1. My child/ward is a student do they really have to choose a property for next academic year in the winter month? 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 is £198 (including 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. This is payable by debit card or bank transfer.
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 the option to find a replacement tenant.
If a fully signed agreement is in place then all tenants are contractually bound to the terms of the agreement until a replacement has been found and a new agreement is in place. There is a fee to invalid the original agreement, and it will not be superseded until such time a new full signed agreement is held.
If there is not a fully signed agreement in place then the remaining members of the group can proceed by replacing the person who has dropped out. Please be aware that there will be strict deadlines to find a replacement as the let is secured for no party until a fully signed agreement is held.
Any new 'replacement' tenants would have to pay the application fee
5. What type of Tenancy Agreement will we sign?
You will sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. All agreements are joint and several. This means that you are liable as a whole and are each responsible for everyone named on the agreement. If one person fails to pay, the burden falls to the others.
The group are taking the property as a whole, and in so are agreeing to live in a family like manner, 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 will be sent in stages, to guarantors first, tenants, us, and then the landlord. It will not move on to the tenants until all guarantors have signed and so on and so forth. All parties must sign within 30 days of the agreement being sent to the guarantors.
7. Does the Tenancy have to be for a year?
The majority of our tenancies run for just shy of 12 months. The start and end dates of the tenancy will be published and confirmed with the tenants at application.
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 there is a leak for example the students' possessions will not be covered under the landlord's policy. Tenants insurance must fall under an 'open door policy as there will not be 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, or if not fault is found (e.g. 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 FKSL 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 tenancy agreement? Can they agree to guarantee their child/ward only?
A guarantor is undertaking to guarantee the commitment made by their child/ward (The tenant). The tenant 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, or pay their rent fully in advance. 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 sharers do not find a suitable guarantor?
Each tenant must have a UK-based home owner as a guarantor or they must pay all their rent in advance prior to the tenancy commencing.
14. Who will perform the credit check? Will it affect my credit rating?
We use an external company called Homeppl. We check CCJs and your credit history. They are checking to see if you have any financial judgements against you in the past or anything of that nature. It is not a full credit check which obtains a score and it will not affect your credit score.
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 usually be obtained through their online portal or through the student services department which they can then provide to the council office with a copy of their tenancy agreement. It is incredibly important that they do this if they receive a bill, as the exemption only relates to council tax and if it escalates to chasing they will be responsible for court fees.
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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. if they suspect arson as the cause of a fire).
17. Why is the tenant not permitted to use Sellotape or Blu-Tak etc.?
Sellotape and Blu-Tak etc 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.