Advice for Students

The advice pages here will give students a basic understanding of all aspects of renting a student property and what to do if things go wrong.

Market Conditions Leeds

Get the big picture and understand your local housing market including info on average rents and the right time to start looking

Market Conditions Nottingham

Understanding the Housing Market: Market Conditions

Before getting into details about housing, it is important to look at the "big picture". You are entering the housing market, maybe for the first time, and whether you are living in university or private sector accommodation, the main determinants of what you can rent will be decided by the particular factors of your local housing market:

  • Knowing how expensive it is to live in your area
  • if there is a surplus or shortage of housing

Whether there is enough good quality housing will determine:

  • when you should look for housing
  • how much you can expect to pay
  • how much you can negotiate
  • what kind of property you can expect to rent

If there an accommodation surplus or a shortage?

The number of students housed directly by the institutions in Nottingham is over 11,000
The number of students housed in the private sector is around 30,000

The current state of the housing market in terms of supply and demand is that there is a significant surplus (this will vary according to the time of year because there is never a housing shortage at the beginning of the letting year)

Market conditions - Bradford

If you have an understanding of your local housing market, you'll be better positioned to gauge what quality of accommodation is available, what a reasonable rent is, whether there is a shortage or surplus and when to start looking.

What you need to know before you start looking for somewhere to live

Before you start check out: 

  • the full range of options on offer
  • what reasonable expectations of quality and price are in the market
  • what support is available
  • how many and who you want to live with
  • when to start looking
  • what to look out for when you're viewing properties

The links on the right are a key resource in helping you equip yourself with what you need to know to get the best deal.

 

Types of accommodation

Types of accommodation and their availability are generally similar across different university towns. Take some time deciding what type best suits you. Below are brief descriptions of the types of accommodation  typically available to students.

Quality

The quality of accommodation you can expect to find

You'll find that quality varies a fair amount. However, there is absolutely nothing in housing legislation to say that ‘student accommodation’ can or should be of a lower standard than other properties let by landlord/agents. The attitude of ‘what do you expect, it’s only a student house?’ is not acceptable. Your health and safety could be at risk if you accept substandard conditions.

For much of the accommodation in your area, the quality of what's on offer and its management will be assured through a Code of Standards operated by Unipol. These Codes are helping to drive up quality and standards in markets where they have a strong presence. For guidance on the Codes and how you can make use of them to secure assurance about the quality of your accommodation, please see the section of this website devoted to The Codes.

When to start looking - Leeds

          

When to start looking - Bradford

When first year students should start looking for accommodation

When returning students should start looking for accommodation for the following year

When first year students should start looking for accommodation

If, as a first year student, you are applying for university or college accommodation (or other accommodation which your intended institution directly allocates to student tenants), then you need to return your application forms by the relevant deadline. An application for accommodation will normally be sent to you when you have confirmed that you intend to study at that institution. If you are in doubt about the procedure, look on your Accommodation Office website or telephone them and ask.  For contact information for your institution please click here.

If you want to live in private sector accommodation, or if you have not been able to get a university or college provided room then you can start looking immediately. Students who are reliant on A-level results will have to wait until mid-August before they can look, but others don’t. So if you’re in a position to look for a house before mid-August, please feel free to use the website today to take your search forward. There will also be local factors which affect when existing students start looking for the following letting year. This information can be found below.

When returning students should start looking for accommodation for the following year

If, as a returning student, you want to remain in, or move back to, university or college accommodation then you need to contact your Accommodation Office just before you leave for Christmas and see what their system for returners is. If you want a short let, contact them at any time of the year and they may be able to help, depending on when you want to live there.

You are likely to come under early pressure from other students and the private sector to start looking for accommodation for the next letting year as early as November or December. This pressure generally takes the form of alarmist messages that all the good properties are snapped up at this time of year for the following year. Resist the temptation to fall for the hype. Don't be panicked into an early decision unnecessarily - get settled at university, make friends and get to know them, and then work out who you want to share with (unless, of course, you decide to live on your own). After all, a year is a long time to live with people it turns out you don't get on with.

Unipol has an official house hunting start date which works against alarmist rumours and panicked early decisions. Be clear when this is and wait for the official start date. You can find out more here about house hunting in Bradford. What the start date does is:

• stops confusion between students wanting to rent properties now and for next year;

• gives all owners (both large and small) an equal starting date for marketing their properties;

• allows advice and information delivery to be given to all students at all institutions;

• ensures that there is a decent amount of comparable property for student to choose between;

• increases choice and transparency in the letting market;

• always fits in with the inter semester system and enables students to look for housing after they have taken their inter-semester examinations.

About a quarter of returning students finalise their arrangements with the owner (including signing the contract) in March to come in to effect on 1 July for a full 52-week let (although sometimes there are summer rent concessions made). The rest of those who commit themselves to a full year’s let (about the same number again) sign an agreement in April, May and June (but mostly May) before the third term.

For more information on finding a great house for your second or third year please click here

The universities, students' unions and Unipol will all be advising students not to rent before the official house hunting start date. 

Contract length

First year students

Returning students

First year students

For first years signing up during the summer, most owners will offer a contract to run either from the time of signing or from the start of the following month. At that time of year a lot of owners start their contracts from 1 September. But if you are considering renting through the summer, landlords may make rent concessions or settle for a retainer. Raise this with them – it’s always worth trying to negotiate with an owner about the precise date you start paying rent. But, as ever, patterns vary from year to year and from place to place, so check for local details.

Returning students

In recent times about half of all returning students have rented properties over a 52-week letting period – commonly from 1 July to 30 June the following year. If you do opt for a 52-week let, try negotiating – before you sign – for a summer rent concession.

Other returners choose to delay signing up until the late summer. Again, their contracts are likely to run to 30 June. However, if you do delay, be aware that most accommodation services get very busy at this time of year and finding accommodation during this period can be extremely stressful and time-consuming. It's best to look for a house before the third week of August or leave it until just before the start of term. (In Bradford, Leeds and Nottingham this isn't a problem because of the prevailing accommodation surplus in all three cities.)

If you are looking for a house as a group, it's important you make a definite arrangement with each other to meet up before the end of summer, as you will all need to agree on the property and to sign a contract. There will, however, still be a good choice of accommodation right through until the beginning of October.  Remember, some owners will often be willing to negotiate with prospective tenants about when they should start paying rent from.

Bradford House Hunting - our comprehensive guide

Before you start looking

Help in finding the right accommodation for you

The house hunting season

Doing a thorough search

Using the support that’s available

Student to student notice board and individual lets

Housing myths and rumours

In short …

 

Before you start looking

First, make sure you have read our advice on things you need to know before you start house hunting. Taking a bit of time to arm yourself with some sound knowledge pays dividends: you’ll make better decisions and are more likely to be happy with the deal you get, the price you pay and your living arrangements generally.
 

Help in finding the right accommodation for you

Finding accommodation that is right for you is an important part of college life, in both the first and subsequent years of study. It is vital you get the right support to help you explore the options fully and make informed decisions.

The key sources of support are your institution, your students’ union and Unipol. Institutions clearly play the central role for students seeking to enter accommodation which they allocate directly to. For students interested in other forms of accommodation, Unipol is the main resource. Students in this category are mainly returners, but include a sizeable number of new students – and significant among these are new postgraduates and students with dependants.

Institutions and students’ unions will provide advice and information on accommodation. Unipol offers advice, information, property search website and house hunting events.

Click here for Unipol’s help and advice pages, including contact details.

The house hunting season

Every city with students has a different time and method for finding student accommodation. It is estimated that in Bradford over 2,000 students will live in privately rented accommodation and most will be second and subsequent year students (returning students).

In Bradford there is an administrative start date to house hunting and for next year’s houses (2019-2020 courses) which as 4th February. Unipol can offer you the widest choice and the largest collection of bed spaces anywhere in Bradford and these can be viewed now. The start date of house hunting is there to increase choice and transparency in the letting market; to ensure that there is a decent amount of comparable property for you to choose from; and to allow you to plan your house hunting.

Don’t let the start date panic you into renting something you don’t want. There is a 2,500 bed space surplus in Bradford and good quality accommodation is available throughout the year. Don’t rent before the start date unless you are staying with your existing landlord. Those who do often pay more. Unipol and the University and College will provide you with information before the start date to help you make sound, informed decisions.

Doing a thorough search

Take your time and look at a good selection of properties. If you rush in and sign up for one of the first properties you look at, you may be lucky and land a good one. But the chances are that a thorough, more measured search will get you better accommodation at a better price. Be wary of landlords or agents applying undue pressure to make a decision on a property.

Using the support that’s available

You can’t do better than using Unipol as a resource for supporting you in your search for private rented accommodation. Our services include:

  • information and advice
  • website advertising for landlords
  • administration of highly respected accreditation schemes

Extensive information and advice is provided on this website. Additonally, Unipol publish a House hunting guide in December each year. If you want even more detail, call in and pick up a copy of our Housing magazine which contains lots of Unipol and Code owners’ properties.

We offer the widest choice and largest number of bed spaces in Bradford. Using this website, you can browse advertised properties and book viewings. Through us, you can get access to over 1,000 advertised bed spaces, displayed in a way that ensures transparency and no hidden bias.

Unipol has pioneered accreditation schemes in the student housing sector. Innovative in design, set-up and operation, the Unipol Code offers tenants a high level of assurance about what they are renting and how it is managed. It makes real sense to rent a Code property – look out for the badge on advertised properties. You can check whether a landlord is registered as a Code owner by clicking here.

To supplement what we offer, you may wish to make the most of the support of your students’ union advice service and your institution, with whom we work closely. The students’ unions  provide an information and advice service. In using all these resources, you can be confident of making the right decisions at the right time.

Housing myths and rumours

Every year some students fall foul of various housing myths and rumours such as:

  • There is a housing shortage – this is simply not true. In Bradford there is a surplus of good quality accommodation. Students who leave their house hunting until the summer before they return to university still secure good houses.
  • All the best places go first – often students who sign up for houses too early are actually signing for properties left over from the previous year! Wait for the official house hunting start date when over 1,000 bed spaces are released on to the Unipol website for students to view.
  • Everyone pays sign up fees – many owners do not ask students to pay admin or sign up fees. If you don’t want to pay, choose an owner who doesn’t charge them. Unipol will not expect you to pay for setting up a contract. Ask what you are paying for.

