Issuu on Google+


06 Messages Looking

09 Introduction/New To Lincoln 10 Myths & Facts About Student Accommodation 11 Landlords, Agencies & Properties 12 Tenancy Agreements 12 Fees & Deposits 14 Viewing Checklist

Moving In

19 Inventory & Problems Moving In 20 Bills & Utilities 21 Refuse & Recycling 22 Living in the Community 23 Vacating your Property for a Period of Time 24 Dealing with Landlord/Agent 25 Maintenance & Repairs 26 Living with Housemates 27 Moving In Checklist

Leaving

29 Cleaning 30 Clearing Out 32 Inventory / Sorting Bills & Mail 33 Getting Deposit Back 34 Moving Out Checklist

35 Housing Jargon 37 Contact List


Messages from Residential Services Manager & Vice - President Welfare & Community The University Residential Services Team welcome the opportunity to contribute to this information resource and continue to work in partnership with our Students’ Union Team. Securing and confirming accommodation at various stages of a student’s progress through university is generally uneventful in terms of accommodation, however, on occasions when a problem is experienced, it can have a significant effect on day to day life. This advisory publication, offers many levels of information to help you plan accommodation choices, understand what you should be looking for and checking before accepting an accommodation agreement and how to manage both the property and yourselves during occupation. Supporting students during their time at university is a ‘Prime Objective’ for many university departments and the Students’ Union, however, it does need to be recognised that a great deal of your time will be spent in your accommodation and the close working relationship of the University Residential Team

and Advice Service and the Students’ Union is part of ensuring that, should you experience any challenges in terms of accommodation, there are points of contact and information resources available to help you manage any such occasions. With our colleagues within the Students’ Union, we would want to make sure you are aware of ‘Best Practice advice’ and where to seek support on any matter relating to accommodation. Please keep a note of where to find this helpful and useful resource which should make the mystery which is Student Accommodation a little clearer for all. Again we would like to thank our colleagues within the Students’ Union for offering the opportunity to collaborate in this project.

Michael Ball Residential Services Manager, University of Lincoln


Coming to university is an exciting time in everyone’s life. The expectations are high and yet most people are anxious as well most students will be living away from home for the first time and it is likely to be the first experience renting in the private sector too. I would highly recommend getting to know your neighbours if you’re living in a residential area - it means you can more easily borrow an iron or a few tea bags in those emergency situations, plus your neighbours will appreciate knowing who is next door. You will have a lot of great memories to look back on, but there are a number of things to watch out for. As a student I remember having many frustrations and challenges in the properties I lived in. I didn’t always know where to get help. With this housing book, I hope to provide all the information you will need, so that you don’t feel stuck or at a loss. Whether you need tips on what to look for in a good house, or whether you’re concerned about getting your deposit back, keep this book close to hand because undoubtedly it will come in useful. Do remember that there is no shortage of suitable accommodation in Lincoln, don’t rush off to sign a legally binding contract too early - wait until our annual Housing Fayre on 15th January 2014, where we will have a large number of agencies and private landlords promoting safe and suitable student accommodation. If you do find yourself facing an issue you can’t overcome, remember that your Students’ Union is here to support you. Don’t leave problems to fester over time - raise the issue early and it will be easier to resolve!

Brian Alcorn Vice President Welfare & Community


Looking Finding and securing a property doesn’t need to be daunting; lots of information can be found in this section.

New to Lincoln?

Living in a private accommodation off campus is a big commitment. There are many things to take care of before you take this step. All those myths about having to get accommodation early and the actual facts are presented on the next pages.

When you first come to Lincoln, you are likely to live in halls of residents on campus. If you are considering living in an off campus accommodation, you should book a short stay in a guest house. This will allow you sufficient time to view suitable places to live when your studies start and you can also become familiar with the neighbourhood.

Decisions about your accommodation and who you live with is something not to be rushed into. You will truly get to know someone once you have lived with them. Get to know each other before you move in together, share your habits and hobbies and get to know each personality to avoid surprises later. Sometimes, best friends don’t make the best house mates.

Information about places to stay can be found under www.stayinlincoln.co.uk It is not advisable to try and rent long term accommodation unseen over the internet. Don’t send any money in advance to any landlord or agent until you are sure that they are who they say they are.

