Frequently Asked QuestionsBelow are the answers to questions we most frequently get asked. Hopefully you will be able to find the information you require, however please get back in contact if you have further queries.
What deposits do I have to pay?
To secure the property, payment of the first month's rent is required. Some agencies refer to this as a "holding deposit", however this is not an accurate description, it is the initial rental payment and contributes to the overall rent amount due for the year. This must be paid when you sign up, and the property is not secured without it. This payment is not refundable, and should be paid into the main "rentals" account as detailed on the first page of your welcome letter documentation.
Before anybody can move in to the property, a dilapidations deposit of £450 per person is required from all tenants. This deposit is refundable at the end of the tenancy should all of the obligations under the tenancy agreement be fulfilled, including (but not limited to) all rent having been fully paid, the professional clean having been completed, all damages having been paid for, and all outstanding bills settled. This deposit is due two weeks before the first person moves into the property at the latest, and should be paid into the specific "deposits" account as detailed on the first page of your welcome letter documentation.
Are gas and electricity bills included and if not how much will they cost?
Gas and electricity are not included in the rent, and it is rather difficult to give anything other than a very approximate figure for typical annual energy use. The bill over the course of the year will depend largely on:
A reasonable estimation of energy costs is around £15-£30 per person per month. However it could well work out to be lower if you're all efficiency conscious tenants. If you are profligate with your energy use then it could work out to be more. We have energy efficient boilers in all of our houses and have taken reasonable steps to improve energy conservation. Please see the Energy Performance rating for the property in question, as displayed on the house's information page on the website. Generally speaking, larger, older houses are more expensive to heat, newer flats are more efficient. Please note though that for the above reasons estimates given here are no guarantee.
What else is included and what isn't?
Internet is included at all properties (see below), as is the water bill. A gardener will come round periodically according to the season and weather. TV licences are not included and you will need to purchase one if you wish to view TV services. Some properties have facilities such as a dishwasher or tumble drier, see individual listings for details. Generally speaking the property is "sold as seen" so if you are requesting upgrades or additions of any description (furniture etc.) please submit your request in writing (email will do) and get written confirmation that we have agreed before signing up.
What needs to be done before I can move in?
Before any tenants can move in, the lead tenant (or another nominated tenant) must make an appointment with us to check the house and collect keys on behalf of all tenants (this takes approximately 1 hour). The earliest date this appointment can be is the first day of the tenancy. To make an appointment, the lead tenant should contact us on 07973 232141 to arrange a mutually convenient time, between the hours of 10.00 am and 3.00 pm, Monday to Friday only (not on bank holidays), giving at least 2 weeks' notice, or at least 4 weeks' notice if you wish to move in within the first two weeks of the tenancy. If your signup date is within this period, please give immediate notice. If the first day of the tenancy is a Saturday or Sunday, we will accept appointments on that day despite it being a weekend. All deposits and advance rents must be paid and all documentation completed by all tenants before the appointment can be booked. No keys can be handed over or access permitted to the house if this has not been done by the deadlines laid out above. Please note the first day of the tenancy is in extremely high demand so please ensure the aforementioned notice periods are adhered to as we do not employ infinite staff. If your group fails to give the required notice then you may not be able to move in on your desired day. Note that only one tenant needs to attend the initial appointment and accept keys on behalf of all other tenants. All other tenants may then subsequently move in at their convenience without needing to book their own appointments with us.
I have paid my dilapidations deposit, advance rental, provided all correct documentation and registered online, however one tenant in my group has failed to provide one piece of documentation. Can I still move in?
No, all tenants must be fully paid up and with all documentation complete before any tenants are given keys or allowed to move in. We cannot accept appointments to move in until all documentation has been provided and all registrations completed, according to the minimum timescales outlined above.
I have moved in and an item of maintenance or cleaning has been missed. What do I do?
Please inform us immediately. Nobody is perfect and sometimes things get missed, particularly in the older houses or if last year's group never bothered to tell us the problem existed. In no circumstances should you attempt to fix the problem yourself. If the cleaners have missed something then they will be summoned back to finish the job properly. If you clean the problem up yourself, this means last year's tenants may have been overcharged and you are denying them the opportunity either to have the job for which they have paid done properly, or a partial refund provided. If a maintenance issue has been missed, or crops up at any time, please log a ticket on the online Maintenance Tracker, do not email/text/phone/verbally inform one of us. See below under Maintenance issues for more details. If an item of furniture is missing, please let the property managers know directly.
What happens about utility bills?
You should take gas and electricity meter readings on the day the first tenant moves into the property. The previous tenants should have closed their accounts when they leave and you should therefore receive a notice to occupier in the post within a few weeks of moving in. This will invite you to sign up as new customers of the existing utility supplier. You are free to change supplier should you wish to do so, but please notify us when you do and the name of the new supplier. This applies to gas and electricity only, we pay the water bill.