In short …

  • work out who you want to live with
  • explore different areas of Bradford to decide where you want to live
  • calculate how much you can afford (don’t forget gas, electricity etc)
  • discuss the amenities you want in the property. 

Finally, it’s a good idea to seek advice on the legal aspects of renting on, for instance, your own contractual responsibilities and your landlord’s.  Contact your Unipol or your Students’ Union Advice Centre and also look at the Unipol Code for further information.

Leeds House Hunting - our comprehensive guide

Everything you need to know to find the right property for you - including who to share with, when to start looking, how to get the most out of the help available

Who to share with

Renting as part of a group

How many to share with

What makes for a good house share

Who to live with

Sharing with a partner

Smoking and smokers

Renting as part of a group

Most students do this – agree to rent a whole house between them and sign a joint contract. It is generally much easier and cheaper to find accommodation if you’re part of a group and, in fact, this is how most owners offer their properties. You should, however, be aware of the implications of signing a joint contract before you commit yourself.

How many to share with

Choosing how many to share with is important. Properties for between three and six are best. Houses for two and for seven or more are in short supply.

If you're in a large group and there are no houses big enough on offer, it's worth thinking about splitting into two groups and looking for two houses close to each other.

What makes for a good house share

It's important when hunting for a shared house to be clear about your own "wants" and "don't wants" and others' needs. If you're not, difficulties can emerge during the tenancy - most are fixed-term tenancies which means it is difficult to get out of your contract and leave the property before that fixed term is up.

Generally, there are no golden rules that make for a good house share. There is a theory that mixed (male and female houses) work better than single-sex households and that one woman sharing a house with several males tends not to be a good arrangement. This theory holds good for many cases, but by no means all.

If you decide that you do not, after all, want to live with the people you agreed to share with, say so before signing a contract. It will spare you real problems in the long run.

Women students should weigh up all the implications of living in an otherwise all-male house. You may feel perfectly at ease with the group but there may be times when you are alone at night with just one of them - will you still feel comfortable then?

Who to live with

If you agree to share with people you do not know at all, you will be taking a limited risk. However, often these house shares are as successful as those between friends. This is because the level of formality in agreeing sharing arrangements between people who do not know each other can help make for a smooth sharing arrangement over the year. Conversely, disagreements between people in pre-existing friendships can be avoided and remain dormant within the sharing arrangement until some crisis emerges. 

Sharing with a partner

Some students (particularly second and later year students and postgraduates) decide to live with a partner. For these purposes a large bedsit, a self-contained flat or a small house would be the best choice. Self contained flats form about 8% of student occupancy and although they are the most expensive form of accommodation, if two people are paying the rent they can actually be cheaper, or no more expensive, than renting a room in a shared house.

In signing any fixed term agreement it is important to take a realistic view about the nature of your relationship with your partner and the legal commitment you will be making in sharing a flat - will your relationship last longer than your contract?

Smoking and smokers

One of the more common causes of friction in houses relates to smokers and non-smokers. There are some people who really cannot stand the smell of smoke in a house (and there may even be medical conditions that this can trigger). So it is important to consider this issue before you form a group to rent a house. If you are sharing with friends, you will know about this issue and the problems can probably be resolved (allowing smoking in individual rooms but not in the communal areas for example).

However, if you are renting from a university or college or are in a private hall of residence, it is likely that your accommodation will have a no-smoking policy. Many individual landlords are also including no-smoking clauses in their contracts. So it may be advisable to check this with the landlord before you sign for a property.

Why third years get the best houses

A commonly held view is that 3rd year students get the best houses. Learn from the experts how to secure your dream home.

Renting from a Managing Agent - Leeds

About 35% of the student off-street rental market in Leeds is let through managing agents.

There are a number of factors which contribute to the growing numbers of students using the services of managing agents. These include:

  • the allure of an attractive office with an air of professionalism
  • the ability to see lots of properties quickly
  • accompanied viewings and transport
  • a trend towards the physical clustering of agencies, which enables students to compare properties between agencies quickly and easily 

Although there are many professionally run managing agents offering a good level of customer service, disappointingly many of the complaints Unipol and the Students' Unions receive relate to managing agents.

The Unipol Code helps students to choose the best managing agents. 90% of all complaints that Unipol receive about student housing come from the 30% of unaccredited landlords. It really is best to rent from a Code landlord or agent.

There are now a number of managing agents in Leeds who have full Unipol Code status. This means all their student houses meet the standards of the Code. If you rent from an agent, it is strongly recommended you use one of these. Check agents' names in the  Code register before signing up with them.

Unipol has also established Supporter status for agents who are working towards full Code membership. You are advised to give preference to these agents over agents who have not joined any scheme. Further details can be found here.

The best managing agents are as good as the best landlords, but it is important to consider some specific issues when dealing with them.

Let Only Services

Many agencies offer a "let only service". This means the agent is responsible only for letting, and not for managing the property. If you are renting a property through a let only arrangement, the agent should make this very clear and should provide fulll information on who is responsible for actually delivering the services. They should also give you the landlord's full details so that you can check if the landlord is part of the Unipol Code.

If the agent promises any upgrading (for example a new sofa or redecoration) it is very important to get this promise in writing.

Many agents have very attractive offices, which is a sign of professionalism, but remember you are not renting the office and you need to focus on the property. It's poor logic that a good office will equal a good property or a good service.

Accompanied Viewings

Accompanied viewings are a good thing, but you should remember that this is likely to be a promotional tour and you should concentrate on looking at the property properly. You should also resist glossing over any problem areas (such as: what is that damp patch? who will have that small room?)

If possible, you should try and take the opportunity to talk to the current tenants about the property and their experiences of dealing with the landlord or agency. Good agencies and private landlords are always happy to give you the freedom to do this.

It can be difficult to be assertive and ask the obvious question, but don't let that put you off and don't be rushed through the property. Take your time, look carefully and make sure you are buying exactly what you want.

If you are not interested in taking the property, have the courage to say so. No one will be offended. This is a commercial setting and landlords and agents prefer house hunters to be straight in order not to waste their time and to let them get on and remarket the property to others who may be genuinely interested. Also, if you book a viewing and then change your mind, just ring up and cancel it as a matter of courtesy to the agent. Treat them how you would expect to be treated yourself.

Do not fall for hard selling techniques as part of the sales pitch. If you are feeling intimidated, resist the pressure to give way. You should never agree to anything under duress, so simply say firmly that you are not interested and move on.

Deposits

If you pay a deposit you will get this money returned as long as you return the property in a good condition. Agents and landlords that take a deposit are now obliged to place the money in a government approved scheme that safeguards your deposit.

Renting from a managing agent - Bradford

Many landlords do not rent their properties directly and choose to use a managing agent to do this for them. The best managing agents are as good as the best landlords, but it also important to consider some specific issues in dealing with managing agents.

Renting from a Managing Agent - Nottingham

Let Only Services

Many agencies offer a "let only service", which means the agent is only responsible for letting, not managing the property. If you are renting a property through a let only arrangement the agent should make this very clear and give you full details of the landlord so you can find out if the landlord is part of the Unipol Code and you know who is responsible for actually delivering your services.

If the agent promises any upgrading (for example a new sofa or redecoration) it is very important to get this promise in writing.

Many agents have very attractive offices, which is a sign of professionalism, but remember you are not renting the office and concentrate on the property. A good office does not always equal a good property or a good service.

Accompanied Viewings

Accompanied viewings are a good thing but you should remember that this is likely to be a promotional tour and you should concentrate on looking at the property properly. You should also not gloss over any problem areas (such as: what is that damp patch? who will have the smallest room?)

If possible you should try and take the opportunity to talk to the current tenants about the property and their experiences of dealing with the landlord or agency. Good agencies and private landlords are always happy to give you the freedom to do this.

It can be difficult to be assertive and ask the obvious question, but do not let that put you off and do not be rushed through the property. You should take your time and look carefully so that you are buying exactly what you want.

If you are not interested have the courage to say that (no one will mind) so that no one wastes any further time and the property can be remarket to others who may not share your views. Also, if you change your mind and have booked to have a viewing, just ring up and cancel it as a matter of courtesy to the agent. Treat them how you would expect to be treated yourself.

If you are feeling intimidated by the sales pitch then this is frequently "hard selling" techniques. You should never agree to anything under duress so simply say firmly that you are not interested and move on.

Sign up Fees and Deposits

Some agencies charge sign up fees for setting up the contract. Make sure you are happy with paying any fees before you commit to taking the property. Many landlords who advertise with Unipol do not ask students to pay these additional fees or keep them low.

Some agencies do not charge deposits but instead charge higher sign up fees. The main advantage of this is that this fee is often lower than paying a deposit and is therefore less money to find at the time of signing for your new property. The disadvantage is that you will not get this money back.

If you pay a deposit you will get this money returned as long as you return the property in a good condition. Agents and landlords that take a deposit are now obliged to place the money in a government approved scheme that safeguards your deposit.

How to view a property

Find out what to watch out for when viewing properties. Use our property checklist to make sure you don't miss anything important.

Viewing a Property: Checklist

Running through this checklist will give you a reasonably thorough survey of any house you are thinking of renting:

Gas and electricity

  • Is the heating in the house adequate (imagine whether it will be adequate in the middle of winter)?
  • Do the electric/gas fires work? Does the cooker work?
  • If the cooker is a gas cooker, does the thermostat work?
  • Have you had your gas and electricity meters read immediately after you have taken responsibility for the property?
  • Have you asked to see a copy of a Gas Safe Register safety record for the gas appliances?
  • Have you asked to see the Electrical Periodic Safety report?

Plumbing

  • Does the plumbing work?
  • Have you tried all the taps?
  • Do the sinks drain?
  • Does the toilet flush or leak?
  • Is there any hot water and how do you pay for it?
  • Are there any signs of pests (mouse droppings, slug trails, fleas) in the house?

Security

  • Is the house secure?
  • Is there a burglar alarm that works?
  • Are all the external doors solid?
  • Have all external doors been fitted with a five-lever mortise lock?
  • Do all ground floor windows have security catches?
  • Have you identified your own property by putting your postcode on all your valuables?
  • Are the ground floor bedroom curtains lined or thick enough?

