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I'm a working professional, and want to rent a privately-owned 2 bed flat in the UK with a master's student.

I know some landlords don't want to rent to students. But since I am employed, would they mind? Do we both need to sign the contract or just me?

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background: I am currently renting a 1 bed flat with my partner who is a PhD student in London and the landlord of that flat preferred not to have students but was more than happy to rent to us. It may depend on the landlord's preference but, when we made it clear that she was postgrad and had money coming in, and when I passed the credit check on my own (i.e. without her even being checked) all was fine, and I act as guarantor for her rent. This has been true of all of the properties that we have rented or considered renting over the last few years.

the things to be aware of are:

  • landlords don't tend to like students because of their reputation for irresponsibility (damage, wild parties etc.), having someone responsible living with them can allay these fears.
  • There is a fear, justified or not, that students will not be able to afford to pay rent or will just spend the rent money on other things. Having a guarantor (in yourself) will allay these fears. The question of whether you want to be the guarantor I can't answer!
    • from a legal point of view who signs the contract, and therefore whether you are illegally sub letting etc. is importand (see @DumbCoder's answer).
    • Some landlords have had problems with students in the past or have read horror stories of those who have and will never rent to students even when they have a guarantor and a contract signed in blood allowing them to take the student's first born if they cause any damage. Don't feel that its anything personal if the landlord is one of those.

I'd recommend that you both sign the contract so that if anything happens the other is covered.

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There are 2 cases here.

1) Where you are the one who signs the contract - If this is the case then read your contract carefully. The contract might prohibit you from subletting it to others. If not you can sublet, but I would make sure that the landlord knows about it and gives his/her permission. They might want to draw up a new contract. Or if you sublet without them knowing, you know not what they might do.

But everything is decided by the contract you signed. If you had sublet without the landlord's permission, and the contract states you aren't allowed to do so, then the landlord has full rights to ask you to vacate the house as you have broken your contract, but he/she needs to give you the notice period mentioned in the contract. If all is well but the other tenant broke or destroyed something, you are the one who has to make it good. Remember your neighbours might inform your landlord that more than 1 persons are living and he/she might know even if you didn't inform the landlord.

2) Where both of you sign the contract - Everything is decided by the contract you both signed i.e. bills, making good anything broken or destroyed etc.

In your case if the student is your family member/friend make it clear to the landlord that both of you will stay and the contract will be drawn accordingly. Make it clear who is paying the rent, so the landlord knows. The landlord might want to do a credit check or see your salary slips and all. In that case you need to sign the agreement and the other person doesn't need to. If you are subletting then it is a different matter.

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