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Landlord Handbook

studenthomes.london.ac.uk


Contact us Web: studenthomes.london.ac.uk Email: student.homes@london.ac.uk Tel: 0207 664 4836 Address: ULHS, 4th Floor Student Central, 2 Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY

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Contents

Introduction What is the Student Homes Scheme?

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Why Choose Student Homes?

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The Rent Guarantee Explained

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How it Works Our College Partners

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Direct Lets

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What Type of Properties are we Looking for?

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Furniture List

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Accreditation and Compliance

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Joining the Scheme Register Your Interest

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Checklist

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Tenancy Management Dedicated Property Manager

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Inventory/Tenancy Turnarounds/Renewals

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Repairs Schedule

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Support with Repairs

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Out of Hours Service

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Your Obligations

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Our Obligations

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Our Commitment to You

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Renewal Process

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3 Year Agreements

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FAQs

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Introduction

What is the Student Homes Scheme? The Student Homes scheme is an initiative introduced by the University of London, in which the University leases properties from private landlords to sublet to students attending fulltime courses at our Colleges and Institutions.

Our students get access to a portfolio of good-quality private sector accommodation, with the added benefit of Universitymanagement and no need for a personal guarantor.

The scheme has been running since September 2012 and has We offer landlords guaranteed proved popular with students, rent and a tenancy management landlords and our participating service. We return properties at the Colleges. As of September 2016 end of the lease in the same, good the Student Homes portfolio condition that we receive them, had reached 60 properties barring fair wear-and-tear. with a total of 255 bed spaces.

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Why Choose Student Homes?

The Rent Guarantee Explained

We initially offer 52 week contracts to our landlords and are likely to renew each year. Our tenancy agreements with our students are 51 weeks in length, which leaves a one week gap between tenancies each year. This allows time to plan any routine maintenance along with the end of tenancy clean. Once we have built up a relationship with a landlord, there is the potential for us to offer longer leases of up to 3 years. This will ensure even greater security for all parties.

The University and our participating Institutions want our student tenants to have access to accommodation without the need for a personal guarantor.

There will be no deposit disputes as we manage our student’s tenancies and Universities are exempt from the requirement to protect tenancy deposits via TDS, DPS or MyDeposits. Our end of tenancy inspections and detailed inventories enable us to deal with deposits quickly and fairly. In addition, remember that you will have guaranteed rent. Rent arrears and landlords needing to take their tenants to court to gain possession of the property have recently been on the increase.

It is common for students who don’t have access to a UK-based guarantor to be asked for 6-12 month’s rent in advance in order to secure private sector accommodation. This equates to a significant financial outlay, and is something which is simply not an option for large numbers of students. Within the Student Homes scheme, the majority of our properties are assigned to a particular college (i.e. Kings College, Goldsmiths, SOAS) and the rooms are reserved for students who attend that Institution. The College acts as guarantor for the student tenants. Student Homes also offer properties on a direct let basis to all University of London students. In these properties the University of London act as the students guarantor – find out more on page 7. The benefits of this are threefold: > Students can source accommodation without a personal guarantor > Colleges/Institutions know that their students who don’t have access to UK guarantors have access to goodquality housing > Landlords receive guaranteed rent for the full term of the lease

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How it Works Our College Partners

For the 2017/18 academic year there will be 7 Colleges participating in the Student Homes scheme. These consist of 6 federal University of London Colleges and 1 non-federal institution. Student Homes belong to University of London Housing Services (ULHS), a department of the University of London. The University of London is a federal University and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the UK. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University is recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education. It consists of 19 self-governing Colleges of outstanding reputation, together with a number of prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

Kings College London Founded in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington, Kings is the fourth oldest University in England. Kings has 5 campuses, with its main campus on the Strand, with over 28,000 students. As of 2015, King’s is ranked in the Top 7 UK universities in all the six major academic rankings of global universities. There are numerous notable alumni, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, physicist Peter Higgs and Poet John Keats.