Furniture

  • Has the house got enough furniture for the occupants?
  • Is there sufficient space in the kitchen to store and prepare food stuff?
  • Is any of the existing furniture the property of existing tenants?
  • Is all the furniture in good condition?
  • Is the furniture fire retardant?

Appliances

  • What is provided with the house?
  • Are there instructions on how to use the appliances? 

Insurance

  • Do you wish to be insured?

Services

  • What services is the owner providing for you, if any? Window cleaning, gardening, lighting of common parts, dustbin and refuse disposal?

Money

  • What are you paying for in your rent? How does it compare to other rents? Have you paid a deposit? If so what is it for? Have you got a receipt for what you have paid? Are you or the owner responsible for water charges?
  • How much will heating the house cost?

Agreements

  • Do you know what your contract means?
  • Have you talked to the previous occupants of the house and asked them if they have any comments that would help you?
  • Have you been given a copy of the contract you have signed?
  • Are you jointly liable with the other tenants?
  • Which Redress Scheme is your landlord/agent a member of? They must be a member of one by law - for more info on your Right of Redress click here

Owner

  • Do you know your owner's name and address?

Outside the property

  • Does the roof look sound? (You can check for damp from the inside of the house too)
  • Have the gutters got plants growing out of them?
  • Are the drains clear?
  • Is any of the woodwork rotting or unsafe?
  • What to do when you are moving in

Cleaning

  • Was the house clean?
  • If not, have you told the owner what the condition was in writing?

Safety

  • In the event of fire in the main access passageways of the house, could you get out of the house?
  • Are smoke detectors or fire alarms fitted?
  • Has the house any fire doors?

Repairs

  • Do any repairs need doing?
  • Have you told the owner in writing what needs doing?

Decorating

  • Does any decorating need doing?
  • If so, who is doing it and who is paying? Has the owner set any upper limit if you are decorating the house yourself? Get confirmation in writing.

Environmental issues

  • How is the water heated - is it economical?
  • If there is a hot water tank is it insulated? Does it have a BSA approved insulation jacket over three inches thick?
  • What heating system is there? how much does it cost to run?
  • Are the windows sound with no drafts?

Deposits

Everything you need know about paying them and getting them back

Tenancy Deposit Protection

Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes guarantee that tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property. TDP is designed to encourage landlords and tenants to draw up clear tenancy agreements and will provide an impartial adjudication process in the event of any dispute.

Landlords must protect their tenants' deposits using a TDP scheme if they have let the property on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST).

It is important that landlords give their tenants information on where the tenants' deposits have been protected.  Landlords should receive a unique reference number for each deposit and this can be forwarded to their tenants, along with a certificate of protection.

Students who have not received any notification on the whereabouts of their deposit should ask their landlord the simple question:

How is My Deposit Protected?

If the landlord is unable to provide a reference number students can check directly with the scheme to ensure their deposit is protected, however if details of the protection cannot be verified students should seek advice from thier Student Union or Unipol. Please use the links below to check your protection status:

The schemes:

Custodial Scheme

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

TENANCY DEPOSIT SCHEME (TDS)

MyDEPOSITS

Insurance Based Schemes

MyDeposits

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

Deposit Protection Service (DPS)

If there is no dispute about the return of the deposit at the end of the tenancy, the landlord 
or agent must pay the deposit to the tenant without delay, less any deductions that the 
tenant has agreed. Any part of the deposit kept back at this stage will remain protected in the scheme being used until such time as any dispute is resolved. The exact arrangements depend on the type of scheme used.

Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages

TDS has produced a leaflet to give guidance to landlords, agents and tenants on how deposit disputes work for all three schemes.

A Guide to Tenancy Deposits, Disputes and Damages

Unipol and the TDS Deposit Protection Scheme

Unipol runs a bespoke student TDP scheme with TDS which is one of the insurance based schemes (see above). This scheme is designed especially with the needs of student landlords in mind and is available exclusively to Unipol Code landlords.

The scheme is administered online using the TDS website, which is accessed through their Dashboard. 

TDS/ Unipol Scheme - more information

Tenancy Deposit Protection: Enforcement Pack

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and have paid a deposit legally the deposit you pay must be protected by your landlord.

This means your landlords must pay your deposit into one of the three authorised schemes within 30 days of receiving your deposit. For more information on the three tenancy deposit schemes click here. The Tenancy Deposit Protection Enforcement Pack gives you information on how to get your deposit protected.

This pack gives tenants information about:

  • whether your deposits should be protected
  • how you can get their deposits protected
  • standard letters you can send to your landlords
  • court procedures you can use to get your deposit protected

This Enforcement Pack can be used by individual tenants and also student advice services. If you have any further queries or questions we would advise you visit your students’ union advice service.

 Download a copy of the pack

Standard Letters

The Enforcement pack includes standard letters for tenants to send to their landlord, agent and TDP scheme administrator. You can download these letters here and fill in your individual details. Please read the enforcement pack which explains which letter is applicable to your circumstances.

Courts Service Explanatory Leaflets

You can download the relevant court documents below, please read the enforcement pack which explains which of the forms is relevant to your claim based on your circumstances.

EX50 – County Court fees
EX160 – Application form for fee remission
EX160A – Do you have to pay court fees?
EX301 – Making a claim – some questions to ask yourself
EX302 – How to make a claim
EX303 – What the landlord or agent should do on receiving your claim
EX304 – No reply to your claim form – what you should do
EX306 – The small claims track
 

Standard Letters

There are standard letters for tenants to send to their landlord, agent and TDP scheme administrator. Please read the enforcement pack which explains which letter is applicable to your circumstances.

Deposit Inspection Checklist

Kitchen

  • The cooker, including the oven is clean and has all its attachments (particularly any grill pan provided)    
  • The fridge/freezer is empty of all food, the freezer has been defrosted, all shelves are clean and it has been switched off with the door left open    
  • All surfaces and the floor in the kitchen are clean and the bins are emptied    
  • All the cupboards are empty of goods and wiped clean    

Lounge, passageways and external

  • All communal areas have been vacuumed    
  • All rubbish has been removed    
  • The cellar has none of your items left in it    
  • No rubbish is left unbagged in the yard/garden    

Bedrooms

  • The rooms have been vacuumed (including under the bed and behind the wardrobe)    
  • All personal possessions have been removed    
  • All posters and blue tack or sellotape have been removed    
  • All rubbish is removed    
  • All furniture that was in the room at the beginning of the tenancy has been put back    
  • The curtains are hung properly on their hooks    
  • Paint work and windowsills have been wiped    
  • Furniture is empty and polished    

Bathroom

  • The toilet, sink and bath have been cleaned    
  • All others surfaces are clean, including the floor    
  • All toiletries have been removed and all bins emptied

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Find out what EPCs are and how they could save you money.

Contracts

The benefits of having a written contract

 A contract can be a verbal or written agreement. However, it is much better to have a written than a verbal agreement as this way both parties know what is expected of them. This clarity helps to avoid disputes that might otherwise arise.

Reviewing a contract before signing

Do not sign a contract if you're not happy with the terms or there are any aspects of the agreement you don't understand. You should always be given at least 24 hours to read the contract through. Where possible always get your contract checked - this service is normally available through your Students' Union Advice Centre. Never sign on the spot. Once signed, the contract is legally binding on all parties - you do not get a chance to change your mind.
 
Many Unipol Code landlords are now using the Unipol Model Tenancy Agreement.  This contract offers clearly understandable terms and is recommended by the Students' Unions.

Types of contract in use: what to look out for

 The type of contract you sign will depend on where you’ll be living:

  • a house, flat or bedsit rented directly from a landlord/agent
  • a room or flat rented from a university or college or
  • in the home of an owner to whom you pay rent

If you’re planning on moving into a shared property, you need to be aware that your contract will make you responsible and accountable to your landlord in one of two ways (e.g. for rent arrears and damage to the property):

  • joint liability
  • individual liability

Renting from a landlord/agent

Most landlords/agents use an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. This is for a fixed term of 12 months; that is, it has a start date and an end date. If you sign a fixed term contract you are liable to pay rent for the full period, unless there is a specific clause allowing you to give notice to quit (which is very rare). This type of agreement means that you are a tenant and have exclusive possession of the property. The landlord/agent can have access to the property (e.g. for repairs/inspections), but you should be given notice and they should only call during reasonable working hours.

Living with an owner

This can be a complex area and if problems occur you should seek advice. Normally, if you live with the owner of the property and share the accommodation, you will either be a licensee (if the owner of the property has unrestricted access to your room) or an excluded tenant (if you can lock your individual room(s). The length of the agreement will vary depending on whether the owner wants you to stay for a specified period of time, or if they are happy for you to stay on a periodic basis (e.g. month to month). You will have a bedroom and probably share the rest of the property with the owner and possibly other students.
 
There is a standard agreement available which both owners and tenants can use. This also serves as a useful checklist of issues that those living in an owner's house need to be clear about.

Living in university accommodation

You will normally sign a fixed-term agreement covering the full academic year (unless this is a short let). You will not be able to give notice to quit within the period of the contract. You will be an unprotected tenant and will have the right to occupy a specific room and common areas (i.e. bathroom/kitchen). Persons acting on behalf of the accommodation services can have access to the common parts (e.g. for cleaning purposes), but should not enter your individual room unless written notice is given.

Joint liability

If you have signed the same contract as your housemates and you all agree to take the property at the same time; you will be jointly and severally liable with each of your housemates for any rent arrears and/or damage to the property. So, if one tenant moves out, the landlord/agent can pursue the remaining tenants (as well as the tenant who has left) for any monies due.

IMG_0166.JPGIndividual liability

If you have a separate agreement between you and the landlord/agent, and another tenant leaves, the landlord/agent cannot ask that you cover their rent. You would be liable for any damage to your room. The landlord/agent can make a charge for any damage to communal areas but they have to first try and find out who was responsible.
 
You will also need to be absolutely clear about the terms and conditions. It is essential you read through and fully understand all the terms and conditions stated on the contract. This includes any handbook or additional contract sheets you are given. If there is a dispute then the contract is the first point of reference and would be used as the main source of evidence in any court case.
 