What happens to our dilapidations deposit during the year?
As required by law, your dilapidations deposit will be lodged with the Deposit Protection Scheme. You will receive details of this in due course.
I no longer wish to be lead tenant. Can I change to another tenant?
Another tenant may take up the duties of lead tenant at any time, however this is much more difficult to do once the deposit has been lodged. The lead tenant may also delegate some of their duties to another tenant, for example if the first tenant to move in is not the lead tenant, then that tenant may perform the move-in appointment duties. The same applies if the lead tenant is not the last to leave the property.
During the tenancy
Please report all maintenance problems immediately they occur via the official Maintenance Tracker system. Failure to report issues as soon as they occur will usually make the problem much worse. Verbal and other reports (e.g. via text message or email) are not acceptable. Even if you have reported a matter directly to an individual staffmember and they then appear to take action, you must still log the job properly via the Maintenance Tracker, as without a proper written record, the job may be forgotten and/or not followed up. This is because all staffmembers are expecting all jobs to be properly logged and subsequently managed by the company's maintenance supervisor, not themselves. Details of how to access the Maintenance Tracker including access codes were provided in the welcome documentation you were originally sent while signing up. Please carefully read the information on the Maintenance Tracker page before logging a ticket, particularly with regards damp/condensation issues. Please do not log multiple tickets for the same issue, instead please reply to the most recent email with your query and we will update the original ticket, even if it has been closed. Please log each issue separately, do not log multiple items on the same ticket.
How is my rent calculated?
The rent is calculated from the advertised weekly amount on the website. This is then converted to a daily rate and multiplied by the number of days in the tenancy, which is usually 359 days in a typical 5 July to 28 June tenancy, to form the total amount due. The per-calendar-month figure quoted on the website is an approximation for comparison purposes only. The actual monthly amount due will be slightly less as the tenancy is not the full 365 days and so this lowers the overall amount due. We ask for an advance rental payment (payable on signing of original documentation) equivalent to one twelfth of the total, which covers July. Two more monthly payments are due on 1 August and 1 September, and then termly amounts (equivalent to three months' rent), payable on 1 October, 1 January and 1 April.
Can I pay the rent monthly?
We prefer termly payments but monthly can be accommodated. Please contact us to arrange.
Up to 50 Mbps internet is provided in most houses for free. This is provided in the form of a standard wireless unit that services most rooms in the house. In the case of large houses with cold spots we have installed repeater wireless access points to provide additional coverage. Note we cannot guarantee high speed coverage in every part of every room in the house, for obvious technical reasons.
Many houses still have legacy ethernet sockets in some rooms which are a left-over from pre-wireless days. However we do not support the use of these, so they have been left in on an as-is basis. In other words, if they work they work, if not then unfortunately we will not be able to deploy resources to fix them.
Can I have pets?
No pets are allowed that may cause an allergic reaction to current or future tenants. This includes dogs, cats, hamsters or any kind of mammal. No pets that may cause anxiety to tenants, visitors or contractors are allowed, such as snakes or spiders. For any other type of pet please contact us to discuss.
Can I have a lock on my bedroom door?
It is our clear company policy not to allow locks on bedroom doors. Most of our properties are subject to HMO regulations, which may be extended to all rented properties in the near future. These regulations require a certain standard of safety, and it is our aim to extend this standard to all of our properties, whether licencable HMOs at present or not. These standards dictate that the only permissible lock is of the externally key-lockable type which has a thumb turn on the inside (internal draw latches are not permitted). Such thumb-turn locks require extensive modification to both the door and frame and both the advice of the local fire officer and our own fire risk assessments indicate that significant upgrades to the fire equipment in each house would also then be required. Furthermore the number of keys to administer in each property would be multiplied by up to sevenfold, which is a significant administrative overhead we cannot accommodate. In terms of security, in the event of a burglary, if the burglar has already gone to the extent of forcing entry to the premises then additional internal door locks will not present any additional deterrent, and will merely mean more damage is caused in the process. For any or all of these reasons locks are not permitted on any bedroom doors.
I need to leave the tenancy early. What do I do?
As per the Agreement you have signed, you and your guarantors remain liable for the rest of the year's rent (all of it if you are dropping out before taking up residency) until such time as a replacement is found, so you will need to put full effort into finding a new tenant as soon as possible. The later in the year you take action, the more difficult it will be to find a replacement. Please notify us immediately in writing (via email or letter) that you wish to leave the tenancy. You should continue to pay all rents due on time to avoid the legal consequences of falling into arrears.
We will advertise the space on our websites, however we strongly recommend you and the other tenants all take whatever steps are necessary to get the room let. We recommend the following:
It is imperative that all of the tenants make best efforts to find a replacement as you are all liable for any defaults, although it remains the person leaving's primary responsibility. This is also important in terms of finding a suitable replacement as it is those who are remaining that will have to live with the new tenant.
