What is the difference between a Fully Managed property & a Let Only property?

A Fully Managed property means that the landlord has asked for us to manage all aspects of the property. Therefore, not only do we find and reference tenant/s, but we also lodge the deposit on behalf of the landlord and deal with all maintenance and queries the tenant/s may have throughout the tenancy. We also deal with the deposit return on behalf of the landlord at the end of the term, although any proposed deductions are not necessarily determined by us and deposits are always protected by a tenancy deposit scheme.

A Let Only property means the landlord has asked us to find tenants for the property. Our responsibility is to find tenants, ensure sufficient referencing is carried out and release keys. From the day the tenant moves in, the tenant will need to contact the landlord with any queries or maintenance and the landlord will deal with the deposit return at the end of the term.

Where is my deposit lodged?

If the property is Fully Managed the deposit will be lodged with ‘My Deposits’, the tenancy deposit scheme. Tenants will be given a copy of the Deposit Protection Certificate to sign once the deposit has been lodged and all necessary details are on this certificate. Tenants will also be given a copy of the Prescribed Information and scheme leaflet that accompany the Deposit Protection Certificate. All deposits are lodged in a non-interest bearing account.

If the property is Let Only, it is your landlords responsibility to protect your deposit. All Let only landlords are fully aware of this.

How long/short can a Tenancy be?

Most student tenancies run for 11 months. However, sometimes it can be a 10 month Tenancy and sometimes a 12 month tenancy depending on the landlord’s situation. This will be agreed with the tenants before signing the tenancy agreement.

Residential Tenancies can either run for 6 or 12 months. This will be agreed by both tenant and landlord before the signing of the tenancy agreement.

If I agree to be a guarantor, does this mean I am only guarantor for my son/daughter?

All tenants and guarantors are jointly and severally liable on a proposed tenancy. The tenancy agreement that we use is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, which by nature is joint and several. There is nothing that can be done to alter its status when a property is let as one unit to either a family, a couple, working sharers or students. Each tenant that requires a guarantor will need the guarantor to prove their ability to act in this capacity, which will require a minimum income of 3 x the value of the rent they propose to support. We adopt this method because a guarantor acting for a person who is part of a joint and severally liable tenancy automatically becomes the same by default (ie. the guarantors are also jointly and severally liable). If the landlord were to offer individual contracts, the status of the letting would change entirely, with each room becoming a private dwelling, with different regulations, locks on doors and individual TV licenses etc.

I can’t be a guarantor as I do not wish to sign the Deed of Guarantee, what are my other options?

Should you not wish to sign, we can offer you the option of paying the full terms rent in advance plus 3 months’ deposit. The additional 2 month’s deposit is returned to the tenant separately, with the 1 month’s deposit being included in the total deposit which would be returned at the end of the tenancy less any relevant deductions for damages or losses. However, this is subject to the landlord’s agreement.

Are any bills included in the rent?

Unless specifically stated otherwise, no utilities are included in the rental price. Tenants will be responsible for paying their electricity and gas bills and water and sewerage bills. Before the tenants move in, meter readings will be taken and all utility companies will be informed. Students are exempt from paying Council Tax and will receive an exemption certificate from the university, which they will need to show the council to avoid paying Council Tax.

What happens if I want to leave part way through my tenancy?

Once a tenancy has started the tenants are legally bound into the agreement. The only way for a tenant to be released from the tenancy agreement would be if the tenant/s found someone to take their room to continue on for the duration of the term. It is ultimately their responsibility to find a replacement but if anyone comes into the office looking for a room we are happy to pass on their contact number as a potential tenant if they are also happy with this.

Once a replacement is found, the new person must come into the office to pay a £204 reservation fee and complete the application form as you would as a new tenant. They would need to sign a new tenancy agreement and also a declaration which will document that they are taking on the property as viewed and accept the condition it is in.

While processing the application form and obtaining guarantor paperwork the other tenants of the house must also sign the new tenancy agreement.

When the old tenant leaves the property they are to return their key to us, which we will photocopy for them to sign back in. Once we have completed the application of the new tenant and received the guarantor paperwork, together with their first month’s rent and deposit, which must be cleared funds in our account, the replacement tenant can come into the office to sign for their key and move in to the property.

All tenants must have signed the new tenancy agreement before we release this key. The deposit we hold for the vacating tenant cannot be released unless we have received the signed declaration from the new tenant.

Is there a charge to be released from a current student tenancy?

Yes. There is a charge for the new tenancy agreement to be drawn up - £77 + VAT = £92. 40, Tenancy Deposit Admin Fee - £50 + VAT = £60. 00, Total = £152. 40.
This amount will be deducted from the deposit we hold. (This only applies to fully managed properties).

What is a Section 21 notice?

This is the notice a landlord can give to a tenant to regain possession of a property that has an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). The landlord is able to issue the Section 21 notice at any time during the fixed tenancy or during the periodic tenancy. A 'Section 21 Notice to Quit', so called because it operates under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

Does the landlord/letting agent have to provide an inventory?

The simple answer is no they do not. However, should a claim against the deposit arise it would be difficult for the landlord or agent to justify a claim. Therefore, the tenant can state that the property or items within the property were in a certain condition at the start and end of the tenancy and there would be no opportunity to rebut later. It is therefore sensible to incur the cost of having a detailed check in and check out report completed on a property.