The contract should include the full contact details of the landlord/agent. If you are renting via an agency make sure you also have the landlord's full contact details. You are legally entitled to this information. If you have just a name and telephone number, it could be very difficult to pursue the landlord/agent should a dispute arise.
 
The contract should also make clear what rent payments are due and when. In addition to this, it should be clear who is responsible for the bills, e.g. water rates. Before you sign a contract, check that the advertised rent is what is stated on the contract. Errors do occur and if you sign the contract, it may be difficult to argue later, especially if you do not have the original advert.
 
Once a contract has been signed the terms and conditions cannot be altered unless both parties agree.
 
Never sign a contract on behalf of your housemates. Even if their name is on the contract, if they do not sign the agreement and decide not to move in, you could be held liable for the rent of the whole house.

Restrictions on the terms and conditions a landlord can write into a contract

Landlords are not free to write into contracts any terms and conditions they want. They are restricted in whay they can do by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (1999), which apply to all rented tenancies. Any clauses deemed unfair could be unenforceable. This only refers to the standard terms of a contract (not clauses that have been separately negotiated). Examples of Unfair Terms could be penalty charges, exclusion by the landlord/agent of accepting responsibility for loss or damage to personal property and ambiguous legal clauses.
 
If you have any queries, you can contact the Competition and Markets Authority (formerly the Office of Fair Trading) or your Students' Union Advice Services.

Guarantees and parents' financial liability

As part of the agreement, some landlord/agents will present you with a guarantee and ask you to get your parents to guarantee your rent. It is very important that any such guarantee specifically limits your parents' financial liability to just their son's or daughter's rent/damages. Unipol has prepared a model guarantee that does this. Before anyone signs, it is important that both you and your parents understand that if you default on rent or the cost of damage they will be responsible for making payment. 

Unipol have put together a model guarantor form that landlords can use to limit financial liability.

Model Guarantor Form
 
It is also important to understand that if you enter into a contract with joint liability and your parents sign a general guarantee, there is a significant financial risk to your parents. If another tenant moves out or fails to pay the rent, your parents could be taken to court under the terms of the guarantee, even if you have paid your rent. The advice is: don't ask your parents to enter into any guarantee which does not specify the limit of financial liability being guaranteed.

About 36% of bed spaces rented to students in Leeds and Bradford are let by landlords asking for guarantees, so there are plenty that don't impose this requirement. The use of guarantees is prevalent in larger developments and among landlords with only one or two houses, where rent default would mean a loss of a significant part of their income. If you have a credit rating or a reference from a previous landlord to provide comfort to a potential new landlord, then many landlords may reconsider their request for a guarantee.

If you have no parents or obvious guarantee, you should raise this with the landlord concerned. Many will be willing to accept that, for you, a guarantee may not be necessary and other arrangements may be more appropriate.

If you are an international student, a parent who is abroad is also unlikely to be appropriate because legal proceedings to enforce any arrangement outside the UK can be difficult.

If you are asking others to be a guarantor or if you are being asked by a student to be a guarantor, you should seek advice before signing any documentation. Generally, supervisors and tutors should always refuse to enter into these obligations, because it creates a financial relationship between them and their student which could cause a conflict of interest later.

Some common problems and questions

Q: I don’t get on with my housemates anymore and I want to move out – can I give the landlord/agent notice?

A: You must first check your contract. If there is a clause allowing you to give notice to quit, then, providing proper notice is given, you could move out. If you have signed a fixed term agreement with no such clause then you remain liable for the rent and need to find a replacement tenant.
 
If you are housed by your parent institution or by a larger supplier, you may be able to obtain a transfer to a different room in the same building or another part of their portfolio. This way there is no loss of income to the owner and you get to move away from the problem.
 
NB: if there is a serious household dispute and you feel forced to move out, seek advice from your Students' Union Advice Services or Accommodation Office before taking any action.

Q: We have signed a joint contract but one of our housemates has moved out. The landlord/agent is asking us for the money but we feel the tenant should pay - is this fair?

A: Fairness does not really come into it, The landlord's/agent's primary concern is to collect the rent. If a joint contract has been signed, the landlord/agent can decide who they want to chase for the rent. If the rent remains unpaid, either it can be taken from the collective deposits or if court action is taken, the landlord/agent is likely to issue a summons that names all the tenants. The best option is to try and find a suitable replacement as soon as possible. Try using the Student-2-student noticeboard.
 
It is always worth checking that you have indeed signed a joint contract. Check through this link whether your contract meets the conditions for joint liability. If not, then the landlord/agent cannot make a claim for the rent arrears.

Q: I want to move out of university accommodation but I have signed a contract for the full academic year.

A: Living in university accommodation can give more flexibility. It may be possible to transfer to another hall or flat or just to another room in the accommodation you are already in. The first step is to contact your Accommodation Office. If you simply move out or refuse offers of a transfer, it is likely that you will remain liable for the rent.
 
You can try and find a replacement through advertising. The replacement must be a student at your institution and ideally be in the same year as you.

Q: I have moved out of a shared house but my former housemates are refusing to accept my replacement tenant. What can I do?

A: If the contract is joint and several, the remaining household have the right to refuse a replacement tenant. However, they can only refuse on reasonable grounds such as the replacement tenant not being a student (liability for Council Tax). If they continue to refuse suitable replacements, it is important to notify the landlord/agent. They may decide to take action against the tenants if rent remains outstanding.
 
If you have an individual contract, you do not need to get the permission of others in the house. However, the landlord/agent does need to agree. It is rare that the landlord/agent refuses a replacement tenant and they would have to give good reasons for doing so.

Q: I have moved out of a shared house and found a replacement for my room. My housemates are happy with the replacement. What do I do next?

A: You need to contact the landlord/agent and see whether they will draw up a new contract to include your replacement. If they refuse, the next best thing is to sign an Assignment Notice. This will state that you are leaving, who is replacing you and from what date. The notice needs to be signed by you, your replacement tenant, the landlord/agent and the remaining tenants. Normally this would secure your release from the contract and you can request your deposit back. However, some Assignment Notices do include a section stating that you remain liable for the rent should your replacement fail to pay. This is legal and would mean that you have not been released from the contract.

Q: Our house is in a poor state of repair - can we move out?

A: It is very difficult to get out of a property on grounds of disrepair, unless the property lacks the basic facilities and services such as heating and running water; or you are in immediate danger. Disrepair is normally an issue of compensation rather than moving out. Seek advice from your Students' Union Advice Services or your Accommodation Office before you take any steps to move out of the property.

Q: Can our landlord/agent evict us if they want to?

A: All landlords must comply with the Protection from Eviction Act . Court action must be taken to remove you from the property/room. Under no circumstances can a landlord change the locks, refuse access or remove your possessions. This would amount to an illegal eviction and you could sue for damages. This applies to university accommodation as well as the private sector. However, if you live with an owner and are classed as an excluded tenant, your protection against eviction is more complicated and you will need to seek advice about your position.
 
If the housing provider (landlord/agent/university/private owner) wants you to leave early, you must look at the terms of your contract. If you have a fixed term agreement, possession will not normally be granted unless you are in breach of contract or the landlord/agent has stated in the contract that the property was recently their principal home (this is rare). There are set mandatory and discretionary grounds for eviction. Mandatory means that if the case is proven, the court will have no option but to grant possession (e.g. eight weeks’ rent arrears). A discretionary ground can be proven but the court will then make a decision whether it is reasonable for possession to be granted (e.g. if the landlord/agent claims the property has not been looked after by the tenants and the condition of the property has been adversely affected).
 
Repossession by lender (building society/bank) - a court may grant possession if the landlord has failed to make the mortgage payments. If the landlord has not informed the lender that they were renting the property out, the lender will not recognise you as tenants. As such they have the power to repossess the property with a Court Order. You can apply to the court for the order to be suspended for a short period of time, so that you can find alternative accommodation.
 
If you receive a notice seeking possession or a possession order, or if you have any other queries or concerns, please contact your Students' Union Advice Services office, your Accommodation Office or Unipol to book an appointment with our Solicitor's Service.

Model tenancy Agreements

Unipol has developed its own tenancy agreements in consultation with landlords and student tenants. It is important to remember that the tenancy agreement you sign becomes legally binding and is a complex legal contract. We are aware that they can be confusing and difficult to understand. That is why we have provided guidance and information on what to expect and what things mean.

A guide to moving in and out of properties

Whether you are moving in or out of a property, there will be things you can do beforehand to make it is as stress-free as possible. So read on and get clued up!

Moving out

Cleaning

Moving in

On the day

Security - reducing the risks

Change of address details

Getting on with your Neighbours

Complaints

Moving out

Feeling Stressed about moving home already? As long as you find out what you need to do it can be really simple and pain free. So read this guide and pick up a copy of our deposit leaflet, available from any of our branches, including many of the support service outlets at your institution and Students’ Union. If you are renting from your university, college or a larger owner, they may have provided a tenants’ handbook when you moved in or information on what you need to do when you move out. This is likely to include a list of charges you may incur if you have damaged anything. If in doubt, ask now.

Cleaning - Oh No!

If you are renting a shared property you are all jointly responsible for its condition when you move out, although the degree of joint liability can vary depending on the type of tenancy agreement you’ve signed. As a rule of thumb communal areas will almost always be the responsibility of everyone. Remember all the landlord/agent wants is a property returned in an acceptably clean condition to hand over to the new tenants moving in.

Read on and keep the marigolds nearby.

  • Work out in advance how you will clean the property and divide up the tasks for the communal areas. That is the kitchen, bathroom, lounge, corridors, stairs and any outside space and cellar area.
  • It is a good idea to talk to your mates now and try to agree a day to get together to clean up, as everyone starts disappearing after exams.
  • Use the checklist to keep you on track.

If you are renting a shared property you are all jointly responsible for its condition at the end of your tenancy. Generally, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom is 50% of the task of cleaning the whole property, so just cleaning your own room is not contributing your fair share.

Bathroom
Not cleaning the toilet or the bathroom suite can cost £50 - £100. This is the time it can take for professional cleaners to clean the area properly.