If in any doubt, please seek advice from people on the contacts list on page 37.

How to find a house mate?

- People you already live with or peers from your course/ social life - Students’ Union Housing Fayre - Students’ Union Facebook page facebook.com/lincolnsu - Students forums and adverts - Make sure you meet people and spend time with them before your decide to live together.

09


Myths & Facts About Student Accommodation Myth There isn’t enough housing

Fact It is usually quite the opposite.

available in Lincoln to accommodate all students.

The more expensive properties go first (it doesn’t always mean better) and landlords won’t put their prices up as the year goes on. Landlords often reduce the rent later in the year in order to gain tenants.

Fact The University increases their

accommodation constantly and there is a large supply of private sector housing available in Lincoln which suits student’s needs.

Myth All good houses will be gone before Christmas.

Myth I have to get my housing

Fact There are good quality student

arranged for next year before Christmas.

houses in Lincoln available throughout the year.

Fact In order to make an informed

decision, please wait until the Students’ Union Housing Fayre in January. You can meet different agencies and private landlords, which have lots of properties available. Only accredited landlords/ agents are allowed to attend. Take your time to make the right choice and don’t rush.

Why wait until January?

Fact There are loads of properties

- The annual Students’ Union Housing Fayre is organised in January. You can meet accredited letting agencies, landlords and other organisations and see their offers or arrange viewings. We will provide you with all the information you need before you go out and rent.

Myth All affordable housing will be

- The results of the ‘Rate your Landlord’ survey will be released and give you a indication of the best rated landlords in Lincoln.

Myth I’ll live far away from campus, if I don’t get housing sorted quick.

within walking distance of the University which are still available right up until September. gone and landlords raise their rent after Christmas.

10


What is the Difference Between Landlords & Agencies?

Self-contained flat/ house

Landlords You may live in a property

Usually has one or two bedrooms with its own kitchen and bathroom. You don’t have to share the facilities. It is preferred by small families, couples or those who prefer a quieter lifestyle. It is rare to find and more expensive than the other options.

which is directly rented to you by the landlord, who owns the property. They often manage the house themselves, including repairs in and around the house. Tenants usually deal with them directly.

Letting agent The agreement varies,

Partnership Halls (private sector large developments)

but usually the letting agent advertises and manages the property on behalf of the landlord. The landlord usually pays the letting agent a fee or percentage of the monthly rent for providing the service, though sometimes the agent simply deals with the tenancy. The letting agent is the direct contact to the tenant, all communications and necessary repairs go through him. Letting agents will often operate under the umbrella of an estate agent. Be aware not all letting agents offer student lettings; some just concentrate on working professionals and families.

Privately owned development that will accommodate large amounts of students like Junxion, Brayford Quay, Pavilions, Hayes Wharf and Park Court. The property is usually divided in flats of 4 to 6 students, which will be rented to individual students (often with en-suite). The kitchen, bathroom and living space are part of shared facilities.

Bedsits A bedsit is a room with some

form of self-contained amenity, usually a small kitchen with separate washing facility. Bathroom and toilets are shared with others.

Types of properties

There are many different types of properties to choose from. Here are the most common summarised.

Studio A studio is self-contained and

the living areas including kitchen, lounge and bedroom in one space.

Shared house/ flat This is the

Lodging (room in owner’s home) House rules can vary

most used and cheapest type of student accommodation. This includes renting a room in a house and sharing the kitchen., lounge (if available) and sometimes bathroom with other students, though many en-suite options exist.

considerably, so it is best to find out from the owner how it works and what they would expect of you.

11


Tenancy Agreements

Ensure that you have read your tenancy agreement and fully understand all the clauses. Don’t sign a contract before you have read and understood it all.

The tenancy agreement protects both you and the landlord. One of the most important documents during your time renting, is your tenancy agreement, mostly an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). Here are some types, which you might come across :

Fees & Deposits

What is paid aside from the rent? Apart from the rent, you might be asked to pay a sum of money upfront when signing for a house. The table on the right will advise you on which is refundable and non-refundable.

Fixed-Term Tenancy This contract

has a specific start and end date. Usually, students rent on a 9 up to 11-month AST agreement. If you leave the property before the end of the contract, you are liable for the rent unless you find a replacement tenant.

