Before You Rent A Student Property

You must consider many things including balancing your finances with finding time to study, attending lectures, having a good social life and finding the right property. We are sure it is going to be an exciting time for you when choosing your first home and taking on the responsibility to look after yourself. It’s important that you plan ahead as early as possible when dealing with the University and once you have a chosen place you should be looking for a property immediately.

It is important that you know where you want to live and we try to include with all our descriptions details of everything that you will need. Some students decide to live in Halls of Residence for the first year and then thereafter to have their own flat or student accommodation whilst they are at University. We are here to help you find a suitable property and arrange to rent it.

What Should You Be Looking For When Trying To Find A Student House?

What is the first thing that you need to decide on? We would suspect that you need to decide who you are going to live with and how many there are of you. We know that students love to live in their various groups and we have lots of properties with varying amounts of bedrooms.

An important factor you need to consider is location, including the transport links to get to and back from Uni, and into town of course. We always put as much detail into our property descriptions as possible for you on this.

Do you want to know about renting student property? You can talk to your universities residential service, alternatively you should speak to us. Our team of student letting agents have been helping students find the perfect accommodation for the last 15 years; we will be able to provide you with a selection of properties that are available to rent. You can set up viewings for those you believe may offer what you are looking for.

We know it is a daunting prospect looking for your first house or flat to live in so talk to us on what your criteria is.

How Can Student Holmes Help You With Your Decision?

Student Homes is committed to ensuring that students find quality houses owned by reputable landlords. We understand that for some students not having lived away from home before; the importance of living in a safe environment and securing good quality accommodation is paramount.

We work closely with all the local University and Educational establishments as well as Reading Borough Council to ensure that we meet all the necessary requirements in order to offer the highest of standards.

We have a wide range of properties in the right locations suitable for individuals and groups. If you are unfamiliar with Reading and its surrounding areas, our representatives will be happy to advise you about Reading Berkshire and all it has to offer. To make an appointment for viewings contact us by telephone during opening hours or email info@studentholmes.net

Please see the frequently asked question below.



When do you find student accommodation for the next academic year?

Student accommodation for next academic year will be made available during the autumn, i.e. between (Nov- Dec). Some students will even start making enquiries on the available spaces from October but it is from November when most of the queries trickle in. This is when we start listing bigger spaces particularly those properties above 3 bedrooms. As for 1 and 2 bedroom student accommodation, we will normally start listing them, as early as February.



Will Student Houses in Reading be advertised at the same time?

3 or more bedroom houses that are available for the next academic year, are listed from the beginning of November. At this time students are allowed to book or make viewing arrangements for the properties. For relatively smaller properties with 1 or 2 bedrooms, the listings are made in February. Once they are on the list then you can always view and book them immediately. Generally speaking, we usually get info on available properties from landlords throughout the year thus we will avail any new ones as soon as we get them. In fact, our agency doesn’t withhold houses that are available to rent.



What’s is the Average Reading student accommodation? Are Other Bills Included In Student Housing?

Rent varies depending on the quality, size and physical location of Student Property Reading. That said, the average rent for a reading student is £475 monthly, per student. Even so, this figure can be as low as £375 or as high as £550 depending on the locality, size, and standards. Other household bills are often not included in the rent but we can offer a full package for students who don’t prefer separate bills. For more information on this, feel free to contact us.



Who is a Guarantor? Why Do Student Tenants Need a Guarantor?

A student guarantor is a person who vouches to pay the student rent in case he/she fails to do so. Unlike salaried tenancies in the UK who provide employer reference or credit check, student tenants don’t enjoy these benefits. For this reason, students will need to be guaranteed by their parents or guardians. We request that guarantors indicated be UK residents, UK homeowners, and over the age of 25. For the tenancy agreement, guarantors are supposed to provide their copies of original identification documents and sign the required paperwork.



What’s an agency fee and why do I have to pay one?

An agency fee is the money you pay to temporarily take the property off the listings before you can sign the tenancy agreement. Once you pay the fee, we will discontinue further marketing thus your house will no longer be viewed by other interested clients. You will be required to pay an agency fee of £100.00 upon which you will be given the tenancy agreement paperwork to make things official.