Oven and grill
It can take a lot of cleaning to do this properly. This again could take two visits for cleaning fluid to be left overnight and can cost in excess of £95.00.

Top tips for moving out

  1. Why not ask your landlord/ agent to do an inspection to point out anything you need to do to return the house in an acceptable condition?
  2. Taking a stand and not cleaning the house because no one else is will not be an acceptable reasonfor your landlord! You will all end up losing some of your deposits.

Utility bills - closing your accounts

The landlord/agent may retain your deposit until you provide written proof showing that all the bills have been paid. This may include an exemption letter for your Council Tax bills. This stipulation, if applicable, should be set out in your contract.

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know the final date of your tenancy. Read the meters on the final day and inform the company to close your account and get the final bill sent on to your forwarding address. Keep a record of the meter readings. As soon as you have paid the final bills, make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent.

Moving in

Before you arrive

  • Make sure you have contact details for your landlord and arrange a collection time for your keys. Top Tip: if there is a burglar alarm, make sure the landlord gives you the code so you can use it straightaway.
  • Get contact details for your housemates, if you don’t already have them.
  • Make sure you have a copy of the tenancy agreement for reference purposes
  • Think about the bank account you will be using to pay your rent: it is important that rent payments are made on time. You will be charged if the payment doesn’t go through.
  • It is worthwhile considering if you will really need your car in Leeds. You could save money by leaving your car at home and transport links are very good.
  • Find out how parking works outside your house. Will you require a permit? How many spaces are available? Decide between your housemates which of you will bring cars. If you need permits, try and organise them before you move in to avoid receiving hefty fines at the beginning of the year. To apply for a permit you will need to fill in an application form from the relevant local council and send proof of residency plus a valid certificate of motor insurance for your vehicle. A signed tenancy agreement will be accepted as proof of residence, so you can apply as soon as you receive this from your landlord.
  • Try to organise a visitor’s permit before you move in, so that parents don’t receive a parking ticket when they are helping you and your housemates move in. If you do receive a ticket while your application for a permit is being processed, you can appeal.

On the day

When you get your keys and can finally move into your house, it’s probably a few months since you last saw it and it might be different to how you remember it. Be careful when you are moving in your belongings. Don’t leave the car or house open and unattended as this is a prime time for opportunist thieves to steal your valuables!

Once you're inside your property, check it thoroughly and consider how it compares with when you saw it at the time of signing the contract. Take photos of the property (including any wear and tear damage) so that you have proof of its condition as you take over the occupancy. Inform the owner straightaway of anything you are concerned about.

Check off the fixtures and fittings against the inventory (if available) and if anything is missing or damaged, make a note of it, take a photo and once again contact the landlord. If things are damaged, dirty or missing when you move in, take photos and write a list of repairs in priority order and how you would like the issue resolving. Write to the landlord with this list, giving them a reasonable time in which to respond. If you do not report things at this point, you may find yourself paying for it out of your deposit at the end of the year. Equally with your own possessions, you may want to identify them by marking them with your postcode.

All properties should have a Periodic Electrical Safety Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate. If you haven’t already done so, ask your landlord to let you see these. Make a note of the renewal dates so that you are aware of whether they will need renewing during your tenancy.

Cleanliness

Was the house clean when you arrived? If it wasn't, inform the owner in writing.

Escape

If there was a fire in the main access passageways of the house, could you get out?

Repairs

Do any repairs need doing? If so, inform the owner in writing.

Decoration AND Furniture

Does any decorating need doing? If so, find out who is going to do it and who is responsible for paying for it. Most owners don’t allow tenants to decorate, so don’t start putting up shelves or hammering nails into the wall without seeking their permission. Some landlords may not allow blue tack on the walls, so check this as well. If you require more cupboard space or new furniture in your room, ask your landlord if they can provide some. TOP TIP: if you bring furniture in to the house and wish to remove the landlord's, check that they are OK with you storing it somewhere else - and get this in writing

Utilities - setting up your accounts

Take meter readings of your gas, electricity and water meters immediately. Register with the relevant utility companies and, if possible, register everyone in the house, so that no one has to take individual responsibility. If you don’t jointly register and some one moves out, it will be extremely difficult for you to get their share of the bills.

Who supplies my energy?

Transco (Who supplies my gas?) 0870 608 1524
Meter Point Administration Service (Who supplies my electricity?)  0870 608 1524

Can you find the stop taps for water, gas and electricity? Ask your accommodation provider.

Security - Reducing the risks

Security can be a problem in student areas. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the risks.

  • If a burglar alarm is fitted to your property, make sure you find out how to activate it and switch it on whenever the property is empty
  • Always lock exterior doors when coming in and out of properties and only leave windows unlocked if you are in the same room
  • Even when in the house, keep exterior doors locked to prevent intruders entering your property
  • Be wary of people calling at your door unexpectedly. Ask for ID from visitors claiming to require access to your home for a specific reason
  • Ensure your car is parked safely and is always locked. Don’t leave valuables in it!
  • If you own a bike, ensure it is locked up securely
  • Take out insurance for your belongings if they are not already covered under your parents’ home insurance policy. Do your research and make sure you fully understand the policy. (For example, some policies may only insure valuables left in your room.)

By following the simple steps above, you’ll ensure your personal safety and minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Bike Marking

Unfortunately cycle theft, especially on campus, is a fairly common crime. If you have your bike marked, police will be able to track your bike and get it back to you, if it has been stolen and subsequently recovered.

Change of Address Details

There are some people you may need to inform of your change of address. You may want to consider:

  • university/college, when you re-register at the start of term
  • your bank / building society
  • your car insurance providers
  • utility companies

Getting on with the neighbours

Remember you are part of a community - take some pride in it. There are many things you can do to live in the community successfully. When you arrive, introduce yourselves to your immediate neighbours and find out what they’re like. If they’ve got young children who may be disturbed by noise, be sensitive to this. Tell your neighbours about any parties and keep the noise down after 11pm, if you have friends round. If you’re coming home late at night don’t talk loudly outside or bang car doors. Chances are that if you are considerate, your neighbours will be less likely to complain and more likely to look after your house while you’re away. This helps to improve the general security of the area.

Complaints?

If your landlord isn't accredited, you still have what's called a Right of Redress. This is an independent complaints process - for more info click here.

Living in the community - Leeds

Find out how to get on with longer term members of the local community, how to stay safe and how to contribute positively to community life

Living in the community - Bradford

Your living environment

How to keep on the right side of your neighbours

Managing noise levels

Security - reducing the risks

Want to do more in the local community?

Your living environment

You may be living exclusively among other students or you may be living in a wider, more mixed community.

The majority of students attending the main campus live in the BD5 and BD7 postcodes areas of Bradford that contain the popular student districts of Lister Hills, Shear Bridge, Great Horton and Little Horton. Students at the School of Management also live in the Manningham, Shipley and Frizinghall areas.

Even though most students live in these areas only for a few years, there is a sizeable number of people who have lived there a lot longer and have seen many students come and go. These people may be connected with higher education, for example, ex-students and lecturers, or they may be people who have always lived in the area. They may be young single people, elderly people or families with or without children - in short, they may be people like you, your friends and your family.

How to keep on the right side of your neighbours

Sometimes friction builds up between students and their neighbours. Most tension of this kind can be avoided by simply thinking about how other people may feel about what you do. In fact, that applies even if your neighbours are students.
 
There are a number of things you can do to live in the community successfully. Some are general good neighbourliness and all will increase your security and peace of mind. Look at our checklist of what and what not to do to keep on the right side of your neighbours.

  • When you arrive, introduce yourselves to your immediate neighbours. Find out what they are like, if they've got young children who may be disturbed by noise and ask them to pop round if they have any problems. Chances are, if you do this, they'll never come round to complain. They will, however, be more likely to look after your house while you're away. This helps to improve the general security of the area.
  • Tell your neighbours about any parties and remember to keep the noise down after around 10pm if you have friends round. Some people have to get up very early for work or for their children, and they need their sleep.
  • Remember to be considerate when going home late at night by not talking loudly outdoors or banging car doors.
  • Try to keep any garden or yard tidy. It may not be your responsibility to do the garden, but it is your job to keep it clear of rubbish. If you haven't got a bin, contact the owner.Code owners are asked to ensure that gardens are well maintained. If they don’t do this, you or your neighbours can complain to Unipol. For non-Code properties, check your contract to make sure who is responsible for the outside areas. It is important to keep hedges and tall plants under control as they can become a security risk.
  • Always put rubbish in a bin. Ask the neighbours when the bins are emptied. If you put out bin bags they may be ripped open by cats, foxes or other animals and it will be your responsibility to clean up the mess.
  • If the area you live in has wheelie bins, make sure you wheel your bin out for collection on the correct day and put it back straight afterwards. If you persistently leave your wheelie bin on the street, you can be fined. If your rubbish isn’t being collected regularly, contact the council and tell them.
  • If the outside of your house is looking untidy, for example if all the paint is peeling on the windows, put pressure on the owner or agent to improve things.
  • Take some interest in the area, for example, if someone is tipping in an alleyway nearby, report it to the council. If an empty property is being vandalised, report it to the police.
  • Don't throw litter in other people's gardens or yards.
  • If you're bothered about issues in the area, get involved in community groups - lots of students do. There are many different types. Ask your students' union for details.

Managing noise levels

A further word on noise, given that it can be a particularly tricky issue. It can cause deep upset between neighbours and lead people to resort to calling in the local authorities to deal with. Local councils have legal powers to take action on noise pollution. Ultimately, this can result in the confiscation of equipment and/or a fine of up to £5,000. If you experience problems such as loud music late at night/early hours of the morning, report it to your local environmental health department. They will investigate your complaint and send a letter to the offending party. If the problem continues, noise monitoring equipment may be used. The evidence gathered from this could be used in any legal action.

A landlord/agent can take action in the courts to repossess a property on the grounds of nuisance. This covers behaviour that is likely to cause nuisance and annoyance to surrounding neighbours by either a tenant or their friends. If you experience problems of harassment or intimidation, contact your owner/agent. If they take no action, seek legal advice.

Remember that you are part of a community and these powers are also open to your neighbours

Security - reducing the risks

Security can be a problem in Bradford's student areas. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce the risks.

