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Prospective Tenants

Choosing housemates
Identify houses to view
Small room issues
Arrange viewing
Book a house
Complete tenant info
Agreement
Deposit
Standing order
Guarantee
Handover of documents
Questions
Problems before occupation
Beds
Check in
Contacting utility companies

Choosing housemates

It is very important that you share your house with people that you trust and are happy to live with. The ideal situation is to share with friends who you have lived with before. Try to see what their current room looks like. Some people are house proud and like order and cleanliness and they will probably be unhappy living with a pig whose room is always a mess and who never cleans the bathroom or kitchen. Some students take their studies seriously while others have little intention of studying and want to party all the time. Check that your proposed housemates expect to pass the year, are happy with their course and are serious about attending this university next year.

Money can be a problem. Ensure that you know how each person is funding their rent, food and utilities. Agree how much each person can and wants to spend on housing so that you do not go looking at houses that you cannot afford. Are your housemates ready to pay a deposit in the next week? All tenancy agreements for students, including mine, are joint and several. That means that you all sign the contract together and are responsible together for ensuring that the landlord receives the total rent. I am happy to receive the rent in separate payments from each of you each month but if one tenant does not pay, despite my attempts to collect from that person and their parent guarantor, then I will claim the rent from the others in the house.

You must only share your house with people whom you trust. Your laptops, cameras, mobile phones, CDs, DVDs, jewellery and money will all be in your room when you are not there. You must be comfortable that they will not take or use them without your agreement. It is also vital that you respect the possessions of your housemates. I have seen tenants become very unhappy when one person in the house regularly borrows the possessions of the others without specific agreement.

Understand whether any of your intended housemates are in long term relationships and whether their partner is going to be one of the housemates or will be a very regular visitor. It can be very irritating if a partner, who is not part of the paying household, spends a lot of time in the house but does not contribute to the utilities, food and cleaning rotas.

Make sure that you know if any of your intended housemates have special dietary needs. That need not be a problem but can be if it requires special storage or preparation.

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Identify houses to view

The properties shown on the website are those that have not yet been let. When they are let they are removed from the website. Look at the description of the property, the plan, photos, location and EPC. Agree which of the available houses you can afford. Remember that utility bills will add a further £30 to £40 a month per person. Are you happy with the period of the tenancy (normally a year from early July)? Is the distance from university important to you? Do you need lots of parking? Are you prepared to pay more to have a house with a big lounge (20 Deerbarn Rd)? Do you like the kitchen to be part of the living room (36 Grantley Rd, 76 and 78 Aldershot Rd) or separate and do you care whether the kitchen is big (71 Beckingham Rd) or small? Most houses have separate showers but some only have them over the bath and some have no bath at all (8 and 11 Grantley Rd). 78 Aldershot Rd has two bathrooms. The cottage at 17 Parkhurst Rd has an en-suite shower room. Do you want your friends to be in a nearby house (64, 76 and 78 Aldershot Rd; 19 and 21 Woodbridge Hill Gardens; 8, 11 and 36 Grantley Road; 20 Deerbarn Rd and 59 Woodbridge Hill)?

Small room issues

All these house have one small room. In some houses that room is just as long as a bed. In others it is bigger. Someone will need to agree to take a smaller room. The total rent can be shared in different amounts so that the smaller room could cost £40 or even £60 per month less than the other rooms. If one person is more sensitive about costs then they may prefer to take the small room.

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Arrange viewing

Call Bobby Stodel on 07973 114 602 and tell him which houses (up to three) you would like to view and when all of you will be able to view together. He needs to give existing tenants one dayís notice so same day viewings donít work. Ideally you should be able to view in the next day or two. Beyond that you run the risk that houses that you would like to view are let to others. If you have made an arrangement for a viewing and change your mind let Bobby know so that he and the existing tenants do not waste their time.

