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Renters & Students – 11 accommodation safety tips

Liezl Hesketh in Renters 


In a perfect world, renters and landlords treat each other with mutual respect and understanding and always act in good faith. But this is not a perfect world and things don’t work out the way we expect them to all the time. So as a precaution, it is advisable that you the renter should take steps to protect yourself against any unforeseen eventualities.  Whether it’s your student accommodation provider or a private landlord – these safety tips will help.

We have compiled a list of 11 safety tips for renters and students


1. Due Diligence

Find out more about the building, the neighbourhood and its security concerns. If you know the name of the prospective landlord, google them.  Find out as much as you can about him/her on the internet – you might get a sense of the type of person they are.

Warning! This works both ways – you will probably be googled by the prospective landlord, so don’t air all your dirty laundry on the public spaces of social media!

2. Take your time

You don’t have to take the first place you see, consider other properties. This is going to be a place you call home so make sure you make the right decision.

3. Take along a friend

Find someone to go to the viewing with you, as there is added security in numbers. Also, they can act as a witness, should the need arise.

4. Arrange for room viewings during daytime

Daytime hours give you the best perspective of the accommodation, landlord and neighbourhood. Prospective landlords that only want night time viewings should be treated with caution.

5. Feeling threatened?

Your safety is of utmost importance. You do not have to go through with anything that you do not want, always remember you have not committed anything yet and you can leave anytime during a viewing.

6.  Insist on a lease agreement

If you are in agreement that you will be renting the place and get offered a lease agreement, read it carefully. Read the fine print and discuss everything you do not agree with and get the lease amended. The lease should be acceptable to both parties before you sign it.  If they don’t have a lease agreement, download a lease agreement from TheRoomLink website and take it along for them to sign.

7. Do virtual viewings before physical viewings

In our current world of smartphones and tablets, everyone has access to video-call facilities like Skype, Google+ Hangouts or FaceTime.  Why not agree with a prospective landlord to do a video call where they can ‘show’ you the place whilst on a video call?  It saves you travelling time, save them the invasion of their privacy for multiple tenants, and you can decide whether you like the place enough to set up a real physical viewing.  Learn how easy it is to do.

8. Beware of scammers

Beware of people who promise to find you a room after paying a certain registration fee. Usually anything that sounds too good to be true, usually is.

Remember TheRoomLink doesn’t charge arrangement fees, admin fees or commission – so be careful if someone tries to make you pay these.

9. Report scammers

We do not approve of scammers, so please report these to us. If serious, we will report them to the relevant authorities.

10. Protect your deposit

Ask for the proof of payment. Even a handwritten paper signed by both parties is good enough. Get clarification on the handling of deposit: how and when the deposit will be refunded – as well as how it will work if any deductions are to be made from the deposit at the end of the term.

11. Ask for an inventory if renting a furnished flat/room

If you’re renting somewhere finished, insist on an inventory.  This will detail each piece of furniture and equipment as well as the condition it was in when you moved in.  If you want to see your deposit again, ensure you are happy with the condition of each item because you need to return each item in at least the same condition.

If their lease agreement doesn’t include an inventory – all our Lease Agreements and Licences to Occupy come with inventories.  They’re quick and easy to download.

Other helpful info


Rate a Landlord

We have recently introduced the ability to rate renters and landlords on our website.  This way you can sing the praises of good landlords, and you can share experiences of bad landlords.  This way renters can help each other stay safe.


To rent a landlord, you need to be logged into TheRoomLink, and you can only rate each landlord once.  You can rate any landlord you have had dealings with – not only the ones where you eventually ended up staying!

The more people who rate others on TheRoomLink, the safer we can make this website to use

Reporting users

TheRoomlink has built-in functionality to make it easy to report either inappropriate listings, photos or behaviour.  You’ll find the ‘Report Abuse’ button at the bottom of each listing.


**Please don’t use this button if you’re merely trying to inform us of a room that is no longer available.  Each of our users is responsible to ensure that the information they post on TheRoomLink is kept accurate and up-to-date.  If you find out-of-date information, please take it up with them directly.

Why not share your experience with us?  We are always keen to hear from our users.

We want to hear your good experiences, as well as your bad experiences.

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