  • If a burglar alarm is fitted to your property, make sure you find out how to activate it and switch it on whenever the property is empty
  • Always lock exterior doors when coming in and out of properties and only leave windows unlocked if you are in the same room
  • Even when in the house, keep exterior doors locked to prevent intruders entering your property
  • Be wary of people calling at your door unexpectedly. Ask for ID from visitors claiming to require access to your home for a specific reason
  • Ensure your car is parked safely and is always locked. Don’t leave valuables in it!
  • If you own a bike, ensure it is locked up securely
  • Take out insurance for your belongings if they are not already covered under your parents’ home insurance policy. Do your research and make sure you fully understand the policy. (For example, some policies may only insure valuables left in your room.)

By following the simple steps above, you’ll ensure your personal safety and minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crime. For more information on security in your home and personal safety when you are out and about please see the Knowledge website.

Bike Marking

Unfortunately cycle theft, especially on campus, is a fairly common crime. If you have your bike marked, police will be able to track your bike and get it back to you, if it has been stolen and subsequently recovered.

Want to do more in the local community?

If you’re concerned about issues in the area, get involved in community groups or the Unipol Student Forum - lots of students do. Ask at your Students’ Union for details of local community groups.

 

Living in the community - Nottingham

Find out how to get along with longer term members of the local community, how to stay safe and how to contribute positively to community life

Students Studying at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD)

Unipol works in partnership with NSCD to offer you the best possible advice and information on finding suitable accommodation

photograph of the dancer was taken by Chris Nash.

Whether you are a prospective student coming to Leeds for the first time or already living in Leeds and wanting to find something for next year:

Unipol is the first place to start your search

Unipol offers properties that it owns or manages for other landlords and a database packed full of quality properties from private landlords and managing agents.


 

The website displays many different types of properties, from bedsits to self-contained flats, rooms in shared houses to rooms and studios in large developments.

Unipol can offer properties close to your school in Chapeltown and Harehills or properties in popular student areas, like Headingley, Hyde Park and the City Centre, close to transport links.

Unipol is committed not only to offer you a wide range of properties but to also offer you the highest quality of accommodation and we do this through our accreditation scheme known as the Unipol Code.

Areas to consider when house hunting

Below is some information on popular locations with students at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, along with details on other areas popular with students more generally.

Chapeltown and Harehills

Living close to college is the top priority for some students. Chapeltown is not a traditional student area but has properties available for students. It has the advantage of good local amenities and good transport routes in to the City Centre.

Chapeltown is approximately one mile north of Leeds City Centre. In the nineteenth century, the area was constructed as a wealthy suburb, and many large terraces and villas from the period remain, though a large proportion are now divided up into smaller, lower-rent flats. The area remains leafy and architecturally notable. Buildings have been adapted over the years by successive communities who have settled in the area as places of worship and for a range of social uses.

Throughout its history Chapeltown has been home to successive emigre communities that have each added a new dimension to the culture, religious practices and heritage of the area. In 1932 the Chapeltown Road New Synagogue, a large domed Byzantine style building, was opened. The artist David Hillman was commissioned, in 1935, to design three stained-glass windows for the shul in commemoration of the Silver Jubilee of King George V. These have since been moved to Shadwell Lane Synagogue. In the following decades the Jewish population in Chapeltown began to decline with many families moving further north to the Moortown area.

Photograph above was taken by Brian Slater 

In 1985 the synagogue closed and the building was bought by Leeds City Council. It is now home to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. 

Harehills is another popular area to look for Dance students and again is a vibrant culturally diverse area and borders Chapeltown.

Roundhay is approximately 2 miles from the School and has a wide variety of housing. There is a mixture of Victorian through terraces, villas and twentieth century detached and semi detached housing.  Roundhay is known for its Victorian park, the second largest city park in Europe. So if you don't mind a short commute Roundhay with its leafy suburbs may be for you.

City Centre Living

Leeds City Centre has boomed over recent years and there has been a massive explosion of housing provision. A surplus of properties across the city has lead to areas such as the City Centre becoming more affordable and many more students are living there.  The City Centre is roughly divided in to 4 quarters:

The Civic Quarter is the area at the north of the City Centre, home to the Leeds Magistrates and Crown Courts. Leeds Town Hall is a prominent landmark. The City Library and City Gallery are next door. Behind Leeds Town Hall is Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, two other prominent Leeds landmarks. The Civic Quarter also lies in close proximity to the universities of Leeds Beckett University, University of Leeds and other academic institutions such as Leeds Arts University and the Park Lane and Technology campuses of Leeds City College.

The Shopping Quarter is home to many of city's largest shops. Like any major city the shopping district has major international chains, including Marks & Spencer (founded in 1894 on a small stall at the city's market), luxury stores such as Harvey Nichols and many independent shops. Off Briggate are several of Leeds' famous shopping arcades, such as the Thornton Arcade and the Victoria Quarter.

The Cultural Quarter is situated in the east of the City Centre. Landmarks here include the BBC building, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the home of Northern Ballet and the Leeds College of Music. The Cultural Quarter is also where the Royal Armouries Museum can be found and has become one of the city's major tourist attractions.

The Financial Quarter is centred around the Georgian Park Square, one of the green spaces in Leeds city centre. Leeds Law School is located at Cloth Hall Court. Major names can be found in the financial quarter such as Norwich Union and The Bank of England. Infirmary Street is a major bus interchange in the financial district. The railway station which lies on the fringes of the financial district also has a bus interchange.

For Dance School students City Centre living is a good option as transport links are very good.  

Unipol has properties in the Civic Quarter (Alexander Court), the Shopping Quarter (New York Street) and the Cultural Quarter (Mill Street).

These developments are intended for students who want to be "at the heart" of a dynamic and thriving city, with restaurants, bars and life all around them. Many students have part-time jobs in the city and for those who live in these developments they are often just round the corner from work.

Other areas to consider

If you are looking for that full-on student experience there may be other areas that you would enjoy living in. There are other areas in Leeds that have good access links to the School, which have good local amenities and are still close to the City Centre. Below we will talk through the main areas we recommend for you to think about when looking for accommodation.

Hyde Park and Burley

Both these areas are close to the City Centre and if you choose the streets quite carefully you can get a property within a short walk of Burley Park Railway station, which offers a direct service to the City Centre and there are numerous buses that you can catch too.

Hyde Park is the most popular student area of the moment, offering a trendy and vibrant student scene, with amenities such as a cinema that specialises in Art House films; to independent vintage shops and cafes; to pubs and the Brudenell Social Club, where many of the great independent music scene bands visit. Many students from all the institutions choose to live in this area and this will certainly be a great way to meet more people. The housing choice in Hyde Park is a little less varied than some and mostly comprises terraced housing and back to back properties. Burley, not quite as trendy as Hyde Park, offers the proximity to Hyde Park and Headingley but tends to offer lower rents so would be a good choice for those on a tighter budget.

Headingley

A very popular and vibrant student area, where students from all institutions enjoy living and socialising. It has a range of facilities and amenities including a cinema, lots of bars, pubs, restaurants and shops and hosts the Headingley cricket and rugby league grounds. Housing costs are higher than average but due to the surplus of student housing in the area students are encouraged to try and negotiate with landlords. For example: There has been an increase in the percentage of unlet bed spaces in Headingley from 23% to 27% and although this does not seem dramatic this is the largest concentration of surplus bed spaces in Leeds.

Headingley has great links to the City Centre with buses running every few minutes from Otley Road, where the main shopping centre is located, in to the City Bus Station. Buses run frequently from here up Chapeltown Road to your school.  Headingley also has its own train station, with a direct service running to the City Centre and beyond.

Unipol has many properties within its own housing portfolio available in Headingley, Hyde Park and Burley. Find out the benefits of living in a Unipol property by looking at the Unipol housing section or using the link below.

The Photograph the dancer was taken by Chris Nash.

Disrepair - Leeds

Who is responsible for repairs and what to do if they are needed.

Disrepair - Bradford

Reasonable expectations on the repair of a property

Your landlord/agent is only legally obliged to repair the property and maintain it to a safe standard. They do not have to make improvements unless they are written into the contract.

Your rights to repair will differ if you live in a property with the owner or if you rent from a landlord/agent and have exclusive possession of the property.

Renting from a landlord/agent

This is where you have signed a contract either direct with the landlord or via an agency. If it is the latter, it is important to remember that both landlord and the agent who represents them, have equal responsibilities for ensuring repairs are carried out. So the agent cannot refuse to undertake essential repairs by simply saying that the landlord will not authorise the works to be done.

You have a legal right to live in a property that is safe and well maintained. The landlord/agent has a legal responsibility to:

  • maintain the structure and exterior of the house. This includes, roofs, guttering, windows, drains and garden walls
  • have all gas appliances serviced and checked every 12 months by a Gas Safe registered engineer (see gas safety information)
  • Automatically provide a copy of the gas service record to tenants when they move in/or have one displayed in the property
  • keep in working order the installations for the supply of gas, electricity, water and sanitation. This includes pipes to and from the house
  • repair the sinks, WC, hot water, space heaters and gas appliances
  • repair and maintain any appliances that are in the property when you move in. This includes cooker, fridge, freezer, burglar alarm and fire detection systems. The landlord is not responsible for any appliance that you take into the house, e.g. television or microwave.
  • provide adequate bathroom and kitchen facilities
  • make good any damage to the decoration of the property caused by the repairs and clean up afterwards.
  • cover reasonable costs for alternative accommodation if you need to move out during repairs.

The landlord/agent can not pass on responsibility for these legal obligations by putting clauses in your contract. For example, making you responsible for maintenance of drains or gas fires where central heating has been installed.

Repair and living with the owner

If you live with an owner you have fewer rights to repair, unless your contract is specific about what repairs the owner has agreed to cover. If your contract is not specific, but the disrepair is likely to endanger the health and safety of the household or members of the public, the local environmental health department can request essential works are carried out. This could cover gas safety and damage to the structure of the building.