SOAS SOAS, or the School of Oriental and African Studies was established in 1916 and is recognised as the leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and is ranked amongst the top universities in Britain. SOAS has two campuses in Bloomsbury; one at Russell Square and the other at Vernon Square. According to the QS World University Rankings, SOAS also has the 9th highest percentage of international students in the world at 43%. Notable alumni include Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Goldsmiths Originally founded in 1891, Goldsmiths became a constituent College of the University of London in 1904. Located in New Cross, South East London, Goldsmiths specialises in arts, design, humanities and social sciences. The university has a distinguished history of contributing to these fields. Its Department of Art is widely recognised as one of Britain’s most prestigious,

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producing the YBA’s art collective and over 20 Turner Prize nominees. Goldsmiths has approximately 8,000 students. Notable alumni include artist Damien Hirst, film director Steve McQueen and members of Indie Rock band Blur.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine LSHTM was founded by Sir Patrick Manson in 1899 and was granted its Royal Charter in 1924. The School is a world leader in the fields of public health and infectious diseases, ranking highly in both national and international league tables. LSHTM has approximately 1,200 students, all taking postgraduate courses. The main campus is located on Keppel Street, Bloomsbury. The School won the 2009 Gates Award for Global Health established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and received $1 million in prize money. The award recognises organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to improving global health.

Royal Academy of Music The Royal Academy of Music was founded in 1822 and is Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school. In 1999 it became a full constituent of the University of London. The Academy is located on Marylebone Road adjacent to Regent’s Park. The Academy attracts students from over 50 countries across the globe, with a total of approximately 750 students, most of whom are classical performers. Notable alumni include Elton John, John Barbirolli and Annie Lennox.

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City University Founded in 1894 as the Northampton Institute and became a university when City University was created by royal charter in 1966. City has its main campus in Islington, with additional campuses in the City of London, Holborn, Smithfield and Whitechapel. It is organised into seven schools, within which there are around 40 academic departments and centres, including the City University Department of Journalism, the Cass Business School and the Inns of Court School of Law. As of August 2016 City will become a constituent College of the University of London. Notable alumni include Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Iqbal.

London Contemporary Dance School London Contemporary Dance School is part of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. It was founded by Robin Howard in 1966 to train new dancers for his company, London Contemporary Dance Theatre. LCDS provides both undergraduate and postgraduate vocational training as well as a research programme in contemporary dance. In 1969 LCDS moved to its current location in Duke’s Road in Bloomsbury. Students of the School have gone on to accept contracts from a variety of prestigious dance companies including Adventure in Motion Picture, Random Dance Company, DV8, CandoCo, Diversions and the Rambert Dance Company at the Sadler’s Wells.


Direct Lets For our 2015/16 tenancies we piloted a slight variation on our Student Homes scheme model. Currently there are 7 Institutions participating in the scheme and ordinarily each property will be assigned to the students of one specific College. We wanted to be able to offer our Student Homes accommodation to a broader range of University of London students. By introducing a ‘Direct Let’ option we are able to offer our head lease properties to all students attending University of London Colleges and Institutions. The federation consists of 18 Colleges and 9 specialist Institutes with a community of over 170,000 students. Unlike our regular model, which involves a specific College acting as guarantor for their students, with our direct let option the University of London acts as guarantor for the student tenants. So there is still a rent guarantee in place for landlords.

What Type of Properties are we Looking for? We are looking for good-quality flats and houses located within London travel zones 1 and 2. A recent student housing survey we carried out confirmed that students want housing within a 30 minute door-to-door commute of their campus. Being within easy reach of their College is an important consideration for students in London. We need properties that can house a minimum of 2 students, with a preference for 3-6 bedroom properties. The reason for us not wanting studio flats and 1 bedroom apartments is that this type of accommodation is generally more expensive per bed space, and we want our Student Homes properties to be affordable for the majority of University of London students. There is also an abundance of studio/serviced apartment accommodation already on offer from private halls providers.

By offering direct lets, we will enable students from an assortment of Colleges to share accommodation together, encouraging a more diverse environment for them.

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Furniture List

Our Student Homes properties need to be fully-furnished. A list of the furniture we require is detailed below:

Bedrooms

Bathrooms

Kitchens

> Bed and mattress with mattress protector. You should provide a double or 3/4 bed where they will fit, singles should only be provided if a double or 3/4 bed isn’t an option. Mattresses should be clean and of good quality

> Bath and/or shower, depending on space

> Cooker (and extractor hood/extractor where necessary)

> Shower attachment (if no separate shower)

> Microwave

> Extractor fan: this should turn on with the light, and ideally run onto a 5 minute delay when the light is turned off