Deposit Payments

There are three main tenancy protection schemes. Your landlord/ agent is obliged by law to put your deposit in one of these schemes within 14 days and provide you with ‘Prescribed Information’ about it.

Periodic/Rolling Tenancy This

These schemes are put in place to protect you and the landlord when it comes to returning of the deposit. How much of the deposit is returned must be agreed between both of you. If you cannot come to an agreement, a decision is made independently by the deposit scheme based on the given evidence. It is good to know that if your landlord/ agent fails to protect your deposit, he is required to give back 3 times the amount of the deposit to you..

refers to when you continue to rent the property after the end of the fixed-term tenancy or have a AST agreement with no end. Then you or your landlord can give notice to vacate (usually four weeks are required).

Joint Tenancy You and your

housemates have the same tenancy agreement with everyone’s names on it. Then you and your housemates (and/ or your guarantor) are ‘jointly and severally liable’ for money owed e.g. for damages on the property – even if you personally did not cause it or covering rent if a person leaves.

The tenancy deposit schemes: You can check if your deposit has been protected on these websites: - TDS (The Dispute Service) www.thedisputeservice.co.uk

Individual Tenancy You have a

separate individual contract with your landlord/ agent as do everyone else in the house. If one of the tenants leaves, you are not liable to cover their rent.

- DPS (Deposit Protection Service) www.depositprotection.com - MyDeposits www.mydeposits.co.uk 12


Always ask this question when paying a deposit: Is my deposit protected? The deposit schemes are a safe way to pay and protect your money by an independent third party. For more information about the schemes visit www.gov.uk/tenancy-depositprotection/overview

Refundable What is it? or nonrefundable?

Why?

Questions to ask?

Booking Fee/ Admin Fee

Usually non-refundable

Charged to cover the administrative costs of booking a room, renting a property or drawing on a lease

What services does the money pay for? Is this reasonable amount?

Referencing Fee

Covers the costs of a landlord or Usually non-refundable agent running a referencing check on an individual

Deposit

Refundable upon agreement of both parties at the end of tenancy

Fee paid to secure against damage to the property or rent arrears at the end of a tenancy (at which time deduction may be made and the balance returned)

Is my deposit protected?

Rent in Advance

Non-refundable (deducted from future rent payments)

Paid to secure a room at the time of booking

Is it reasonable to pay this? Are you paying this along other fees?

Non-refundable

Reduced level of rent paid to hold or ‘reserve’ a property for a student e.g. a student my pay a summer retainer over July and August, but their contract would not formally start on the property until September.

Will I be able to live/ store things in the property during this time?

Retainer

If there is an admin fee, is the referencing cost already covered there?

Are you being asked to pay another type of fee that isn’t on the list? Seek advice externally before you pay it! See our contact list on page 37.

13


The questions on the next page will allow you to compare up to four properties quickly and concisely.

Remember to take them along to all of your house viewings!

14


15


Property A

How much is the rent? Are any bills included? Is internet included? Does the internet service provider have a good connection speed? Is the TV license included? How much is the deposit? Which protection scheme is the deposit in? Can you easily get to and from University? Can you get easily get to and from a supermarket? Is the property secure? Are the doors and windows lockable? Does it have double glazing? Are there enough toilets for the number of people living there? Is there enough fridge/ freezer space? Are there enough showers and baths? Are you happy with the communal areas? Are kitchen utensils supplied? Is there a washing machine? 16

Property B

Property C

Property D


Property A

Have you seen the Gas Safety Certificate? (legal obligation, don’t sign without it) Have you seen the electrical safety certificate? (not mandatory, but good practice) Are there smoke detectors/ fire blankets/ fire extinguisher? (not always required) Is there a carbon monoxide alarm? (not mandatory, but good practice) Are there any signs of damp or mould? (If yes, you should discuss this with your landlord) Are you happy with the condition of the house? If not, do you have any agreed repairs in writing? Are you happy with arrangements for maintenance during your tenancy? Who will be your point of contact? Have you spoken to current tenants about their experience/ views? Is the local area well lit? Would you feel safe at night? Have you fully read the tenancy agreement and are you satisfied with it? Any other notes

17

Property B

Property C

Property D


Moving In

Problems When Moving In

Now you have chosen your property and are ready to move in. Here are some tips to make your new place your home.