We very strongly recommend that the smallest/most unmarketable room is not left for whoever is coming in, as this will make your job that much harder.
Once a replacement tenant is fully signed up you will receive back any overpayments of rent, minus a £30 administration fee. However you will remain liable for the rent until the date that the new tenant takes over the tenancy. When you have found a replacement, please notify us immediately so we can get the paperwork drawn up.
With regards the deposit, this would be part of a group deposit that would have been lodged with the DPS and this cannot be retrieved alone. You will therefore have to wait until the end of the tenancy to receive your portion back. Please see the section below on deposits.
How do I move out and hand back keys?
The lead tenant (or another nominated tenant) must make an appointment to go through the inventory and hand back all keys at the end of the tenancy. This appointment must be set for after (or at the time) the last tenant leaves the property, between the hours of 10.00 am and 3.00 pm, Monday to Friday only, any day up until and including the last day of the tenancy, giving at least a week's notice. If you require an appointment on the last or penultimate day of the tenancy you should give at least a month's notice as these days are in high demand. If the last day of the tenancy is a Saturday or a Sunday we can accept appointments on that day. If your group fails to make an exit appointment then this will severely compromise your ability to contest any proposed dilapidations deductions. Any tenant returning keys individually must obtain a written receipt as proof that they have done so.
What do I do about utility bills?
Make sure the last tenant out of the property takes both gas and electricity meter readings. Then telephone the utility provider, give them the readings and ask for the account to be closed and final bill sent to whoever is handling the final payment.
What about the professional clean?
As per section 4, clause 12 of the contract, we will arrange a professional clean of the property to occur after the last tenant has left. The maximum cost of this will be £50 plus £50 per tenant, however if you leave the property in good condition the cost could be considerably less. Last year's average figure per tenant was £37. Note however that if any carpet shampoo cleaning is required this will be extra, and for those houses that needed it, last year's average figure was £22 per tenant. You can either pay for this directly, or you can ask for it to be deducted from your dilapidations deposit. Most tenants opt for the latter.
What happens if I leave stuff behind?
Please enusre you clear all rubbish from inside the property, such as under the stairs and in cupboards. Also ensure you take all of your belongings with you. Any items or rubbish left behind will be disposed of by a licenced waste carrier which will incur a charge. Please act responsibly and recycle as much as you can, taking any unwanted clothing to charity shops or to local clothes bins.
When do I get my deposit back?
Deposits are lodged as a group deposit, so if you exit early for any reason the deposit cannot be retrieved until after the tenancy has legally finished. After this date and all tenants have departed, the house will be inspected and assessed for damages over and above fair wear and tear. Any repairs will then be conducted, the professional clean performed, and any other remedial works completed. This typically takes around 2-4 weeks after the end of the tenancy, as we have to wait for all work to be completed and for the associated invoices to come in. The lead tenant will then be sent a list of proposed deductions. Negotiations will only be entered into with the lead tenant, and all other tenants should direct their queries through the lead tenant. Once agreement is reached, we will then apply to the Deposit Protection Scheme for the monies to be released. The lead tenant will need their authentication code in order to approve the submitted proposal. If the lead tenant does not have this code they will need to contact the Deposit Protection Scheme directly for guidance. Please note that, even though you are legally entitled to do so, there is not much point in submitting your own repayment proposals to the DPS (particularly for the full deposit) in advance of us providing the proposed list of deductions, as we will merely have to reject it and you'll still have to wait for our counter proposal in the same timescale.
If there are any serious arguments over deductions, this may delay proceedings considerably. However we find that we reach an amicable agreement with almost all of our tenants and therefore the above timescales typically apply. Theoretically, if the house is presented back to us in the same condition as it was presented to you at the beginning of the tenancy, with all outstanding bills and rent paid (including the professional clean) then the deposit will be returned in full. Note however most tenants opt to have the professional clean cost deducted from the deposit.
Someone else broke the window/door/sofa/whatever but it wasn't me. Will you still charge me via my deposit?
We cannot become involved in assigning (or de-assigning) blame for any incident that we did not directly witness. Therefore if someone in your house has broken something and nobody owns up to it, even if you are entirely sure that it wasn't you, we do not have the ability to arbitrate. Once the definitive list of deductions is agreed with the lead tenant, the total remaining funds are then released to the care of the lead tenant. We understand that the lead tenant logs onto the DPS portal and sends the money to each individual tenant from there. It is therefore up to you as tenants to come to a sensible agreement as to the fair disbursement of the deposit funds. The lead tenant has a legal obligation to act in a fair and balanced way when coming to a decision as to who is to blame for what, but this is not something we can become involved with. If you strongly disagree with the decision the lead tenant makes on your behalf, you would have to take it up with them and take whatever legal action you deem appropriate.
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