> Vacuum cleaner

> Desk, comfortable desk chair, study lamp > Wastepaper bin > Bookshelves & a good size wall mounted notice-board > Wardrobe > Chest of drawers

> Shower rail/curtain (please note that shower curtains will need replacing from time to time)

> Lock that operates on a thumb turn on the inner side/privacy bolt on inner side of bedroom door if doors aren’t individually lockable. Bedroom door locks should be installed for properties with 5 or more bedrooms as standard

> Cleaning accessories – brush, dustpan and brush, mop and bucket > Kitchen bin

> Mirrored cabinet/wall mounted mirror

> Dining table and chairs (if not a galley kitchen)

> Toilet roll holder

> Curtains/Blinds

> Ample fridge/freezer space (1 fridge/ freezer per each 4 tenants i.e. 2 fridge/ freezers in 5+ bedroom properties)

> Towel rail (double) > Toilet

> Bedside table

> Washing machine/washer dryer

> Toilet brush (please note that toilet brushes will need replacing from time to time) > Bin

Living Room (If applicable) > Sofas > Coffee table > Curtains > Adequate storage: wall mounted shelves/bookcase

All furniture provided must comply with the Fire and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

“Keep up the good work!” Current Student Homes property owner (2017)

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“I think the team are great, really professional and always very helpful. Thank you.” Current Student Homes property owner (2017)

Accreditation and Compliance The SAC Code

All properties that are part of the Student Homes portfolio are registered under the Student Accommodation Code. The SAC Code was developed in 2005 primarily to assist the management of student accommodation by setting out the main elements of good management practice.

Before we commit to leasing a property we arrange for a property inspection to be carried out by an independent surveyor. The purpose of the inspection is for us to ensure that we are leasing suitable and safe accommodation for our students.

The code of practice sets out guidelines for ensuring that good-quality, safe accommodation is provided for students by Universities. As all of the University of London’s accommodation portfolio is listed under the SAC Code, it is vital that all of our properties, whether owned or managed, meet the relevant standards.

The Student Accommodation Code of Practice can be found by visiting the below web page: www.thesac.org.uk/the-code

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Joining the Scheme Register Your Interest

1. Register your interest

3. Rental Offer

6. Signing the lease

If you are interested in leasing to the University and feel that your property meets the criteria outlined on page 8, please get in contact with us to discuss further:

If after our initial visit we are interested in leasing the property from you, we will compile a rental offer. Our rental offers are based on the amount of rent we feel we can charge our students for the property (guided by rental data gathered from a variety of sources), minus the costs involved in us managing the property.

Where possible, we like to get contracts signed with our landlords well in advance of the start date in September. This allows us time to market the property to our students and fill the rooms.

Tel: 0207 862 8071 Email: william.walker@london.ac.uk It is important to bear in mind that our leases start in September each year and that we will need a number of weeks to market the property to our students before the start of the contract. The earlier in the year we can start the process of taking on a new property the better, and ideally we would like to have the lease signed in advance of our Housing Fair that takes place on the first Friday in May each year. The latest we can accept any new enquiries for an upcoming academic year is the end of July. If you enquire after this time we will only be able to consider your application for the intake in September the following year.

2. Initial property visit Following our initial conversation, if your property sounds of interest we will arrange an inspection at a time convenient for you. This initial visit allows us to assess if the property is suitable for our needs. The main focus will be on the general condition of the property, the dimensions of the rooms, the health and safety features and the surroundings.

The rental amount quoted in the offer is the net figure payable to you. This figure will not be subject to any deductions.

4. Survey Inspection Should our rental offer be agreeable, the next step is for us to arrange for the property to be inspected by an independent surveyor. The safety of our student tenants is of paramount importance, and therefore the focus of this inspection is health and safety. We require all of the properties we lease to be compliant with a number of health and safety standards, with a particular focus on fire-safety. If there are any areas of your property that require amendments or additions this will be noted by the surveyor and a schedule of works will be listed in the surveyors report.

5. Agreeing schedule of works Following the inspection the surveyor will compile a report and forward it to the Student Homes team. We will then look over the report and assess the surveyor’s findings. Alongside the report there may also be a schedule of work recommended by the surveyor. In order for us to proceed with leasing the property from you, we require you to agree to undertake any work listed in advance of the start of the lease.

