Before Your Arrival
Before you leave for the UK you will need to arrange some short term accommodation to allow you to familiarise yourself with the area before entering into a long-term agreement. Talk to colleagues in your department about the popular and local areas to live in. You could take a look on property websites such as Right Move, Gumtree or Zoopla.
Areas of Liverpool
Liverpool is split into several districts. A complete list can be found on liverpool-map.com.
When you first move to the UK it would be advisable to rent first giving you the opportunity to get to know the area before you decide to buy. You can find local properties owned by private landlords (as opposed to properties owned by the local council) advertising online, on notice boards, or via a lettings agent.
The minimum amount of time you can rent is for 6 months.
Finding a place
As mentioned above, there are several places you can find accommodation to rent. Right Move and Zoopla are a good place to start. You can try the classifieds on the University of Liverpool staff intranet or via a local letting agent.
When you have decided on a place to rent, you will be required to put down a deposit. This is usually a month’s rent. This is held by either the Letting Agent or the Landlord and returned when you tenancy has ended.
When you agree to rent a property you will be required to sign a tenancy agreement. Tenancy agreements should normally contain information about the amount of rent, the length of the tenancy and what rights you and your landlord will have under the law.
Check the tenancy agreement thoroughly and if there is something you do not understand, don’t sign it. If you do not fully understand your rights, show your tenancy agreement to an adviser in the accommodation office at the university and ask for help.
When you do sign the tenancy agreement, make sure you get a copy to keep for yourself, in case you need to check any details later on.
You may also be asked to sign an inventory of items in the property. Make sure you check this thoroughly and only sign it when you are happy that all the items have been listed. Make sure you are given a copy of this as well.
If an inventory has not been provided, you should make one yourself and send a copy to the landlord or letting agent.
Your rights as a tenant
As a tenant you have certain rights and responsibilities. For a guide to tenancy rights and responsibilities, visit the gov.uk website.
Finding a place
There are a number of ways in which you could find a property to buy:-
- using estate agents
- looking at the property pages in local newspapers
- contacting house building companies for details of new properties being built in the area
- looking on the internet using sites such as Right Move, Zoopla etc.
Getting a mortgage
If you wish to buy a home you may be able to borrow money to do this. This is called a mortgage. The loan is for a fixed period, called a term and you have to pay interest on the loan. If you do not keep up the agreed repayments, the lender can take possession of the property.
You can find more advice about obtaining a mortgage from an independent financial advisor.
Making an offer
When you decide you would like to buy a particular property you do not necessarily have to pay the price being asked for it by the owners. If the property is being sold through an estate agent you put your offer to them who will then put the offer to the owners. If the owners do not accept the first offer, you can increase the offer. There is no limit on the number of times you can make offers on a property. If you make an oral offer this is never legally binding.
Once your offer has been accepted it can take between 2 and 4 months for the sale to go through. You will have to contact a solicitor or a conveyancer to do the conveyancing. Once instructed they will draw up a contract and complete and surveys and searches on the property.
Once the contacts have been signed by both parties and the money transferred, you legally own the property.
For more information see the Citizens Advice website.
Council Tax is a tax that is charged by the local authority based on the property’s value and the number of people living in it. If you are renting a property and the rent doesn’t cover the bills, you will probably have to pay council tax. This will be billed by the local authority (not your landlord).
There is a 25% discount offered to properties occupied by a single person.
For more information about council tax in Liverpool visit the Liverpool Council website.
Gas and electricity bills
When you move into the property note down the gas and electricity meter readings. You usually receive a bill every three months. If you are renting, ask your landlord/Letting agent who the supplier is.
The water supplier in the North West is United Utilities.
In order to watch live television in the UK you need a TV licence. See the TV licensing website for more information.
There may be an existing telephone line in your property. If you are renting, contact your landlord or letting agent.
There is a wide range of companies who offer high speed broadband in the UK. Search the internet for a supplier that best suites your needs.