I’m a single student looking for a room in a shared student house - can you help me?

We recommend that you visit the student forum on our website to find a solution to your case. On the platform, you will be able to interact and meet other students looking for a shared student house. For instance, you will find students looking for a new roommate perhaps because a roommate left or because they want to cut on costs etc. Once you interact and find the perfect fit, you will be required to come in as a whole group and sign a tenancy agreement.



What’s the difference between a ‘managed’ and a ‘let-only’ tenancy?

A managed student property is one where we are contracted and instructed by the management of the property to deal with everything pertaining that property. In this scenario, students deal with us directly on all matters rent, maintenance, security and any other general issues.

A let only tenancy, on the other hand, is where the management requests us to offer the let in services only. In other words, they manage the property on their own and our role is to only find them the best clients. In this type of arrangement, we will give you the necessary information related to the management when you sign the tenancy agreement



Legal Information

What am I actually signing for as part of a student tenancy agreement?

The student tenancy agreement is a binding agreement between you and the management of the property. It is an approval to occupy the property plus it details the requirements and expectations during your stay. For example, it sets out the tenants’ responsibility in terms of paying rent, maintenance and bills among others. Given that all tenants sign one document with the landlord, it means that the document binds all of them to the guidelines. All tenants are thus expected to stick to the rules detailed in tenancy agreement during their stay in a particular property.



Are there any legal responsibilities of a student tenant? What does 'living in a tenant-like manner' Mean?

The landlord is responsible for the proper functioning of the amenities in the house. He or she is also accountable for the proper condition of the house i.e ensuring it is fit to live in. The landlord is in charge of safety, heating, hot water, lights, fire and electrical safety and sanitation, and sewerage.



What is an 'HMO' Property? What is Mandatory Licensing and Additional Licensing?

HMO stands for House in Multiple occupancy. It is a term that refers to properties where three or more unrelated tenants live while sharing a toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

HMO licensing is a process in which the UK government regulates HMO properties to enhance occupant’s safety and living standards. The housing laws lay down fire safety requirements and standards relating to facilities. It also sets maximum occupancy limits, the spatial requirements plus it ensures that management levels are up to the required standards. Mandatory Licensing requires that every property housing five or more tenants be given an HMO license.



What if one tenant pulls out after signing a tenancy agreement?

If a tenant wishes to pull out of an ongoing agreement, he or she is expected to pay the rent until a new occupant is found and a new agreement signed. Once the new agreement involving all parties has been struck, the departing tenant is not bound to the agency anymore. All tenancy responsibilities will be assigned to the new occupant.



What’s an inventory, and do I need one?

An inventory is a document detailing itemized contents in a property and its state. It allows both the letting agent and the landlord to keep tabs of the state of each item inside a property as tenants move in and out. An inventory basically protects you from incurring any costs on damages in a property that you are not responsible for. You not only need an inventory, but it is also important to ensure that it is accurate from the beginning of your tenancy.



Can I add Items to my tenancy inventory?

We allow inventory modification within the first four weeks of moving into a property. During this time, you can assess the wear and tear levels in the house and amend the inventory to reflect the state of the house. Remember, this document will be used to judge any damages you are liable for during your stay- it should be very accurate. Past the grace period, it becomes a legally binding document and it will be used for future references. However, we will continually take note of any changes in the property during your tenancy.



Money

What happens if you miss a rent payment?

It is your responsibility as a tenant to pay rent at the stipulated time. However, if you fail to pay rent within the agreed time, our finance department will take note of the arrears and the time delay. As per our rules, late rent payments attract additional charges to your account. Depending on the situation, we might even be required to call your guarantor to honor the guarantor agreement and pay the rent arrears for you.



Who pays for the bills?

Different tenants have different rules when it comes to paying bills. Unless otherwise agreed, all tenants are required to meet all utility costs including things like TV licenses. If you are a full time student, then you will be exempted from paying council tax. That said, a letting agent and the council will need to see a council tax exemption from your university-it is issued by respective universities at the beginning of every term.



How much will my bills be in a House?

Bill costs will tend to vary from one household to another depending on the consumption and usage of basic amenities. In general, we advise students to budget for at least £15 per person per utility per month. That’s at least £15 for gas, £15 for electricity and £15 for water and so on – per person.