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To cut down on paper use and to make the process of signing a contract quicker and easier, we use a secure electronic agreement signing service. Rather than us sending the contract to you in the post, or you having to visit the University to sign the document, it is sent to you via email so that you can sign it remotely. A member of the team will provide you with instructions on how to sign the e-contract before we send the document to you.

7. Contract start Our leases commence in September each year, usually within the first 3 weeks of the month depending on College term start dates. Before the lease starts, any schedule of remedial work outlined by the surveyor must have been completed and the property will need to be professionally cleaned. We will arrange a time to visit the property in advance of the start date to check that everything is in order for the start of the tenancy. We also need to ensure that we have all of the keys required for the property before the contract. We require 1 full set of keys for each tenant and 3 spare sets for us to keep at the University. Finally, on the day that the tenancy begins, or one of the days preceding we will carry out an inventory at the property. The inventory will be forwarded to the student tenants to sign and return, and we also provide a copy of the document for our landlords.


Checklist

Register your interest

Initial property visit

Agreeing schedule of works

Survey inspection

Signing the lease

Rental offer

Contract start

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Tenancy Management Dedicated Property Manager Each property within the Student Homes scheme is managed by a dedicated property manager. This member of staff will be your main point of contact throughout any tenancies we manage at your property. You’ll receive reports following each termly inspection they undertake, details and support regarding any remedial issues that arise and updates as to service developments and changes. The property manager who will manage the tenancy at your property will be in touch to introduce themselves before your tenancy with the University begins.

Inventory Prior to each new tenancy beginning we’ll produce and send you an inventory of your property. The inventory is essentially a photographic record of the property and its condition, we use it come the end of the tenancy. The inventory allows us to accurately assess whether any of our student tenant’s deposits should be retained should we come across instances which we believe to be tenant damage at your property. You can see a sample inventory on the landlords section of the Student Homes website.

Tenancy Turnarounds

Renewals

When a tenancy we're managing at your property draws to an end we’ll make the following arrangements.

We offer our student sub tenants the chance to renew in their chosen property should they want to. They’ll need to have a good track record when it comes to taking care of the property and paying their rent for us to make such an offer to them. While our head tenancy agreements are for 52 weeks, or in some cases three years, one week is generally reserved as a gap week: our sub tenants are on 51 week agreements. Should all of the current tenants leave this gap week is in place so there’s time for the property to be prepared for the new students, or for you to undertake work that has the potential to be disruptive were the property to be occupied.

> We undertake an end of tenancy inspection once our tenants have left to check that they have left the property well, to pick up any repairs that need undertaking before a new tenancy begins, and to identify any damages (should there be any), so we can deal with these through deposit deductions as necessary. > We arrange for your property to be professionally cleaned – we do this as a matter of course, there is no cost to property owners for this. We’ll arrange for your property to be cleaned whether you’re renewing with us or leaving the scheme. > We produce an inventory for the next tenancy should you have renewed with us, in the event that we’re returning your property to you we’ll look to meet you there so we can do a final inspection and handover together. We’ll let you know when we’ve planned these visits in advance of the current tenancy ending so you can tell us if any of the proposed visits are problematic for any reason.

In the event that the property is let on a room by room basis and some individuals would like to renew, we’ll let you know which rooms we plan to renew on a 52 week basis and will pay you the additional rent due for the occupied rooms. If a group renews we’ll renew them all on a 52 week tenancy and pay you an additional weeks rent for the whole property.

Repairs Schedule Student Homes use a priority system for repairs. The priority system is a guide so all parties have the same understanding of how repairs should be approached. We appreciate that some repairs are more complex than others, so while the initial visit by a contractor should be within the stated timescales, if return visits are required this is acceptable. Please ensure that you keep your property manager informed as to the progress of repairs so we can in turn keep our student tenants updated. Please note: If we don’t hear back from you when we contact you about remedial issues, Student Homes will take steps to have the required repairs carried out on your behalf: your property manager will advise you when they hope to hear back from you by. The cost of the necessary work will then be deducted from one of the monthly rent payments we make to you.

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Priority

Timescale

Examples

A repair that requires urgent attention, in order to avoid danger to health, risk to the safety of tenants, or which has potential to cause significant damage to the property, or tenants belongings, if not promptly addressed.

Within 24 hours.

Issues that have the potential to prevent the tenants safely remaining in the property. Serious leaks, boilers breaking down (particularly in winter), the gas supply being cut off, the only toilet in the property not working, a security issue – failed locks/broken windows.

