If you have not rented before, you may not be familiar with the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.
Here is a brief overview of what your landlord will expect of you, and what you can expect from your landlord.
Paying your rent
Rent payments are commonly made by bank transfer and landlord refunds will also be done by bank transfer or by cheque.
If you do not have a UK bank account it may be difficult to get the deposit refunded after you move out.
Do remember that there are a few important things to do as soon as you move in:
- Make an inventory. This will help protect your deposit
- Set up new accounts for gas, electricity and water and put them in your name(s). It is your responsibility, not the landlord’s. Take meter readings so you pay only for what you use
- Sort out your council tax. You must let the council know that you are a full-time student, otherwise they will send you a bill
- Check you have a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate to make sure you are safe from carbon monoxide poisoning
- Is your landlord using tenancy deposit protection? This is a legal requirement if your contract is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit and provide you with a certificate of confirmation
When your contract comes to an end and you move out there will be a few things to consider:
- remove all your belongings, and all furniture you have brought in yourself
- remove all rubbish and clean the property carefully
- close your accounts with all your utility companies (gas, electricity, water, phone, internet) as well as council tax. Take final readings of gas, electricity and water meters and request a final bill from the suppliers
- do a moving-out inventory
- return all keys to the landlord
- swap contact details with all other housemates. This is to protect you in case of overdue bills
- ensure your post will be sent to your new address, and set up redirection with Royal Mail
- talk to your landlord about returning your deposit and agree a deadline.
Common deposit deductions include cleaning costs, inventory checking, damage to the property and unpaid rent or utilities. If your deposit is protected by a tenancy deposit scheme you may need to raise a dispute if you can’t come to an agreement.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme has a useful video explaining how to take care of your deposit.
We recommend you take out insurance cover just if anything goes wrong.
Dealing with problems
Even in the nicest house, things can go wrong. Please remember that UAL offers access to a wide range of support services. Here in Accommodation Services we specialise in helping students deal with accommodation problems.
If you have not rented before, you may not be familiar with the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords. As a general rule, landlords have to do certain repairs, and tenants have to tell the landlord when something goes wrong.
Here is a list of problems students have come across:
- Maintenance problems: Your heating stops working. Or water is dripping from the ceiling. Or when you moved in the house was in good condition, but now you are getting damp and/or mouldy walls. Make sure that you heat and ventilate your home properly to avoid damp, and tell your landlord if mould begins to grow.
- Your landlord enters the property without notice: This should not happen. You are usually entitled to 24 hours’ notice before your landlord can enter.
- One person in a joint tenancy wants to move out early: This is your responsibility, not your landlord’s but you will need their cooperation. The best solution is to find a replacement tenant, and you must agree this with the landlord. You will need to change the tenancy agreement with an ‘Assignment of Tenancy’ document.
- All tenants want to leave the property early: This can only be done with your landlord’s permission. Often, you will need to find replacement tenants who are acceptable to them. You may also have a break clause in your contract allowing you to give notice, which will usually be 1 month. Check your contract for details.
- You have a pest infestation: If you find cockroaches, ants, mice, rats, bedbugs, moths etc. when you move in, inform your landlord immediately and seek advice!
- Your landlord has not returned your deposit after you leave: If your deposit is protected with a tenancy deposit scheme, you need to raise a dispute with the scheme. If your deposit is not protected you may need to take your landlord to court. See the ‘Moving out’ section for details of possible deductions, and contact us for advice.