How much is council tax?

Council tax will depend on if you are a full-time or a part time student. Full time students are relieved from paying council tax as long as they get the exemption letter from their respective universities. The copy of the exemption letter must be shown to the council before you can be exempted from this.



How many TV licenses will we need?

If you love watching live shows from your TV or computer, then you will need a TV license but if your only play stored content from devices like DVDS then you won’t need one. You will only be required to get one TV license if you are in a joint tenancy agreement that covers the whole property.



What is a tenancy deposit, and why do I need to pay one?

A tenancy deposit is a down payment that serves as a security to the landlord that the rent will be paid and other responsibilities will be adhered to during the tenancy period. This money is paid back in full at the end of the agreement, but upon confirmation that the house is in good condition.

Landlords and letting agents can only spend your deposit money on mutual consent with you. For example, if you leave the house in need of some repairs, then you can consent that a certain amount of money is used to cater for that. Otherwise, all tenant deposits are protected with the government-regulated deposit protection services.



How much will my tenancy deposit be?

Tenancy deposit amounts differ from property to property, but they are often equal or slightly higher than a month’s rent. A letting agent will be able to give you a quote of the deposit amount you are required to pay for the property you would like to rent.



Who keeps the tenancy deposit money? What is ‘deposit protection’?

By law, landlords are required to register tenants deposit in any of three approved schemes i.e The Deposit Protection Service (DPS), My Deposits, or The Dispute Service (TDS). These schemes are aimed at protecting the rights of both the tenant and the landlord particularly if there is a dispute. For example, the Deposit protection set up in 2007 ensures that no landlord or agency deducts tenant’s money without their consent. In case, a landlord or a letting agent wants to make deductions, then they must show that the tenant is liable for what the amount is supposed to cover.



How can I pay my deposit money?

All deposits must be in the form “cleared funds”-they can be withdrawn or be used in financial transactions. This is to say that cheques aren’t accepted as a form of payment but we do accept cash or debit card payments.



Who will decide if there are to be deductions from my deposit? Why might there be a deduction, and what do I do if I don’t agree?

Deductions to your deposit will only be done in a consensual way and it can only be claimed with reference to your inventory agreement. For example, deposit deduction can be made if there are wear and tear that can be linked directly to your stay in the premise.



What happens when my deposit goes into dispute?

If there is a dispute with the deposit, then independent adjudicators from the deposits scheme will be tasked with resolving the case. They will be able to make a fair ruling on who is to receive the disputed amount, based on the evidence provided by the landlord/agent and tenant(s). Some of the key evidence that can be presented are photographic images before and after occupation, the signed inventory before occupation etc.



When will my deposit be returned?

Deposits are availed to tenant’s accounts at the end of the tenancy agreement. However, the money is payable once we confirm that the council tax and utility bills are paid up to the end of your tenancy. Full time students are exempted from paying council tax but they must provide an exemption certificate issued by their university.



Can I add Items to my tenancy inventory?

We allow inventory modification within the first four weeks of moving into a property. During this time, you can assess the wear and tear levels in the house and amend the inventory to reflect the state of the house. Remember, this document will be used to judge any damages you are liable for during your stay- it should be very accurate. Past the grace period, it becomes a legally binding document and it will be used for future references.  However, we will continually take note of any changes in the property during your tenancy.



Maintenance

What property maintenance are tenants responsible for?

Tenants are responsible for doing minor maintenance in the house they occupy. In case there is a bigger issue, they are required to report it and get it sorted promptly. Tenants’ maintenance responsibilities are set down in law to include but not limited to:

• Changing damaged lightbulbs
• Ensuring proper recycling, garbage disposal, and a tidy environment
• Unclogging any clogged toilets
• Keeping an eye on condensation levels to reduces chances of mold build-up.
• Heating the property during the winter avoid frozen pipes;
• Topping up boiler pressure.



What do I do if I have a maintenance issue

All maintenance issues are supposed to be channeled to respective property managers depending on the type of tenancy. For let only tenancies, your landlord is responsible for maintenance. If it is a managed tenancy, then you can contact us for matters maintenance.