A repair which is inconvenient and will affect the comfort or convenience of tenants, which while not immediately pressing should be dealt with promptly.

Within 5 working days.

Loss of services or problems that affect some aspect of the property, but not the whole property. A shower requiring work (where there are more than one available), a cooker that has broken down completely, a fridge/freezer that has stopped working.

Non urgent day to day repairs.

Within 28 days.

Remedial works that tenants may not request, but that are necessary to ensure the property is well maintained. Replacing gutters, replacing windows, improvements in the property – fitting a suited lock system.

* By this we mean the initial visit, we appreciate further visits may be required particularly if the problem isn’t straightforward.

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Support with Repairs Student Homes are happy to offer you support with any work or upgrades required at your property. We can: > Arrange for contractors to undertake work for you, or to visit your property to price up more expensive jobs, or for upgrades you may look to make. These are trusted contractors who we’ve worked with before and who we’d issue keys to for their visit. > Work with you on a repairs budget basis: if you’re happy for us to take care of minor repairs for you we will. Let us know what your budget is on a per item basis and we’ll not bother you with the little bits – renewing sealant, securing toilet seats, replacing broken microwaves etc. We shall always contact you about more significant remedial work that is required and where we do replace goods shall endeavour to do so on a like for like basis. You’ll receive details of any work that’s been carried out from your property manager along with copies of invoices and any other paperwork you may need for your records.

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> Step in, in the short term: if a problem’s developed with the boiler and the student tenants are without heating we keep a stock of portable heaters that we’ll issue to them. If the student tenants are temporarily without hot water we’ll ensure they have a kettle to be able to boil water to wash up, we’ll offer them the use of a shower at a University of London site should they want to make use of it. > In extreme cases we’ll help to temporarily rehouse the tenants of your property should it be inappropriate for them to remain there while something is rectified, or while work is undertaken. Please note that this may affect the rent that is paid to you. Should you want any further information about how we can help or if you want to discuss any of the above with us please contact your property manager for assistance in the first instance.

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Significant Work If you have more significant work in mind for your property please let us know so we can adjust the length of the next tenancy to accommodate this. If you plan to refurbish a kitchen or bathroom for instance, we could look to start the next tenancy later or finish it earlier so you’ve got a more realistic period of time to get the work undertaken within. We encourage you to undertake any day to day remedial work during the tenancy so the property remains well maintained, and work doesn’t build up.


Out of Hours Service Student Homes have an out of hours service set up so tenants can seek support if urgent issues arise outside of office hours and cannot wait until the office reopens. These would be issues that have the potential to pose risk to the tenants or damage to your property if not addressed. Notices are mounted in each property and tenants provided with details for the Out of Hours Service. Through this service tenants can arrange to borrow keys if they have lost or misplaced their own or can request that a contractor visit if an urgent problem has arisen at the property they live in. Calls are taken by a night security team at a 24-hour reception at one of the University of London Halls of Residence. These staff routinely deal with such calls from halls tenants, so are familiar with what is and isn’t an urgent issue.

Visits by our out of hours contractors will be arranged for any priority one issues that are reported out of hours, other issues will be recorded and picked up by the Student Homes team when the office re-opens. While there is no upfront cost for this service to property owners, if any visits need to be made to your property you will need to cover the cost of the visit. A pricing matrix is included on the landlords section of the Student Homes website so you can have a look at what you might expect to pay if a visit were to be made to your property out of hours.

Student Homes have an out of hours service set up so tenants can seek support if urgent issues arise outside of office hours and cannot wait until the office reopens. Landlord Handbook

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Your Obligations 1. You must ensure that your property is ready for our tenancy: that it’s in good repair, that any required work has been undertaken, and if it’s your first tenancy with us that it’s been professionally cleaned to a high standard. We can arrange the clean with our cleaners if you’d like – just ask. 2. Legal and other requirements: you must arrange for all of the necessary inspections to take place at your property and provide Student Homes with the relevant paperwork. These include: > EPC prior to tenancy beginning (these need renewing every 10 years) > Gas safety inspection (required annually) > Fire Alarm systems – depending on the type of system in place at your property a biannual, or annual service may be required.* (The same applies for emergency lighting). > Electrical Testing. PAT Testing isn’t currently a legal requirement, although it’s good practice to have appliances tested annually. Ensuring that electrical appliances are safe is a responsibility that landlords do have – PAT testing is the easiest way to observe this responsibility and is relatively inexpensive. We expect you to have portable appliances PAT tested before your tenancy with us begins, and on an annual basis thereafter. We can arrange this for you if you’d like.