Book a house

As soon as you have viewed houses discuss them and agree whether you want any of them. Accept that you will need to compromise on something in most houses. Importantly make a decision. Immediately call Bobby Stodel and book the house. Donít delay. Many people lose their favourite house because others donít delay and book before them. Once you book a house it will be reserved for you on the basis that you sign the tenancy agreement and pay the deposit within a week.

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Complete tenant info

A simple form will be emailed to you requesting names and contact information for all the tenants. Complete the form with your full legal names as they will be used in the agreement. Complete the form in Word and email it back within 24 hours of receipt.

Agreement

A simple, clear two page tenancy agreement will be emailed to you. Read it carefully and discuss it with your parents. It sets out the property address, the names and addresses of both the landlord and the tenants, the period or term of the tenancy, the rent to be paid and when and the deposit to be paid. It sets out commitments of the tenants which include no smoking, drugs, candles, cycles or pets in the house. All of the tenants will need to sign and initial all copies of the agreement. The number to be signed will be sufficient to provide all the tenants and the landlord with a copy that has been signed by all parties. The landlord will sign and return the agreements when all the paperwork has been processed.

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Deposit

You will need to pay a deposit when you hand over the agreement. The deposit is equal to one monthís rent. The deposit is normally paid by a cheque from each tenant but can be transferred directly to the Landlordís bank account or can be paid in cash. The deposit is normally returned in full once you have returned the house to the landlord and proved that you have paid your final utility bills. Deductions may be made from the deposit for any damages, unpaid rent or other monies owed. The most common reasons for deposit deductions are stained mattresses, broken chairs and blue tack marks on walls. The Landlord will insure the return of the deposit with Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd and will provide a copy of the Deposit Protection Certificate to the tenants.

Standing Order

You will be asked to complete a standing order instruction to your bank (or your parentsí bank if they are paying the rent) where you tell them to pay the rent from your account to the landlord each month. It is important that you ensure that there are sufficient funds in your account on the dates on the standing order. Because the landlord has lost money in the past from students not paying rent he wants the first rent payment to be made one month before you move in and monthly thereafter with no payment in the final month. You should complete the standing order and give it to the Landlord who will copy it for his records and then mail it to your bank. Please ensure that the bank address, including the post code, is on the standing order. Your deposit will be repaid at the end of the tenancy to the bank account on the standing order.

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Guarantee

Most students do not have a salary, credit record and have not rented before so it is difficult to get proper references. The Landlord therefore, requires the responsibilities of all tenants to be guaranteed by a parent. This is a simple form which must be signed by the parent and the original document mailed to him.

Handover of documents

A few days after the contract is mailed to you the Landlord will want to meet at least one person from the house to receive the signed contracts, completed standing orders and the deposit. That meeting will normally happen in the main car park at the University.

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Questions

If you have any questions relating to the tenancy before you move in please email or call the Landord.

Problems before occupation

If you fail the year or decide to leave the university or have financial problems before you move in it is essential that you discuss them with your intended housemates and the Landlord. You have committed to a contract and will need to comply with the contract including paying rent. The Landlord will accept another person in place of you in the contract if that person is acceptable to your housemates and that person signs a replacement contract. Do not delay on these issues. The earlier they are faced the more chance that they can be easily resolved.

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Beds

If you decide to bring your own single or double bed to the house and will not need the bed provided by the Landlord it is essential that you advise him of that at least a week before you move in. Beds will not be removed after you move in.

Check in

At the time and date set out in the contract at least one of you must be at the house to check in. You will be asked to check the inventory of the furniture and check the condition of the property. You will also read the meters with the Landlord. The Landlord will then leave you with all the keys for the house. It will be your responsibility to ensure that the keys are distributed to all the tenants.

Contacting utility companies

There is no need to contact the utility companies before you move in. The Landlord will give you the telephone numbers for all the utility companies at the check in and you can make contact after you move in to arrange for the accounts to be transferred out of his name and into your names.