From time to time you will experience problems with your accommodation. We can help with some of the most common issues. This link provides information about the advice we give in areas of housing.
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 alarm 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:
If you're looking for advice on how to rent, gov.uk has a lot of information on their website, including a booklet called How to rent – The checklist for renting in England. This booklet will give you good advice and tips to follow before renting accommodation.
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.
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:
Check that whoever is managing the property is following a code of practice .
Using an agency:
If you intend to use an agency you 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 (NALS) - Some bodies subscribe to the 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.
The voluntary self-regulatory bodies are:
- The National Association of Estate Agents
- Association of Residential Letting Agents - 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.
- The UK Association of Letting Agents - 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.
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.
The Property Ombudsman can investigate complaints about member companies, but a client must first use the agent's internal complaints procedure.
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 above, contact the Student Advice Centre by calling 02075948060 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.