> Electrical installation condition report (these need renewing every 5 years). > HMO Licencing: Only if your property is a licensable HMO (the licence will need renewing every 5 years). > You must have a fire risk assessment carried out by a qualified assessor, and undertake the work they advise, prior to your property being managed by Student Homes. A copy of the report needs to be provided to Student Homes for their records. We can recommend an assessor to you. 3. You are responsible for attending to any issues that arise at your property as a result of wear and tear – by this we mean repairs that are required as a result of everyday use, or items that need renewing as they’ve had their time; replacing mattresses that have become uncomfortable, painting walls to freshen up the décor after a number of tenancies, cleaning carpets and so forth. If necessary, we can arrange for such work to be undertaken on your behalf – we can do this on an ad hoc or regular basis, including any servicing /testing that is required at your property. We can also agree a budget for reactive maintenance so we can conduct work without needing to bother you. We will always get in touch if the budget may be exceeded or if any one job is deemed as significant, whether in monetary value or by its impact to the property.

* Student Homes staff will test alarms and systems prior to each new tenancy beginning, and during routine inspections. The same applies to carbon monoxide detectors.

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4. Pests: You will need to address any pest issues provided that they haven’t arisen due to failings of the sub tenants. Pest issues you may need to address include: mice, bird mites (from old nesting materials or birds in attic spaces), wasps nests, cockroaches. 5. You are obliged to let us know about any visits that you, or your contractors, are due to make to your property in order that we can provide our student tenants with notice. Our tenancy agreements with the students indicate that we’ll give them 24 hours’ notice or more for routine visits and that access with less notice will only be reserved for emergencies. 6. We will write to you and send a report through after we’ve undertaken each routine inspection of your property. You’ll be made aware of any remedial issues we encounter and also provided with details about any tenant behaviour issues we’ve found and how we’ll be approaching these. 7. You are responsible for making any improvements or alterations to your property that are required by law, or as a result of a change in legislation. A recent example would the requirement for carbon monoxide detectors to be provided and maintained in rental properties.


Our Obligations 1. We will make sure your property is professionally cleaned at the end of each tenancy. We’ll make sure that any belongings that may have been left by former tenants are removed and disposed of as necessary. 2. Legal obligations: we keep records of the inspections that have taken place at the properties we manage as well as copies of the relevant certification. We will endeavour to send you a reminder in advance of any inspections that are required at your property – we can also help you to arrange any required inspections should this be helpful.

3. We are responsible for taking care of any issues that arise at your property that we suspect to be as a result of tenant damage. This is regardless of whether the damage is deemed to have been caused accidentally or not. Examples would include, mattresses that were clean at the start of a tenancy being stained at the end, carpet burns, broken furniture etc. 4. Pests: We shall attend to any issues that arise with pests through our sub tenants living in your property. Some pests such as bed bugs, or fleas are often introduced to a property through the tenants, if this is found to be the case we’ll have the property treated at no cost to you.

5. We shall ensure our student tenants are informed of any visits that will be made to the property and of any disruption they should expect i.e. the water being turned off while work is undertaken. 6. We plan and undertake regular inspections of properties (usually one each University term), to ensure that properties are being looked after and if there are any tenant behaviour issues that these are identified and addressed. 7. We will always endeavour to let you know of any legislative changes that will affect you.

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Our Commitment to You The Student Homes team look after the interests of all of the parties we work with – our partner colleges, property owners, and our student tenants. We work with the interests of all parties in mind and aim to do so in as fair a way as possible. We conduct a satisfaction survey with the property owners we work with on an annual basis. We do so to find out what you think of the service you receive and to ask if there are any areas you feel we should work on. We have a complaints procedure that you can follow if you’re unhappy with the service that you receive from us in some way. There are details on the landlords section of the Student Homes website about how you can make a complaint. Ask a member of staff for further information if you need to lodge a complaint.

Good Practice – Preventing Problems We’ve drawn up a short list of things we’d advise based on our combined experience of managing student properties and tenancies. These are by no means things that you must do, but merely suggestions we hope you’ll find helpful and steps that you may like to take to avoid some common and recurring issues that can arise in rented accommodation.