It is an exciting time when you move into the new property, but sometimes things aren’t as you expect e.g. items are missing or not in the condition you have expected. If you notice any issues, contact your landlord/ agent and explain the problem calmly - in most cases it gets resolved quickly and easily. Make sure that you receive everything in writing (email or letter) or keep a log of any phone conversations. If issues aren’t resolved easily, make use of the contact list on page 37.

There are some things to do when moving into a new property.

Inventory

You should receive an inventory from your landlord/ agent. It lists in writing the condition of the property and it is used to track the condition of the property as well as the contents when moving out. It is your responsibility to mark any defects e.g. blue tack marks or stains on the carpet on the inventory list before you sign it and hand it back to your landlord/ agent. It will prevent you from being charged for previous damages. Take pictures and include dates on them just to be sure. You should also hand over those photos to the landlord/ agent. Ensure you have your own inventory list, it will ease things you when you move out. An Example is shown below -

Room Item

Condition Notes

Lounge

Carpet

Good

Burn Marks

Lounge

Sofa

Satisfactory

Small Stains

Lounge

Wallpaper

Excellent

3 Picture Hooks

Take pictures of anything wrong in the house with your inventory so you can prove that damage existed. I know people that have lost a lot of money from their deposit because they couldn’t prove that something was wrong. - John , Architecture, Year 3

19


Bills & Utilities

Here is a list of the main utilities, which might need contacting and setting up:

Beware of hidden costs, maybe the house looks good and is reasonably priced, but it doesn’t include gas, electricity and water bills? Will you need to pay for Internet or TV license? Small costs soon add up and you could be paying more than you thought. .

- Gas - Electricity - Phone line - Internet connection - TV licence - Water companies (keep in mind, some of them are covered in all-inclusive rental agreements)

Now you just have to figure out how you’ll be paying for the bills, so that everyone is comfortable with their contribution towards it. Best is that everyone sets sufficient money aside each month to cover the bills. Ensure that there is enough funding to settle the bills.

When you are viewing a house, ask the current residents how cold the house gets in the winter. Some houses have double glazing which makes the situation better. A house with very large rooms may be great in some respects but it can mean high heating bills or a difficulty in adequately getting the place warm.

‘’

- Barnaby, Biomedical Science, Year 3 On your moving in day, take a few minutes to get the meter reading and give the utility company a call - let them know you have moved in and the current reading.

Check the quality of the Internet before you sign a tenancy agreement. I know people who have had to pay for their own Internet provider because the one they were supplied with was terrible! - Sarah, Drama, Year 2

] 20


Refuse & Recycling Familiarise yourself with the bin collection dates for your area. You can find the bin collection calendar under www.lincoln.gov.uk. Usually, one week recycling (brown bin) is collected and the other week refuse (black bin). Bins should be put outside no later than 7.00am on the designated collection days and should be brought in again soon after collection.

You can introduce yourself to your neighbours and find out how it works in your area. The council should also provide you with a leaflet on recycling – put it up in your kitchen as a reminder for everyone. It is important to keep on top of your bins, to keep your property in good condition and also keep the neighbours happy.

Refuse Collection Days

West End: Friday High Street/ Sincil Bank: Wednesday Monks Road: Wednesday Uphill Lincoln: Thursday/ Friday

21


Living in the Community

Alert your neighbours of any noise – Let your neighbours

Housing is one of the most critical factors in ensuring that students can thrive both personally and academically, and as such, moving into a new home can be one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. It is also the starting point for all of the relationships students will build with their neighbours and the community as a whole.

know in advance if you invite friends around for a party, or plan something which is potentially disruptive for them. They might be appreciative if you ask for permission and agree on a noise level / end time – just ensure you stick to those. Remember that your neighbours will invariably have to get up for work the following day.

Get involved in your community – There are many

You are living in a community along with other residents from all walks of life and you should have consideration for your neighbours. Many residents may have been living in the same street for years unlike most students, so you must remember and respect that.

opportunities to get involved and feel part of the community, it also helps change the perceptions of students for the better. Go along to your local residents association, take part in community events or other volunteering opportunities e.g. Carholme Community Gala, litter picks, Brayford clean up etc.

