Advice Centre

Housing

From time to time you will experience problems with your accommodation. We can help with some of the most common issues.

    • Deposits - getting your deposit back at the end of your tenancy
    • Repairs - sorting out repairs with your landlord
    • Tenancies - understanding your tenancy agreement
    • Bills - disputes over flat share bills
    • Termination of Tenancy - ending your tenancy early

Check over your tenancy before you sign it!

Don't ignore your alarma bell ringing and part with your deposit money until you've done all the necessary checks, including viewing the property and checking over the tenancy agreement before you sign it. You can get your tenancy agreement checked by:

The booklet called How to rent – The checklist for renting in England'.  is available from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk. This booklet will give you good advice and tips to follow before renting accommodation.

Remember to:

  • Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement and read it carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities. The landlord or agent usually provides one but you can request to use a different version. The government has published a model tenancy agreement that can be used.
  • If you have any concerns about the agreement, seek advice before you sign.

Agree an inventory:

  • As an extra safeguard, make sure that you take photos. This will make things easier if there is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy. If you are happy with the inventory, sign it and keep a copy.

Remember to take meter readings when you move in:

  • This will help make sure you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.

Contact details:

  • Make sure that you have the correct contact details for the landlord or agent, including a telephone number you can use in case of an emergency.

Code of practice:

The booklet called How to rent – The checklist for renting in England'.  is available from the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk. This booklet will give you good advice and tips to follow before renting accommodation.

Using an agency-A client who intends to use an agency should also be advised to go to an agency which is a member of a voluntary self-regulatory body and/or which participates in the National Approved Letting Scheme. The voluntary self-regulatory bodies are:-the National Association of Estate Agents

the National Association of Estate Agents

Association of Residential Letting Agents

the UK Association of Letting Agents.

These bodies and a number of others have signed up to a private rented sector code of practice. The code sets out the legal requirements of agents and landlords as well as industry best practice. It may be useful for a tenant to refer to the code if the agency they use is a member of one of the organisations that have agreed to follow it.

A copy of the code is available from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website at www.rics.org.

Some bodies subscribe to the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). In addition, an agency which is not a member of one of these bodies can participate in NALS, if it agrees to subscribe to the standards. The standards include a complaints procedure, under which a tenant can make a complaint about an agency.

Members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) must follow the ARLA code of practice. ARLA will try to help a client who complains about one of its members. It has an internal arbitration scheme to deal with disputes.

UKALA works with the National Landlords Association (NLA). UKALA The code requires members to have an in-house complaints procedure. website at www.ukala.org.uk.

The Property Ombudsman website at www.tpos.co.uk. They can investigate complaints about member companies, but a client must first use the agent's internal complaints procedure. The Property Ombudsman Website: www.tpos.co.uk

Registration fee. An agency is not allowed to demand or accept any payment for registering a client. If an agency does this, it may have committed a criminal offence.

An accommodation agency can charge a fee once a client has agreed to take up the tenancy of a property the agency has found for him, and can ask him to sign, in advance, an agreement promising to do this. A client should ask how much this fee is, before registering. They may however charge the landlord and make no charge to a tenant.

 

For more information about further problems mentioned below, contact Angela or Debbie at the Student Advice Centre at 02075948060 or email advice@imperial.ac.uk .

Landlord Immigration Checks

As of 1st February 2016, landlords must now check the immigration status of students who are not in student halls of residence.

Landlords must check that students and other adults living in their properties are in the country lawfully. Agents can carry out these checks on behalf of landlords.

Students must not hand original copies of their ID to landlords or agents, but only give ID marked with 'sample' or 'copy' written in large bold letters across the front of the document.

Find out more

 

Lanlords are now oblidged to give tenants a copy of the How to rent guide

How to rent: the checklist for renting in England