1. Does my child/ward really have to choose a property for next academic year in December, January or February? Can't I wait until the summer?
Most students look for next year's accommodation at the end of Christmas term. This is when all agencies release their letting lists. If you want a better choice of property, this is when you should be looking. Of course there are properties available later but there is less choice of accommodation.
2. What do they need to do to reserve a property?
The whole group must complete application forms. We ask for two references per person and a parental/guardian to act as guarantor. We also ask for an application fee from each person. The application fee (TRACC fee) is £165 (plus VAT) per person. This is non refundable.
3. When do I have to pay the first month's rent and deposit?
The first account is due one month before the start of the tenancy. Payable by debit or credit card, cash or cheque. Please be advised that there is a 1.65% surcharge when using a credit card.
4. What happens if somebody drops out after we have decided on a property?
If, for some reason, one of the group is not able to continue with a tenancy, this does not mean that we cannot proceed. They would have to find a replacement. If a tenancy agreement has already been signed, everybody is still contractually bound by the terms of the agreement until another agreement has been signed. Once a replacement has been found, and referenced, they can be added to the agreement and the other person removed.
However, if the group has not signed an agreement when this occurs, then the remaining members of the group can sign and add the final person at a later date. But you must realise that if you sign an agreement and a final person cannot be found by the time the tenancy starts, you are bound by the terms.
Any new 'replacement' tenants would have to pay the application fee and holding fee.
5. What type of Tenancy Agreement will we sign?
Depending on the total rent of the property you will sign an Assured Shorthold Agreement or a Contractual Agreement. All agreements are joint and several. This means that you as the guarantor are all responsible for the responsibilities of the tenants and this means that you will ultimately be responsible for all the rent. If one prson fails to pay, the burden falls to the others.
The students are agreeing to live as a family, this means for example that there will be no locks on individual room doors.
6. When will we sign our Tenancy Agreement?
The Tenancy Agreement must be signed a month after application.
7. Does the Tenancy have to be for a year?
All our student tenancies run for a year less a day. On occasion, by agreement with the landlord some tenancies are shorter. However, they would never be less than 11 months.
8. What about insurance?
The owner insures the property and his/her contents but we advise all tenants to have their own insurance policy (we advise you to consider accidental damage cover) for their own possessions. If their is a leak for example the students' possessions will not be covered under the landlord's policy. You will not be allowed locks on individual doors.
9. What about repairs? For example, what if the central heating breaks down?
The owner is responsible for internal and external repairs. The tenant only pays if the breakdown or repair is due to negligence or misuse (eg. blocked drains and if it is independently deemed to have been your fault).
10. What about emergencies?
In the majority of cases where we are the managing agents, we are on 24-hour call. In other cases where your landlord manages the property, you will be been given all his/her contact details when you collect your keys.
11. How and when do we pay our rent?
Your rent must be paid on the first day of every month either directly to FK Student Letting or directly to your landlord. Payment should be made by standing order or direct debit. Why not open a house account? Then pay your rent from one account by direct debit!
12. What is the guarantor agreeing to by signing the guarantor forms? Can they agree to guarantee their child/ward only?
A guarantor is undertaking to guarantee the commitment made by their child/ward (The Student). The student is agreeing to a joint and several agreement and, therefore, the guarantor is agreeing to guarantee a joint and several agreement.
By guaranteeing the student you will be guaranteeing the whole tenancy — this is why we ensure all parties have a guarantor. The contact details for all fellow guarantors will be provided, should you wish to discuss this tenancy with them.
13. What happens if one or more of the students do not find a suitable guarantor?
Each student must have a UK-based home owner as a guarantor or they must pay all their rent in advance or the tenancy will not proceed.
14. Why do I need to return a credit check form and bank status enquiry form?
These forms allow us to obtain a credit worthiness check. This is taken on all guarantors. If, for whatever reason, we are unable to obtain a credit check, we will request a financial reference directly from your bank.
15. Are students liable for Council Tax?
If the tenant is a full-time student, they are exempt from paying this for the period of their studies (only), but it is their responsibility to prove their status to the City Council. A form can be obtained from either the student’s head tutor or student services department and brought to the council office with a copy of their tenancy agreement once they have moved in.
16. Do I/we need insurance to cover accidental damage?
Yes. The landlord will have their own buildings insurance and we recommend that students obtain their own insurance to cover accidental damage of the landlords possessions (eg. carpet etc.) and their own belongings.
In the case of fire and flood, the landlord’s insurance will usually cover the damage to his contents only e.g. not your laptop. However, the insurance company may investigate further if they so wish (eg. if they suspect arson as the cause of a fire).
17. Why is the tenant not permitted to use Sellotape or Blu-Tak?
Sellotape and Blu-Tak leave glue and oil marks on walls. If the tenant chooses to use them, they will probably have to pay for the entire room (or at least the wall concerned) to be repainted. If the tenant wishes to hang a framed picture on the wall, they must first check with the landlord or agent.