Here are some tips for living in the community and being part of it:

More information about community volunteering can be found under www.lincolnsu.com/volunteering

Meet your neighbours

- Ensure to introduce yourself to the neighbours when you move in. It is good to get to know each other, so you can find help, if needed.

Remember that whilst living in the community you are representing the student population and the University.

22


Before Vacating your Property for a Long Period of Time

- Settle bills and sort out utilities Ensure you settle all

outstanding bills to avoid red letters or even threats of court action for unpaid bills when you arrive back. Save energy as well as money over the vacation period by turning off not used electrical supplies.

During the holiday season e.g. Christmas or Easter, most students head home for a few weeks.

Here is a short checklist of things to do before you leave:

- Set the heating lower Set your

heating to have low heat going through the house once or twice a day. This will prevent your pipes from freezing or bursting. As tenants in control of the heating system in the property, you are personally liable for any for any repairs. You can protect yourself by arranging insurance when you move into the property.

- Inform your landlord/ agent

and your neighbours that you are leaving It is important to tell your landlord that you’ll be leaving, so he will be aware that the property is vacant during this period. Ensure that your landlord has your current contact details, just in case. It is good to inform your neighbours as well as they’ll keep an eye on your property.

- Dispose of perishable foods

and put out the bins. If you are leaving for a longer period, you should dispose all your perishable food. You could take it with you or if items are unopened give them to homeless shelters or your neighbours. Don’t forget to defrost and clean out your fridge and empty all bins before you leave. If you put the bins out for collection while you are away, ask your neighbours to put the bins in again to keep the street looking tidy.

- Secure your property and

leave it in a clean condition. It is a great feeling to come back to a clean property, which hasn’t been burgled. Doublecheck if the property is secure before you leave - check if all doors (including your bedroom door) and windows are securely locked and no valuables are left visible from outside. This alone will help to prevent any potential burglars from attempting to break into your property.

23


Dealing with your Landlord or Agent Written communication is essential for the relationship between landlord and tenant. It is advisable to keep a good record of communication, and emails seem to be the most convenient way for all. Be polite, respectful and factual when dealing with your landlord/ agent whether it is it in person or writing. Try to avoid lengthy or too brief conversations. Always ask if they can put any actions in writing for you. The easiest way is to set up a folder for landlord communications in your mailbox and save both the emails you have sent and the ones which were sent to you. This gives you a record of what has happened and will help you if any issues arise. If you have any issues with your landlord/ agent and you can’t resolve them yourself, use the contact list on page 37 for support.

If you ever have a problem don’t procrastinate and let it get worse - sort it early!

- Duncan, International Business Management, Year 2

24


Maintenance & Repair You are obliged under the terms of your tenancy agreement to take good care of the property. Be aware that you are responsible for any additional damage on the property from failure to report a repair or breakage. Therefore you should report any breakages/ maintenance problems immediately to your landlord/ agent during office hours, so it can be dealt with speedily and avoid further damage. Most agents will provide a number for emergency out-of-hours issues.

Here is a list of target response times* Central heating failure within 48 hours during the winter and 72 hours all other times Burst Pipes within 24 hours Leaks, Drain and Toilet Blockages within 24 hours Electric Failure within 24 hours

Here are some tips Condensation – One of the most

Lock Replacements within 24 hours

common problems is condensation which appears as mould to walls and ceilings where warm air meets a cold area and surfaces become moist. Good ventilation and circulation (ensure all extractor fans are working correctly), an even temperature which isn’t too high (18 – 21 degrees) will help avoid condensation.

No Hot Water within 48 hours

Drains - A common cause of blocked

TV Aerial Problems within seven working days

Shower Failure within 48 hours Furniture Repair/Replacement within five working days Door Easing within five working days Resealing Baths and Showers within five working days

drains is food, fat and hair being washed down the sink. Put unwanted food in the bin and don’t pour fat down the sink or toilet. Remove any hair clogging the drain in the shower or bath.

Kitchen/Bathroom Repairs within seven working days Carpet Repairs within five working days *These are estimates taken from one Lincoln letting agent. Responses from others might vary.