>  Both is best: If there is more than one bathroom in your property fit a mixture of gas and electric showers if possible. If the boiler goes down tenants still have wash facilities if there’s an electric shower – this can make the difference between a repair being a priority one or two issue. >  More is less… If you provide the things that tenants are likely to want – mirrors in bedrooms, sufficient storage space, noticeboards, additional seating where there is room, you’re less likely to encounter problems with tenants introducing and leaving additional furniture at your property. Noticeboards deter tenants from blu tacking things to the paint work, wall mounted mirrors deter tenants from drilling their own onto the wall, additional seating discourages students from bringing back Freecycle furniture. >  Durability: While we understand the logic behind not wanted to spend too much on furnishings in student accommodation, cheaper furniture often doesn’t last as long and can be a false economy. We find that tenants tend to take better care of properties that are nicely furnished and decorated, than of properties that are more along the lines of student accommodation as we think of it in its ‘traditional’ sense.

The Student Homes team look after the interests of all of the parties we work with – our partner colleges, property owners, and our student tenants. 18

Landlord Handbook

>  Décor: If you’re decorating you may want to consider the type of paint you use so it remains looking good for longer. Silk or vinyl paints can be cleaned down more easily which should keep the paintwork looking fresh for longer. Our cleaners will clean down paintwork, where they can, during any cleans they undertake at your property. >  Dryers: If you need to install a new washing machine in your property we ask that you consider installing a washer dryer: alternatively if you have room to install a separate dryer that’d be great. This helps to reduce common problems that can occur with condensation mould forming in rooms where wet clothes are frequently being hung out to dry inside. >  Extractor Fans: We’d ideally like all bathrooms and shower rooms to have an extractor fan – having the fan adapted to turn on with the light and run onto a delay once the light is turned off also helps. We’d suggest a delay of 5 minutes. This quite simply means that the ventilation in wash rooms is much better – good news for you in terms of the décor.


Renewal Process Should our initial 52 week tenancy prove successful, we will look to start the renewal process with you in February the following year. We like to have all of our renewals confirmed by April each year, as we start marketing our properties to students at the beginning of May. Our annual Housing Fair takes place on the first Friday of May each year, and it marks the start of the House-hunting season for University of London students. It is therefore very important that we have confirmed which of our current Student Homes properties will be renewing in advance of the fair. Below is a step-by-step guide to the renewal process: 1. Early Indication – in February we will be approximately 5 months into the lease, and at this point we will make preliminary enquiries as to whether you intend to renew your lease with the University. We typically ask you to get back to us before the end of February to let us know.

2. Firm Agreement – when we get to March, we will be looking to get a firm commitment from you regarding the new lease to start in September. At this point we will also discuss the rent level for the new tenancy. When negotiating the rent level we will consider a number of different factors, including rental market conditions, the climate within the student accommodation sector as well as other rent data and statistics. The start date for the next tenancy will also need to be confirmed. 3. Signing the new lease – once we have agreed the terms of the new lease, we will send the new contract out to you to read and sign. We will set you a deadline to sign the agreement by, with the aim of getting all agreements completed by the end of March.

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“I am very impressed with the calm and constant updates from the team about issues regarding my property, and their concern for the wellbeing of the students.” Current Student Homes property owner (2017)

3 Year Agreements For our 2017/18 tenancies we are planning to introduce changes to the length of agreements we have with some of our Student Homes landlords. Having to renew our leases each year can be time-consuming both for the University and our landlords. To combat this, we are proposing to introduce 3 year leases; this will provide security for the University, as we will know that we can lease the property for a 3 year period, and it will also provide landlords with the security of 3 years’ guaranteed rent. It will also enable us to cut down on the amount of admin hours we assign to renewals each year. We are proposing to offer longer leases to a number of our existing landlords from September 2017 and hope to offer them more widely going forward.

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Landlord Handbook

3 year leases won’t ordinarily be available to new landlords for the first tenancy with the University. The reason for this is that before we commence our first lease, the property and landlord are relative unknowns to us. Instead we prefer a 1 year contract for our first term, with the potential for a 3 year agreement upon renewal, assuming that all parties are happy.


FAQs

Can I break the contract? The current 52 week lease that we use does not have a break clause, and as a result there is no option to end the agreement early. In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to mutually terminate the agreement, however this is of course dependent on both parties agreeing to this action.

