When should I start looking for accommodation?
It depends when you are looking to move in. If you want to secure somewhere for the new academic year you will have more choice the earlier you start looking. Most landlords like to get their contracts organised by 1st July, so they will be advertising from November onwards.
The best properties in the best locations are always the first to go so the longer you leave it to look the less choice become available. So if you want something that ticks every box the earlier you look the more chance you have of getting what you want.
Why should I use Tenant Direct?
We are an independent company with ambitious plans for our business - so we work hard to impress people with our service. We have set very high standards for ourselves. We make sure we only deal with honest and trustworthy landlords with well maintained, clean and safe accommodation to offer. We advise our landlords on the furniture and furnishings to provide, the security checks that need to be made and, if we are managing the property, we take care of any repair or maintenance problems in a timely way.
We also make sure that when we see you into a property, you have all the information you need at hand should any problems arise.
Will it cost me anything to register with you?
Absolutely not. Nothing is payable until you want to secure one of the properties on our books.
What will I have to pay, and when?
To secure a property (so that we stop advertising it to others) you and anyone you will be sharing with will need to pay a 'Reservation fee' per person. You will also be required to sign the tenancy agreement.
(The Reservation fee will be deducted from the total amount you have to pay when you move in to the property. If the landlord pulls out of the deal for any reason, the money would be returned to you. However, if you decide not to go ahead with the tenancy, the Reservation fee will not be refunded. So don't pay a Reservation fee until you are absolutely sure this is the property for you!)
Within 14 days of signing your contract for the property, you will need to pay a security deposit equivalent to one full months' rent + £50 rounded up to the nearest £25 (i.e rent £260 = deposit £325), plus your administration fee, minus the amount paid as your initial reservation. The deposit money will be returned to you when the tenancy is ended (assuming there are no damages, breakages or rent arrears to pay out of it). Please note the deposit money cannot be used as your last month's rent. The first months’ rent will need to be paid at least 14 days prior to the tenancy start date to allow for processing and a standing order form will then be signed for the ongoing rental payments, this will be set to leave your account 3 days prior to the rent due date to allow for clearance time to credit the Landlord or us as Managing Agent in good time.
I want to share with 5 friends. What are my chances?
We have many HMOs (Houses for Multiple Occupancy) on our books, with accommodation for up to 9 students sharing. We group properties by the number of available bedrooms, which cuts down the time you have to spend looking for what you need.
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
Pay the bills
Unless a charge for bills has been included in your rent, you will be responsible for paying the phone, gas and electricity bills and the water rates. You will need to notify the companies concerned, and arrange to have the meters read. (To avoid any disputes over the bills, you may want to put one bill in each name to spread the responsibility. You could also pay regular amounts into a kitty, so it is not a financial shock when the bills arrive).
If everyone in the house is a student, you will all be exempt from paying Council Tax - but you must send proof to the Council Tax Office that you are a full-time student before the charge is waived. We can tell you more about this when you sign up for a tenancy.
We recommend that you take out insurance to protect your possessions while you are living away from home. You may also want to consider insurance against damaging your landlord's possessions.
(We are agents for HomeLet, a specialist insurer dealing with landlords and tenants, and there are links to the application forms on our website if you want to get a quick quote online).
Arrange a TV licence
If you have a Joint Tenancy agreement (where the names of all tenants are listed on the one contract) you only need one TV licence to cover all the TVs in the house. You can pick up a TV Licence Application Form from any PayPoint outlet - which means any local newsagent, convenience store, supermarket or petrol station displaying the PayPoint sign.
If everyone in the house is on a Separate Tenancy agreement (with a different contract for everyone sharing) you will all need separate TV licences.
Keep the place clean and tidy
When you move out, you will need to leave the place clean and tidy and free of rubbish. In our experience, it makes it much easier if students do short bursts of regular cleaning, rather than leaving everything to the last minute! If a property is not left in a clean condition, the landlord has the right to arrange for the property to be commercially cleaned and to deduct the (significant) cost from your deposit. So every now and again, run the vacuum cleaner around, clean the toilets, de-gunk the fridge and wipe down the windows and so on. After all, you will have to do all these things when you buy a home of your own, one day.
If the landlord has left garden tools for you to use, you will be expected to keep the garden tidy, too.
Who do I turn to if I have a problem?
If we are managing the property, ring us first with any problems. If not, contact the landlord directly. As managing agents, we promise to deal with any matter in a timely fashion, with urgent matters (relating to your health and safety) taking top priority. If you are dealing with your landlord, you should also put your request in writing, explaining the nature of the problem and the date it was reported so that you can be sure that it will be dealt with promptly. Just leaving a phone message won't do, because by law, a landlord is not obliged to respond until he receives written confirmation of the request.