LIVING IN YOUR HOME
Once you get the keys and move in, there’s still a few things you need to get done to make your home-life easy and trouble-free.
We understand the financial burdens that students face and therefore, we do not charge any holding deposits or fees when you take a property. We can also offer an alternative deposit option upon moving in.
‘Student Living by James Douglas’ is exclusively partnered with the University of South Wales Students Union, so you can always be certain of getting a fair deal. We are bound by principles set by the SU.
MOVING IN: Notify all the relevant companies that you have taken up occupation and for Gas and Electricity, you should read the meter on the day you move in, telephone the supplier with the reading and check the reading against your first bill. If you live in a shared house it is always best to have all occupants names on the bill or you may end up personally liable for the debt.
For Gas, Water and Electricity it is easiest to divide the bill equally but with the Telephone bill (if applicable), it is best to get an itemised bill to pay for individual calls, and sharing the line rental. One of the biggest worries about sharing bills is that somehow you will end up paying for more than your share. If your name is the only one on the bill, then you may find yourself in the position where everyone has left at the end of the year, leaving you to pay the final bill.
If you are the only name on the bill, then you can be liable for the whole amount. However, you may be able to prove there were other ‘beneficial users’ who should be equally liable for their share. Utility companies can often be more open to accepting this if you offer them your share of the bill first.
Water Rates: Unless the Landlord has specified in the contract that they will pay the water rates, you will be liable to pay.
Council Tax: There will be no Council Tax charge where full time students only occupy a house. There are specific rules governing who is classed as a full-time student. If you feel that you belong to this group but the council disagrees, seek advice. If you are liable for the council tax you can check the band.
Gas and Electricity: These are usually billed quarterly but there are alternative methods of payment. You can pay by monthly direct debit (usually the cheapest rate), a budget scheme where you have a payment book / card or, if the Landlord is agreeable, you can ask to have a token / card meter fitted. These meters are free to have installed but do attract a slightly higher standing charge.
On Managed properties, Student Living by James Douglas will carry out an inventory and a copy will be provided to you upon your move-in.
You have seven days, once you have received your inventory to point out any discrepancies, which is vital as you may be charged for any discrepancies not noted on the inventory.
On find Let Only properties the landlord will give you an inventory at the start of the tenancy.
All tenants have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ i.e. the right to treat the property as your home. It is a criminal offence for the owner/ agent to remove this right.
The property is of course still owned by him/her and s/he has the right to inspect the premises from time to time. This MUST be done with your consent, at reasonable hours and with at least 24 hours notice in writing.
Having a key and letting her/himself in at odd times and without your permission would almost certainly constitute harassment.
Provided that a guest does not take up residence, your owner/agent CANNOT dictate who comes to see you or at what time they should leave.
Safety & Security
BURGLARY AND THEFT
Statistics show that, in this country, a theft of personal possessions occurs about once every one and a half minutes. Students living off campus, in most inner city areas, have a ONE IN FIVE chance of being burgled (IN SOME AREAS THIS CAN INCREASE TO ONE IN TWO). It is therefore essential that you obtain some form of contents insurance. It is false economy to save money by not having any.
LANDLORD’S RESPONSIBILITIES: By law, all furniture (except that made before 1950) in rented accommodation, which is considered to be soft furnishings (sofas, armchairs, cushions, and beds) must be fire resistant. This information should be on a label, somewhere on the furniture. The landlord is also required to provide adequate smoke alarms and a fire blanket or suitable fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
TENANT’S RESPONSIBILITIES: Never cover up, or remove the batteries from, a smoke alarm. You risk death or serious injury and the Landlord can sue for damage caused to their property. Always put candles on a protected surface. Never leave a candle lit when you go to sleep or leave the room.
We advise all tenants to arrange to have their post redirected by the post office.
Before the date of departure you should make your own check of all items in the property against the inventory. It is in your interest to replace any broken or missing items at this stage as you may be charged a fee for doing this for you.
Ensure that the property and all its contents are properly cleaned and, where appropriate, curtains, carpets etc have received professional attention. Fridge/freezers should be switched off and defrosted. During winter months the central heating is left on a minimum setting.
On the last day of your tenancy an appointment will be made for the agency or the landlord to revisit the property and check the inventory (the “check out”). Once the checkout has been completed you will not be able to remain in the property. All your personal effects should have been removed and all the keys handed to the inventory clerk.
A report will be prepared from the notes made during the check out. Please see the section on “Inventories” and “Tenant Deposit Scheme”.
Deductions may be made from your deposit if there are any missing or damaged items or if the property requires any cleaning etc. A copy of the report is sent to you but cleaning and repairs may need to be carried out before the dilapidations are agreed.
If the Deposit Protection Service are holding your deposit it can only be released when they have received authorisation from us on behalf of the landlord. Once it is agreed the ‘lead’ tenant will be written to or emailed and will have to confirm how they want the deposit paid back. Should any items on the inventory require attention this will inevitably lead to a delay in monies being returned to you.
If a dispute arises then the undisputed amount will be refunded and the disputed amount retained until the issue is resolved. We will require a forwarding address for each tenant; deposits cannot be refunded without it!