All of our fully managed properties have an inventory carried out by an independent inventory company at the start of a tenancy and a check out report carried out at the end of a tenancy. In most cases the same company will carry out both the inventory and check out reports. We will always and try provide you with a copy of this inventory on or before the day of move in, although in some cases this may not be possible.

Will we be provided with a Gas Safety Certificate before we move in?

A copy of the most recent Gas Safety Certificate will be provided within your move in pack.

Does the landlord have Electrical Safety Checks carried out before we move in?

This is not a legal requirement for most of our properties and these will only be carried out by those landlords that choose to do so.

How do I receive my deposit back at the end of the tenancy?

At the end of your tenancy a check out report will be produced by an independent inventory company. This will highlight any changes in the condition of the property in comparison to the inventory that was carried out before you moved in. Based on this, the landlord may wish to carry out works to return the property back to the condition you received it in and therefore may propose deductions to be made from your deposit. You will receive a pack explaining any proposed deductions along with invoices for any works carried out. You then have the right to agree with or dispute these deductions. Your deposit money Is protected by a tenancy deposit scheme and should you wish to dispute these deductions the tenancy deposit scheme will determine the amount to be deducted – their decision is final. There is no timescale in which your deposit needs to be returned by but you do need to raise a dispute with the tenancy deposit scheme within 90 days of the end of your tenancy.

Can I move my belongings into the property during the summer when the property is empty?

Your belongings can only be stored in the property within the start date and end date of your tenancy agreement. In some cases the landlord may grant permission for belongings to be stored in the property a few days in advance of the tenancy starting.

Can I have locks fitted to my bedroom door?

Under no circumstances should you have locks fitted to your bedroom door without permission from your landlord as this may cause damage to the door or frame and you will be liable for the cost of putting right this damage. In most cases, if your property does not have locks on the individual bedroom doors this is a decision the landlord has already made and permission will not be granted.

Do I need to have my own house insurance?

The landlord will have an insurance policy to cover the building. We would recommend that you have an insurance policy to cover yourself against accidental damage, theft and anything else that may happen within the property, but this is optional.

What happens at the end of the tenancy?

At the end of a tenancy you need to return your keys to our designated office. Should keys not be returned or be lost you may be liable for the cost of getting additional keys cut or a lock change and additional key cutting. Posting keys or dropping them through our letter box is not recommended. Should your move out day fall on a Sunday, when our offices are closed, we would be happy to meet you to do a key handover rather than you drop them through the letter box. After move out a check out report will be carried out and any proposed deductions from your deposit monies calculated.

Where do I collect my keys from?

You will be notified in advance of where to collect keys from. In the case of fully managed properties we would normally hold keys in our designated office and you will need to collect them from this office. With properties that are not fully managed the landlord may choose to meet you at the property and we will notify you accordingly.

Why do I have to pay for a check out?

An inventory is carried out at the start of your tenancy and a check out is carried out at the end of your tenancy. These documents are required by the tenancy deposit scheme when assessing any dispute in order to allow a fair decision to be made about any changes in the property during your tenancy, and are strongly recommended to protect both yourself and the landlord. As it equally protects you both the landlord pays for the inventory and the tenant pays for the check out.

Who should I call if I have an emergency out of office hours?

We would advise you to contact the following in the case of an emergency:

Fire / Accidents / – 999
Gas – Transco – 0870 6081524
Electric - MPAS – 0845 0262554
Water – Leakline – 0800 5878979 / Other water emergencies – 01202 590059

Does our house have wi-fi? Is there an existing phone line ? Can you tell us if there is an existing telephone number and broadband provider at the property ?

You will need to arrange with your own chosen provider to have a telephone line / broadband installed. You may be able to arrange for this to be set up in advance to allow for the earliest possible installation once your tenancy commences. It will, however, be necessary for you to seek permission for this installation, and in writing from your Landlord / Agent before any works / installation can be carried out. Most Landlords agree to these requests, although some Landlords will ask that the equipment already installed continues to be used, ie. by the same provider. Some Landlords may agree but request that all equipment is removed from the property before the end of your tenancy contract and that any holes made in walls / skirting to enable the installation are made good and redecorated to a professional standard, otherwise costs will be incurred to remedy this damage and charges passed onto tenants.

Am I allowed a lock on my bedroom door?

If you do not have locks already, then no. The majority of Landlords to not allow locks to be put on bedroom doors for numerous reasons, including....

  1. These are family/shared homes that are let as a whole and not on an individual room basis, and we would hope that the people you choose to live with are all trustworthy.
  2. From a fire safety perspective, a Landlord would not want any restrictions that would prevent you from leaving the property quickly and safely in an emergency situation.
  3. Tenants have been known to lock themselves out of rooms leaving heaters/hair straighteners plugged in and turned on, creating a fire hazard.
  4. Once a lock is installed on a door, the room becomes an individual dwelling which has implications for both your TV licence and council tax responsibility for the Landlord during void periods.
  5. Properties are let “as seen” and any request should be made to the agent / landlord before placing a reservation fee. The Landlord has every right for the reasons given not to agree to this request.