Washing Machine – Always check

the suitability of items for the machine washing. Don’t overload the drum. Please check the filter on a regular basis as it is one of the most common causes for washing machine failure and can be remedied quite easily by cleaning the filter.

25


Living With Your Housemates Living with your housemates can lead to tensions between you all, often over things likes bills and other costs, cleanliness of the property, noise and other potential disagreements. Try to resolve that tension before they get out of control. Have regular chats, cook meals and spend time together and avoid isolation. If you can’t resolve the issue, get in touch with Brian Alcorn, Vice-President Welfare and Community at the Students’ Union for support.

I wish I’d known that just because someone is a good friend, it doesn’t make them a good housemate.

- Joshua, Forensic Science, Year 3

Get to know the people you will live with - are they noisy? Do they smoke? Also get to know the landlord and your neighbours who can help when things go wrong...

’‘

- Sean, Architecture, Masters

26

Walls don’t make friends, invest in a door stop! - Hal, Drama, Year 2


Inspect the property with your landlord/ agent

If there is a phone line you are responsible for contacting the telephone company to register new occupants

Ensure you have a copy of your tenancy agreement and contact details of your landlord

Complete a council tax exemption form

Get a copy of your Tenancy Deposit Scheme from your landlord

Get a TV license

Make sure you have a copy of your inventory and take some photos

Introduce yourself to your new neighbours

Take meter readings and contact utilities provider

Arrange insurance

27


Cleaning Make sure you check your tenancy agreement to see what it says about the landlord’s expectations regarding how the property needs to be left. Disagreements in this area could lead to you losing part or all of your deposit. Some landlords will expect the property to be left in a pristine condition ready for the next tenant, so leave it how you’d like to find it (even if it wasn’t like that when you moved in!) Others will accept a reasonably clean condition – just be clear on what this means as far as your landlord is concerned. Most landlords won’t argue with the odd bit of wear and tear, however this is often the cause of disputes. In the long run it’s probably best to just make things easy for yourself when the time comes to leave: keep it in good condition while you live there and give it a really good clean just before you leave; this should prevent you having any problems getting your deposit back. If you think that your property is in need of a professional clean, it’s best to sort it yourself before you leave – this will give you control of when the cleaning is done, to what standard, and how much you pay. Be sure to keep receipts and invoices as evidence that you’ve had cleaning done.

29


Clearing Out When clearing out the rented property, it is important to ensure you dispose of things properly. Don’t leave anything behind and don’t move more than you need to. The tips and information below will guide you on how best to do this.

Green Bins: Not all properties will have green bins. If you have one, use it for food waste, any plant cuttings, etc. Find rubbish collection dates for your postcode at: www.lincoln.gov.uk

Location

Recycling Containers for:

Students’ Union, Brayford Pool

Printer cartridges Mobile Phones

Grandstand, Carholme Road

Glass bottles/ shoes

Morrisons, Tritton Road

Clothing/ shoes/ glass bottles/ paper/ tins & cans/ printer cartridges/ batteries/ plastic bags

Tesco, Canwick Road

Clothing/ shoes/ glass bottles/ paper/ tins & cans/ printer cartridges/ batteries/ plastic bags

Paper – newspapers, magazines, telephone books, junk mail and cardboard

Tesco, Wragby Road

Clothing/ shoes/ glass bottles/ paper/ tins & cans/ printer cartridges/ batteries/ plastic bags

Metals – steel and aluminium food and drink cans and aluminium foil

Recycling Site, Great Northern Terrace

Books/ tapes & discs/ Clothing/ shoes/ glass bottles/ plastic bottles/ paper/ tins & cans/ printer cartridges/ batteries/ plastic bags/ hard plastics/ garden waste/ paper/ cardboard/ tetra pack cartons

Rubbish disposal is something which is easy to get right and will make your clearing out more organised and considerate of the environment. Different kinds of rubbish need to go in different colour bins, as detailed below:

Brown Bins: Glass – clear, brown, green and blue glass jars and bottles

Plastics – plastic bottles and other similar plastic containers

Black Bins: General waste and any unclean rubbish that would normally go into the brown bin

30


Being Sure you Have Everything you Need

Being Selective During your time at University you’ll no doubt gather a lot of extra stuff on top of the car-full you brought with you on your first day. Some of it will be really useful, some will be memories like photos and some will be new clothes – but some of it you just won’t need anymore. When you’re getting ready to leave a property, take a good look at all of your belongings and decide what things you have used a lot, what clothes you’ve hardly worn and what things you didn’t even know you had. There is no point taking loads of things with you to your next property that have hardly been used; take the essentials and donate things you don’t need. There are various places in Lincoln where clothes and other goods can be donated for charity . Some of our local charity shops are: Age UK, Barnado’s Shop, British Red Cross, Cats Protection, Nomad Trust, Oxfam Shop, RSPCA, Scope and St. Barnabas Hospice Shop.