Repair and the tenant's responsibilities

You should always treat the property in a ‘tenant like manner’. This means:

  • report all disrepair promptly. If further damage is caused because a repair was not reported at the time a problem occurred or was spotted (e.g. a leak from the roof that damages the ceiling and/or walls), the landlord/agent may charge the household for any excess damage.
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure that you and your guests do not damage the property
  • undertake minor day to day maintenance, for example unblocking sinks and replacing light bulbs
  • keep the property clean, including the cooker, fridge and freezer, toilet, bath/shower area.
  • protect the property during periods of absence. If you have a burglar alarm, make sure you use it and that all doors/windows are secure when you leave the property.
  • In the winter ensure that the heating is kept on a low heat to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • keep the garden and bin areas clean and tidy. All rubbish should be carefully bagged and put in the rubbish bins provided. The local environmental health department has the power to fine residents for untidy garden/bin areas. If you have excess rubbish contact your local council cleansing department who may remove it free of charge (number at the end of this booklet)
  • stick to the terms of your tenancy agreement. This includes not smoking in the house if stated in your contract
  • do not tamper with equipment in the house, particularly smoke detectors and fire doors. They have been fitted for your own safety.

Take steps to prevent condensation

Condensation is caused when moisture meets a cold surface (such as a window) or a surface that gets little air (e.g. behind a wardrobe) and water droplets are formed. The water then seeps into windows and/or runs down the walls, which in turn can cause wallpaper/paint to peel and create mould patches. It is your responsibility to prevent it. This can be done by:

  • closing the kitchen door when cooking and, if possible, keeping a window open. Use extractor fans where provided
  • covering pans when boiling
  • keeping the door shut, when having a bath/shower. Open a window/use extractor fan (if provided) and keep the bathroom door shut when you have finished
  • drying clothes outside or in a room with a window open
  • keeping heating on a low constant temperature, increasing the heat as and when required. This will eliminate the cold surfaces. This would not necessary increase your bills because a room is more expensive to heat from cold.
  • moving large items away from walls, e.g. beds/wardrobes.

Help available from agencies in the event of poor property repair and landlord response

All local authorities have an environmental health department, which have considerable powers. Environmental health officers will investigate complaints of disrepair, including in relation to:

  • gas safety
  • electrical safety
  • fire safety and means of escape
  • problems of damp.

They also deal with complaints about:

  • overcrowding
  • noise problems
  • pests.

Environmental health officers have the power to serve legal notices on the owner, requiring works to be carried out within certain time limits. They can also prosecute the owner, if the works are not done. Bear in mind though that the process they have to work to is not always quick, unless there is an immediate risk to the health/safety of the household. Always contact the owner or their agent to get repairs done before involving environmental health. Keep the authorities in reserve for  the eventiality of the owner refusing or failing to undertake repairs.

You can arrange for an inspection by contacting an environmental health officer, giving them a brief description of the disrepair. They will then arrange a date and time to visit. The service is free of charge.

Gas safety

It is a criminal offence for a landlord/agent not to have all gas appliances serviced and checked every 12 months, or for them to use someone who is not a Gas Safe registered engineer. The service record should either be given to you when you move in or displayed in the property.

If the landlord/agent refuses to have the gas appliances serviced, or they do not act on concerns that you raise, contact environmental health. They will check the appliances are safe and can then serve legal notices on the landlord/agent to have a full service carried out. They can also report them to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for not carrying out their legal obligations. The HSE have the power to instigate criminal proceedings against the landlord/agent.

In the case of a gas leak, contact Transco. If there is a fault, they may make the appliance safe by disconnecting the service, but they have no power to request that the landlord/agent carries out repairs.

All registered engineers should have an ID card, with a photograph, their name and business details. On the back of the card will be a list of the types of work that they are competent. Ask to see this identification card before any work is carried out. If you are unsure whether they are a Gas Safe registered engineer, check with Gas Safe. You will need to give the engineer's name and business details and registration number (if available).

Check Out The Gas Safe Register's Student Guide.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is highly dangerous to people and animals, and is produced by appliances that burn fossil fuels such as gas or coal. Even an appliance that has been serviced regularly can produce carbon monoxide.

Never cover or block air vents.

What are the warning signs?

The warning signs that carbon monoxide is being produced in your home environment are not always obvious:

  • the fire may be less efficient and go out more frequently
  • there may be stains or discolouring around the top of the fire
  • there may be only flickering yellows/orange flames instead of blue, yellow/orange
  • you may feel drowsy, have more headaches or feel dizziness when getting up
  • you may have slight palpitations, stomach pains or diarrhoea.

If you have any doubts or experience any of the physical symptoms, stop using the appliance immediately and open windows to allow fresh air to circulate. Contact the landlord/agent to request that the appliance be checked. It is important to note that faults can occur at any time. So even if the appliance has recently been checked, always act on your concerns.

British Standard audio carbon monoxide alarms cost around £30. If your landlord has not supplied an alarm, you could purchase one with your housemates and take it with you when you leave.

Electrical safety

Dangerous electrical appliances or damaged sockets can cause fire or serious injury. Although there is no legal requirement for the landlord/agent to carry out regular checks, they are responsible for ensuring that the installations and appliances are safe to use. However, landlord/agents who have signed up to the Unipol Code are required to carry out a five-year check.

What Are The Warning Signs?

  • broken plug sockets
  • plugs that get hot when they are used
  • sparks from electrical appliances/sockets
  • fuses which continually blow
  • loose switches
  • exposed wiring

Note that frequently having to replace light bulbs is not necessarily a sign of problem wiring. Try a different make of light bulb ( perhaps more expensive) before reporting the problem.

Fire safety

All soft furnishings such as sofas, armchairs, cushions and bedroom furniture must comply with fire safety standards and be made from fire resistant materials.

Most new furniture should have a permanent label to show that it meets with the Fire Safety Regulations. If your furniture does have the necessary labels, check with the landlord/agent. If you have any concerns, contact Trading Standards who have the power to enforce the legislation.

A landlord/agent may ask you to remove furniture you bring from home, if it does not meet with the standards.

Points of safety

Landlord/agents put in fire detection systems for your safety and the protection of their property.

So please

  • do not remove the self closing mechanisms on fire doors
  • do not prop fire doors open
  • never cover up or remove batteries from smoke or heat detectors. If a fire breaks out you risk death or serious injury to yourself or other tenants. The landlord/agent could sue for damage caused to their property. Usually if the battery detector bleeps, the battery needs changing.
  • always put candles on a protected surface.
  • never leave a candle lit when you go to sleep or leave the room.
  • test smoke alarms once a week.

Inform the landlord/agent immediately, if the fire extinguisher or fire blanket has been used. If either are used inappropriately, the household could be charged for a replacement.

Pest control

The Pest Control Service at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council charges for dealing with all pests (rats, mice, wasps, fleas, bedbugs, cockroaches, ants, pharaoh ants, cluster flies and moles).

Mice can be attracted to a property because of overflowing bins and food scraps and fleas can be brought into the house if you have pets. If this is the case, any charge incurred by the landlord/agent can be passed on to you. You should contact your landlord, if the property you are staying in is affected by any of these pests.

The Unipol Code

Unipol operates an accreditation scheme that goes beyond the basic legal requirements. It includes:

  • time limits for getting repairs done
  • the relationship between tenant and owner/agent
  • recovering of deposits
  • fire and electrical safety
  • security.

If your landlord/agent is a member of the Unipol Code, you, as a tenant, are entitled to raise a complaint against them under the Code provisions, if the necessity arises. If you feel that your owner/agent is not complying with the Code, please raise this with them. If you do not get a satisfactory response, you can make a complaint to the Unipol Code Officer.

Copies of the terms of the Code and complaint forms are available on this website or from Unipol Student Homes.

Getting your landlord to do repairs

Report all repairs immediately. The owner’s responsibility for repairs goes from when they are aware, or could reasonably be expected to know, of the disrepair. If you wish to move out because of disrepair, you are strongly advised to seek advice first as you could still be liable for the rent.

Always report repairs in writing (see sample letter A). Problems can occur when you just report disrepair over the phone: you may speak to the wrong person; the message may be lost; or the incorrect details could be taken down. If you later want to claim a rent rebate because of disrepair, you will need some proof as to when the disrepair was first reported.

If an owner has their own repair forms, make sure you use them, but always ask for a photocopy of any forms you complete. Be specific: state the exact problem, which room and what the effects of the disrepair are.

Ideally, the landlord/agent should arrange a suitable time and date with you. Access should not be given to workmen without your prior agreement unless the repair is an emergency. Workmen should always secure the property when leaving and should clean up after they have finished. If you have any problems whilst work is being carried out, raise them with the landlord/agent.

Always give the landlord/agent a reasonable timescale to work to. The following set of priorities represents what we consider to be good practice:

Priority One: emergency repairs - within 24 hours

Any repairs required in order to avoid a danger to health, risk to the safety of residents or serious damage to buildings or residents' belongings. For example: gas appliances, no hot water, broken WC, external door locks.

Priority Two: urgent repairs - within five working days

Repairs to defects that materially affect the comfort or convenience of the residents. For example: leaking roofs, minor mice infestation or minor cracks in windows.

Priority Three: non-urgent day-to-day repairs - within 28 days

Repairs that are not covered by the above two categories. For example, guttering, replacing window frames.

Course of action if the repairs are not carried out

If your landlord fails to undertake a repair, once reported, send a follow up letter (see sample letter B), stating that repairs are still outstanding. Depending on the nature of the disrepair, give the landlord/agent between 24 hours and 36 hours to respond.

If the landlord/agent does not respond to you regarding a repair that they are legally responsible to make, you may wish to go ahead and do the works and withhold rent on account. You have to be careful about how you do this. Legally, you must do the following:

  • inform the landlord/agent of your intention to get the works done and deduct the expense from future rent
  • allow a further period for the landlord to do the works
  • obtain three estimates, send copies to the landlord/agent with a final warning
  • choose the person submitting the cheapest estimate to do the work
  • send a copy of the invoice to the landlord and ask for reimbursement or recoup the cost from your rent.

You need to do this carefully as the landlord/owner has mandatory grounds for repossession, i.e. can take steps to try and evict you if the rent is two months or eight weeks in arrears. It is safer to pay rent and claim damages.

Making a compensation claim for a landlord's failure to carry out a repair

If you have suffered financial loss, inconvenience or damage to your property as a result of disrepair, you may have a case to claim a rent rebate from the landlord/agent. Examples include: loss of cooking facilities for more than 24 hours; having to move out of your bedroom or having lost the use of the lounge as a result of serious or extensive disrepair; and loss of facilities such as a shower, bath or hot water.

