to live.
You can find out house price trends in England and Wales since 1995 as well as how much a specific property sold for by using the UK House Price Index.
Internet websites, such as Zoopla and Rightmove can provide an indication on how Leeds compares nationally by showing a comparison between the UK and Leeds in terms of average home value, across a number of different types of home. Home shows both average asking prices and average rents across the region.