There is always a bit of a panic when you’re packing your life into boxes to move out – not just ‘where am I going to put everything?’ but ‘have I packed all of my stuff away?’ too. To keep track of all your belongings and ensure you’ve got everything when you leave, it is a good idea to make an inventory of the items you have brought with you – particularly things which are expensive or personal.

31


Inventory When you moved in, you should have been given an inventory of the property – features, existing wear and tear or damage, items in it, etc. A month before the end of the tenancy it’s time to get the inventory back out and check over things. Go through it line by line and make sure every item meets the condition stated on the original list.

Sorting Bills/Mail Make sure you get all your bills paid before you move out; call the relevant utility companies, let them know you are leaving and provide any final meter readings on the day you actually leave. Settling bills is incredibly important as leaving any unpaid bills could affect your future credit rating.

It’s really important to be present when a date is agreed for your formal ‘checkout’ from the property so that there are no disagreements about the inventory and how the property was left. If you are there you can agree or disagree with anything that is discussed and this could save you being charged unfairly for anything. If you can’t be there, make sure you take lots of photos before you leave – it’s best to cover your back.

Contact Royal Mail to arrange redirection of any post and notify relevant organisations of your new address.  

32


Getting Your Deposit Back

You can get the undisputed amount back while one of the deposit protection services reviews the evidence. Simply tell your landlord that you don’t accept their proposal and you require your deposit to be passed to the deposit protection services. Some schemes have deadlines, so do this sooner rather than later. Alternatively contact the scheme yourself and submit a dispute case.

Everyone wants to get their whole deposit back – after all, they’re not usually very cheap. After leaving a property, your landlord should write to you if they want to make any deductions from the deposit.

Remember, your deposit is your money before it’s anyone else’s. Your landlord is responsible for making the case that they are entitled to make a deduction. Equally, you are responsible for making sure you leave the property in a good condition. The landlord-tenant relationship is a two-way-street so you should both be doing your bit.

Check in your tenancy agreement about when you can expect to get your deposit back. There will be an agreed time in which they need to complete the check-out, propose deductions to you and return your deposit. If the deductions are reasonable and you agree, you simply write or email them and agree to make the payments. The remainder of your deposit will then be returned.

If you are disputing your deposit, take a look at www.thedisputeservice.co.uk/ resources/files/A-guide-to-depositsdisputes-and-damages.pdf for a more detailed guide which covers all three deposit protection services.

If you don’t agree with the amount your landlord wants to deduct, don’t feel pressured to accept it. You can try and compromise with your landlord yourself but you can also have your case passed to the deposit protection service that will make a non-biased judgement on the suggested deductions.

If you need help regarding your deposit or submitting a dispute, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Alcorn, Vice-President Welfare & Community at your Students’ Union (see contact list on page 37).

33


Make sure your house/ flat is clean Take Photos Pay all rent up to date and all final bills Give your final meter readings to the utilities companies Remove everything that is yours from the property Dispose of all rubbish correctly Inspect the property with your landlord/ agent Inform all relevant people of forwarding address to post

34


Housing JargonBuster

Deposit: A sum of money agreed

between the parties and paid to the landlord by the tenant as security for the satisfactory completion of the tenancy.

Arrears: Money unpaid by a tenant in whole or in part after the due date specified in the tenancy agreement.

DPS (Deposit Protection Service):

Assignment: A transfer of tenancy

Guarantor Forms: It is common for landlords/ agents to ask for a guarantor form, this is normally a parent or guardian. The landlord will chase them for any unpaid rent or damage costs if they can’t get them through you and they are legally obliged to pay if you can’t.