When do I receive my rental payments? Rent payments are made monthly, in advance. You will ordinarily receive rent payments on the last Friday of each month, in order that you have the cleared funds before the 1st day of the month. The exception to this may occur around the Christmas and Easter periods, when you may receive the rent payment earlier in lieu of University holidays.

For our newly-proposed 3 year agreements we are planning a break clause option at the end of each year. As this is a longer agreement we felt that this flexibility was necessary in case of a change in circumstances for either party.

Will you lease my studio or one bedroom flat? Unfortunately not. We are looking for flats and houses that our students can share, so need properties that can accommodate at least two individuals. Studios and 1 beds in London also tend to be proportionally too expensive for us. Do you lease properties with live-in landlords? We cannot lease properties with resident landlords as managing the property would lead to a conflict of interest. In properties that have live-in landlords, we feel that the landlord is best-placed to manage the tenancy, as they are in situ. If you are interested in letting some of your rooms to our students, you may be interested in advertising on our housing database. More information can be found at www.housing.london.ac.uk. Landlord obligations vs University obligations? See section 2 of the handbook for more information. Can I visit my property during the tenancy? You are of course welcome to visit the property during the tenancy. All that we ask is that you give us at least 24 hours’ notice so that we can in turn notify our tenants of your visit.

Who is responsible for cleaning the property? In all instances student tenants are responsible for keeping their rooms clean. In addition to this, for properties up to 5 bedrooms we would expect the tenants to take sole responsibility for cleaning the communal parts. In properties that are 6 bedrooms and above we would recommend the provision of a cleaner to visit the property on a regular basis to clean the communal parts of the property. Who pays the utility bills? The student tenants are responsible for paying the utility bills within our Student Homes properties. Is there opportunity for a rent increase? Yes, we review the rent during the renewal process, referring to current market conditions and rent statistics. We also take the situation within the student accommodation sector into consideration during the rent review.

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FAQs

How do I make a complaint about the service? If you are unhappy with any aspect of the Student Homes service we would encourage you to make a complaint by following our official complaints procedure. Information on the procedure can be found on the Student Homes website at the following address – http://studenthomes.london. ac.uk/about/contact-us/complaints. We welcome any feedback you can offer as it will help us to improve the service we offer. Do I need to be contactable during the tenancy? Yes, we will need to contact you from time to time to inform you of any maintenance issues at the property. We will also want to give you some feedback following the termly inspections we undertake at each property. Also, in February and March we will need to negotiate the renewal with you. If you feel that you won’t be easily contactable during the tenancy, or you would prefer not to be contacted, we will need to agree a maintenance budget in advance. This will ensure that we are able to maintain the property effectively without having to bother you. Should I be in touch with the student tenants? From the point-of-view of our student tenants the University is their landlord and we therefore want them to contact the Student Homes team directly in the event of any maintenance issues. While we are happy for you to have dialogue with the students, what we want to avoid is the students keeping us out of the loop and instead going to you to report repairs.

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Can I choose the tenants or specify the type of students, i.e. postgrads? We don’t allow our landlords to select specific students to live in their properties, or discriminate against certain groups of students. We do have a number of ‘postgraduate-only’ properties, however this is dependent on the type of property. The decision to allocate a property as postgraduate-only is entirely at the University’s discretion. Do you require locks on bedroom doors? If you fit locks on the bedroom doors in your property you need to ensure that they operate on a thumb turn on the inner side so a keyless escape is possible. If your property has 5 or more bedrooms you should have locks fitted on the bedroom doors, you should use a suited system ideally. Fair wear and tear or damage? Fair wear and tear would be the carpets in your property needing cleaning after a few tenancies, through the carpets being used in a normal way they become dirty and need cleaning from time to time. It’d be sealant that needs renewing, toilet seats that need securing, shower curtains that need replacing. Damage would be a burn on a carpet, a stain on a mattress that was clean when the tenancy began, a freezer drawer that’s cracked or broken through tenants not defrosting the freezer when necessary.

Landlord Handbook


Landlord Handbook

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Contact us

Š University of London 2017

Web: studenthomes.london.ac.uk Email: student.homes@london.ac.uk Tel: 0207 664 4836 Address: ULHS, 4th Floor Student Central, 2 Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY

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studenthomes.london.ac.uk 24 Landlord Handbook

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Landlord Handbook

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