Housing Advice.





Housing advice





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General information

Inspecting The Property

When you wants to inspect a property, let someone know where you are going or take someone with you (female students should avoid inspection on their own at night). Most student accommodations are terraced houses or flats, so be aware of parking areas and if you can ask about you neighbours, it is helpful to know if they are students or family with four kids. 

When inspecting outside of a property you might want to ask yourself the following questions.

1. Are you happy with the location? (even after dark)

2. Is the exterior of the property in good condition? (roof, windows, garden)

3. Is there safe access to the property? (adequate lighting after dark)

When inspecting inside of a property you might want to ask yourself the following questions.

1. Is the property reasonably secure? (Window locks, Solid doors, etc)

2. Are the gas appliances safe? ( ask to see CORGI certificate)

3. Is the electrical wiring safe? ( ask when was last checked)

4. Is the property safe in the event of fire? (smoke alarms, fire exits)

5. Does the property suffer from any damp? (attic & ground floors susceptible)

6. Is the house warm in the winter? (ask current tenants, is it double glazed)

7. Is the house clean? (if not, make sure it is before you move in)

8. Are the facilities in the kitchen adequate for the number of occupants?

9. Are there adequate washing and toilet facilities? (how is the water heated?)

10. Is your room sufficient for your needs? (enough electrical sockets, adequate furniture, heating, lighting)

11. Are you happy with the overall state of repair and decoration? (if not, is the landlord willing to carry out the work before you move in?)

12. Are all the facilities in the house in good working order? (telephone, washing machine, etc. make sure before you move in)    

Management of the property                                                                                                        

Make sure that you have read and understood your contract, and if you are unsure, seek advice before signing. however if you have visited and seen a property that you like and that you have decided it is the right place for you, then you should ask yourself the following questions.

1. Are you happy with the landlords arrangements for doing repairs, for instance incase of an emergency, burst pipe, boiler not working, washing machine not working.

2. Do you understand what is included in the rent and when it is due. (should be stated in the contract)

3. Are you sure about what the deposit is for. (disagreement over the amount of deposit that is withheld is one of the most common problems between landlords and tenants)

4. Has the landlord prepared an inventory detailing the furniture and fixtures with in the property and their general conditions.( most landlords do not provide this, you can create one of your own)

Share with someone                                                                                                                                 

If you are going to share a house with other students, insist on meeting them first and find out what sort of arrangements they have for housework, household bills, heating arrangements, TV licence.  

If you want to have a visitor, ensure that it is alright with the others in the household.  

Landlord's & Tenant's Responsibilities                                                                                               

Details of the landlord and tenant responsibilities should be laid down in the agreement, In general, by law the landlord's are responsible for keeping in good repair and working order of the exterior of the property and the facilities of the interior such as heating appliances, gas and electrical appliances provided, bath, toilets, sinks and basins.

Landlords have a legal responsibility to carry out these repairs regardless of what is in the agreement. It is essential that you put requests for repairs in writing as soon as possible.

Tenants have an obligation to look after the property, not to damage the property or its contents. They should undertake minor maintenance work, ensure the property is kept cleaned and ensure to take necessary steps to protect the property during periods of absence. (i.e. turn cold water mains off during Christmas and winter holidays to avoid burst pipes)

Finding the right student accommodation                                                                       

Try to find accommodations in areas that are popular with students. When you want to find somewhere to live you must do so according to your own circumstances, for instance if you are on a tight budget and do not have a car try to find somewhere with in walking distance to the university or college, however this will be expensive in central London and big cities.

What is the law for renting?                                                                              

Most lettings of houses and flats are assured or assured shorthold tenancies. These allow the landlord to charge a market rent. 

If you rent on an assured shorthold tenancy, the landlord has a guaranteed right to get his home back after 6 months - if he needs it. However If you rent on an assured tenancy, you (the tenant) have more security.

  • From 28 February 1997 all new tenancies are assured shortholds unless the landlord agrees otherwise in writing.

  • Landlord will not have to give the tenant a special notice to set up an assured shorthold.

  • Landlord will be able to get his property back if the tenant owes at least 2 months or rent.

  • It will be easier to evict tenants causing a nuisance to local people.


Common disputes & problems                                                                          

If you are encountering problems with you landlord/lady you should discuss the matter with student services at your university or college.


If you are threatened with eviction, seek advice immediately. It is illegal for landlords to evict tenants by changing locks while they are out, physically throwing out, or preventing tenants getting into part or all of their home. If this happens call the police.

If you share accommodation with your landlord/lady, then you can be evicted without having to get a court order. You should be given written notice to leave the property, once the period of notice has expired, the landlord/lady can evict you immediately. (Seek advice before you get to this stage) 

You could be evicted if you have rent arrears or have legal action against you to recover the rent. 

Breach of the agreement                                                                                                                         

Landlord wants tenant to end tenancy

Landlords who want a tenant to leave before the agreed term has expired must follow a correct procedure. Failure to do so will mean the landlord has illegally evicted his/her tenant and the tenant can take legal action to be reinstated in the property and seek compensation. Landlord can not seek possession of the property during the first six months of a tenancy unless a serious breach of the contract has occurred.

After the six month a court order is required for an outright possession if the duration of the contract is for 9-12 months. Once outright possession has been granted, if the tenant still does not evacuate, the landlord must apply to courts for a warrant of possession and allow bailiffs to evict the tenant.

Tenant wants to end tenancy

Most students are not normally entitled to end the tenancy early unless they have strong cases to do so, such as serious breach of the agreement by the landlord, or there is a clause in the contract allowing tenants to leave early or the landlord voluntarily releases the tenant from the contract. If none of these conditions apply, where a tenant does move out before the end of the contract he or she is liable for the rent until the end of the contract or until another tenant takes his/her place. 

Having a visitor

If you have a visitor in your shared accommodation, firstly ensure that it is alright with the others in your household secondly if your visitor stays so long that he or she seems to have become a resident, then you may be in breach of your agreement unless approved by your landlord/lady.

Withholding of the deposit                                                                               

Probably the most common dispute between landlord and the tenant. Landlord will always withhold money from the deposit to pay for any damage you have caused or to make sure that all the bills are paid, if you owe any rent at the end of your agreement this will also be taken from the deposit.

Normal wear and tear to the property or the contents would not justify any deduction of the deposit.

To avoid having problems at the end of your agreement, prepare an inventory list of all the furniture and the fixtures in the property and get a receipt for the deposit.( the agreement should state what the deposit is for and when it will be returned)

Tips To Save Energy                                                                                       

Energy efficiency can save you money if you follow these simple points:-

  • Always think about fuel costs before you move in. If possible ask current tenants about their full bills, ask the landlord if the property has been energy improved.

  • If buying/hiring a washing machine/fridge or  a freezer, choose one that is energy efficient. If you have off-peak (economy 7) electricity, do your washing at night. 

  • If you have a room thermostat reduce it by 1 deg Celsius. Only pay for the heat you need, turn off radiators in rooms not in use. when you go out turn down thermostat valves on your radiators if you have any.   

  • Turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. if possible get low energy light bulbs, on average uses five times less electricity and lasts up to eight times longer.

  • Damp rooms are harder to heat, try to open the window first thing in the morning to let moist air out. do not forget to close it when you leave.

  • Wait until you have a full load of washing, use the half load or economy button on the washing machine.

  • Take a shower instead of a bath & don't fill up the kettle too much.








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