One of the deposit protection schemes.

from a sole tenant to another person, which is a result of a request from the sole tenant to hand over their tenancy (‘assign it’)

AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy): Assured Shorthold

Tenancies give the tenant the right to occupy the property for a fixed period of time, provided that they keep to the terms of their Tenancy Agreement. At the end of the fixed period of time, the landlord or the tenant has the right to terminate the tenancy. Assured Shorthold Tenancies can be renewed for another fixed period of time if both parties agree to it.

Holding Deposit: The holding

Break Clause: A clause in a tenancy

agreement allowing either or both parties to follow a set procedure to break the agreement.

prior to the letting, detailing all fixtures, fittings and freestanding articles. This should incorporate the condition of the items.

Contractual Term: A fixed period of

Jointly and Severally: A legal

deposit shows good faith on the part of a prospective tenant enabling the landlord to take further action in the confident knowledge that the applicant is serious and fully committed to the property. It is not returnable if you withdraw from renting the property and does not have to be protected by a TDP service.

Inventory: An inventory is a list made

expression where two or more persons are held responsible under one tenancy. Each can be held responsible for the whole of the tenancy as well as their share.

time stated in a contract or agreement as being the time for which the contract will last.

Council Tax: The annual payment for

public services due from all householders to their council. Student occupied households can claim exemption from this tax. Advice and forms to claim exemptions are available from www. lincoln.gov.uk/student-discount-andexemptions/109985.article.

Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate: Commonly called the ‘Gas Certificate’, issued by a Corgi registered contractor. This is required by law.

Landlord:

The owner of the property which is lent to a tenant. 35


Tenancy Agreement: A legal

Lease: A document which grants

document outlining the terms and conditions of the tenancy. This is used to protect the rights of both the tenant and the landlord.

possession of a property for a fixed period of time and sets out the obligations of both parties, landlord and tenant, such as payment for rent, repairs and insurance. This may also be outlined in the tenancy agreement.

Tenant: Person occupying a property, normally subject to the terms of a lease or tenancy agreement agreed with the landlord.

Lessor: Person responsible for granting a lease – normally the landlord.

Term of Contract: Clause in a

Prescribed Information:

contract describing any stipulated rights or responsibilities.

Information the landlord must legally present you with regarding the tenancy deposit protection.

Termination: The ending of tenancy.

Resident Landlord: Where the

landlord occupies part of the dwelling as his main or principle home and lets the rest of it.

TDP (Tenancy Deposit Protection): Is the generic term for tenancy deposit schemes.

TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme): Is one of the deposit schemes.

Tenancy: This is the temporary

possession of a property by an individual or individuals, the details are described in the tenancy agreement or lease.

36


Contact List

Univeristy of Lincoln General Enquiries 01522 882 000

Here are the useful numbers. Get in touch!

Residents parking permits 01522 873 497

University of Lincoln Students’ Union

Noise and Nuisance Complaints 01522 873 249

reception@lincolnsu.com 01522 886 006 @lincolnsu facebook/lincolnsu

Anti-Social Behaviour Team 01522 873 434

Brian Alcorn, Vice- President Welfare & Community

National Grid (Gas Emergency) 0800 111 999

welfare@lincolnsu.com 01522 886 669 @ULSU_Welfare facebook.com/ulsu.welfare

University of Lincoln Student Support 01522 837 080

University of Lincoln Student Accommodation Finder

University’s Police Liaison Officer- PC 1089 Luke Casey

www.lincolnstudentpad.co.uk

luke.casey@lincs.pnn.police.uk 101 (Extension 5468)

Emergency Services 999 Lincolnshire Police 101 emergency)

Moorland Neighbourhood Office (South) 01522 689 986

(non-

University of Lincoln Accommodation Office

Abbey Neighbourhood Office (Central) 01522 541 470

Lincoln County Hospital

St Giles Neighbourhood Office (North) 01522 544 500

01522 886 051 01522 512 512

Anglian Water

City of Lincoln Council

08457 91 9 155 www.anglianwater.co.uk

01522 881 188

TV Licence www.tvlicensing.co.uk

Lincoln County Council

0300 7906131

01522 88 11 88

Electoral Registration

NHS Direct 111

01522 873 374 www.aboutmyvote.com

37



Housing Handbook 2013