Discuss the issue of a rent rebate with the landlord/agent first. You need to  state clearly why you feel compensation is warranted, giving specific examples. If an agreement cannot be reached, you could deduct the money from your rent. However, you must be aware that if the landlord/agent disagrees with your claim, they could take the money from your deposit or take action in the small claims court to recover any shortfall in rent. Seek advice before taking the step of deducting rent.

Click here for local sources of help and advice on repair and safety issues.

Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council

  • reporting disrepair and noise problems
  • Environmental Health Department Tel: 01274 436466
  • Rubbish Collection Cleansing Department Tel: 01274 436466
  • pest control Tel: 01274 433926

Trading Standards

  • Checking furniture meets with fire safety regulations Tel: 08454 04 05 06

Gas Safe

  • Gas leaks Tel: 0800 4085500
  • Gas Safe Register - Student Guide

Disrepair - Nottingham

Who is responsible for repairs and what to do if they are needed

Help and Advice - Leeds

Unipol Student Homes
Tel: 0113 243 0169
Fax: 0113 234 35 49
E.mail: info@unipol.leeds.ac.uk
Web: www.unipol.leeds.ac.uk
Unipol tenants only: housing@unipol.leeds.ac.uk

Your Leeds Housing Hub Team
We are a friendly and knowledgeable team, here to help and offer advice. Below is a bit about us and details of who to contact if you have any problems.

Lynne Wilson - Hub Advisor

Lynne's role involves supporting both students and landlords.  Below are a few of the areas Lynne can help with:

For students:

  • Contract Checking
  • Mediating with landlords or other tenants to resolve problems
  • Help with starting a Code complaint
  • signposting to other support services

For landlords:

  • Checking and improving adverts
  • What the current legislation requirements mean for you 
  • What services are available through Unipol
  • Tenant dispute mediation
  • Signposting to other support services
To contact Lynne please email or call 0113 243 0169.
 

George, India and Hannah - Housing Hub Assistants

 HannahBlades-(1).png
Like you George, India and Hannah are students. They are working at Unipol part-time helping their fellow students to find suitable good quality accommodation and assist our landlords to advertise their properties. To contact the hub about advertising or for general house hunting advice please email or call 0113 243 0169.

Amy Lawson - Hub Marketing Officer

Amy looks after all aspects of marketing for the hub.  This involves organising student campaigns and events and developing marketing strategies for landlords and managing agents to help them get the most out of their advertising through Unipol.  Amy ensures that all our consumers receive the same high quality of service.  

You can contact Amy on 0113 205 3430 or by email.


Victoria Peckitt - Code Complaints Handler

Victoria is available to help any student or representative who lives in a property covered by the Unipol Code and is experiencing problems with their tenancy. If you feel that your landlord is not complying fully with the terms of the Code, she will be able to advise and, if necessary, help you lodge a formal complaint.

You can contact Victoria on 0113 243 0169 or by email. Alternatively you can find more information about making a complaint under the Code here  

Leeds University Union Student Advice Centre, First Floor of the Union Building

Telephone: 0113 380 1290
E.mail: advice@luu.leeds.ac.uk
Web: www.luu.org.uk/helpandadvice/browse/

Leeds Beckett Students Union Student Advice Service, Portland Building (1st Floor)
Telphone: 0113 812 8400
Email: suadvice@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Web: http://www.leedsbeckettsu.co.uk/advice

University of Leeds Accommodation Office
Email: accom@leeds.ac.uk
Tel: 0113 343 7777
Web: www.leeds.ac.uk/accommodation

Leeds Beckett University Accommodation Office
Telephone 0113 812 5972
Web: https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/accommodation/

Leeds Trinity University College Union
Web: www.ltsu.co.uk

Leeds City Council Environmental Services
(includes disrepair, noise Problems, refuse collection, pest control)
Tel: 0113 222 4406
Trading Standards: 0845 404 0506
Checking furniture meets with fire safety regulations Tel: 0113 253 0214

Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies Health and Safety Executive
Information Line: 0845 345 0055
Web: www.hse.gov.uk
Leeds Fax: 0113 283 4382

Yorkshire Water
Enquiries 0845 1242424
Leakline 0800 573 553 Yorkshire Electricity
To report a power failure Telephone 0800 375 675
 

Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies

Health and Safety Executive
Information Line: 0845 345 0055
Web: www.hse.gov.uk
Leeds Fax: 0113 283 4382

Gas Safe Register
National Watchdog for Gas Safety in Britain useful to check gas engineers registration.
Tel: 0800 408 5500
Web: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Transco
Web: http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/

Ofgem
The regulator for Britains Gas and Electrical industries funded by the DTI and provides advice on changing suppliers, price comparisons and information on Bills, safety and services.
Tel: 020 7901 7295
Web: www.ofgem.gov.uk www.oft.gov.uk

Energy Watch
Consumer Information and complaints service about gas and electricity suppliers
Tel: 08454 04 05 06
Web: www.energywatch.org.uk

Ofcom
UK regulator of the communications industry
Web: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/

Office of Fair Trading
Complaints about Unfair Contract Terms
Web: www.oft.gov.uk
 

Utilities

British Telecom
Customer Services: 0800 800 150

Gas & Electricity
British Gas 0800 111 999
www.britishgas.co.uk
Gas Leaks 0800 111 999 [24 hr] Yorkshire Electricity
To report a power failure Telephone 0800 375 675

Yorkshire Water
Enquiries 0845 1242424
Leakline 0800 573 553
 

Help and Advice - Nottingham

A listing of who is who at Unipol and other agencies offering housing advice and support.

Help and Advice - Bradford

Unipol Student Homes

We are a friendly knowledgeable team, here to help and offer advice.  Below is a bit about us plus information on who to contact if you have any problems.

Unipol Student Homes
Richmond Building
University of Bradford
Bradford
BD7 1DP
Telephone 01274 235 899
E-Mail info@unipol.bradford.ac.uk

Your local Unipol team

Jo MacNaughton - Accommodation Services Officer
Jo oversees the day to day running of the Housing Hub, ensuring that all our consumers receive the same high quality of service.  Jo also oversees the Unipol Code in Bradford and inspects new and existing members' properties to ensure that the high standards expected under the Code are maintained. 

On behalf of Unipol, Jo also oversees the day-to-day running of the accommodation provision for Bradford College.

You can contact Jo at Bradford College on 01274 088620 or by email.

Tendai, Dieba & Maud - Housing Hub Assistants

BethanyLowe-1-(1).png GeorgeEllis-1-(1).png

Like our key client group, Tendai, Dieba & Maud are students. They work at Unipol part-time and help fellow students to find suitable good quality accommodation. They also help our landlords to advertise their properties.

To contact the Housing Hub about advertising or for general house hunting advice please email or call 01274 235899.

Unipol is one organisation

Unipol operates in three cities. Overseeing the Bradford operation is a senior team of managers who regularly visit the city to support the development of the service.  Should you like to contact one of these managers please see the information below. Our complaints procedure can be viewed here.

Our senior team is:

NicolaVictoria


 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicola Brown - Assistant Chief Executive Housing Hub Services

Nicola oversees all the Housing Hub operations in all three cities.  She also oversees the operation of the accommodation provision for Bradford College.  You can contact Nicola by email

Victoria Tolmie - Loverseed - Assistant Chief Executive Standards
Victoria oversees the Unipol accreditation schemes in all three cities.  You can contact her by email

Rachel Campey - Assistant Chief Executive Housing
Rachel oversees all the housing services in all three cities.  You can contact her by email

Unipol Code Queries and Complaints

If you have a general query about the Code or you want to find out how to make a complaint, contact the Code Administrator on 01274 235 899 or 01274 436 400.

University of Bradford Accommodation Office
Tel: 01274 235 899

University of Bradford Students' Union
Tel: 01274 233 300

Bradford College Accommodation Office
Tel: 01274 436 400
Email: accommodationservices@bradfordcollege.ac.uk

Bradford College Students' Union
Tel: 01274 433 007

Council

Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council
Reporting disrepair and noise problems
Environmental Health Tel: 01274 753 531
Rubbish collection, Cleansing Department Tel: 01274 751 000
Pest Control Tel: 01274 753 926

Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies

Health and Safety Executive
Information Line: 0845 345 0055
Web: www.hse.gov.uk
Leeds Fax: 0113 283 4382

Gas Safe Register
National Watchdog for Gas Safety in Britain - useful for checking gas engineers' registration.
Tel: 0800 408 5500
Web: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Transco
Web: http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/

Ofgem
The regulator for Britain's gas and electrical industries funded by the DTI, Ofgem provides advice on changing suppliers, price comparisons and information on bills, safety and services.
Tel: 020 7901 7295
Web: www.ofgem.gov.uk

Energy Watch
Consumer Information and complaints service about gas and electricity suppliers
Tel: 08454 04 05 06
Web: www.energywatch.org.uk

Ofcom
UK regulator of the communications industry
Web: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/

Office of Fair Trading
Complaints about Unfair Contract Terms
Web: www.oft.gov.uk

Utilities

British Telecom
Customer Services: 0800 800 150

Gas & Electricity
British Gas 0800 111 999
www.britishgas.co.uk
Gas Leaks 0800 111 999 [24 hr]

Yorkshire Electricity
To report a power failure, call: 0800 375 675

Yorkshire Water
Enquiries: 0845 1242424
Leakline: 0800 573 553

Drop in and Support Services - Bradford

Unipol Bradford hosts a legal advice service provided by Chadwick Lawrence LLP Solicitors, a respected firm based in Leeds. They provide a wide range of legal services and have a specialist housing law department which deals with all landlord and tenant problems.

Pest control - Leeds

Treatment is available from your local authority environmental health department for a range of pests that commonly affect the home including ants, bedbugs, cockroaches, fleas, mice, rats, squirrels and wasps.

You should contact your landlord if the property you are staying in is affected by any of these pests, as they may be able to assist with treatment.

Some pests will be treated for free by your local authority, whilst for others a charge is made. Please contact the relevant local authority for more details.

Leeds council
Tel: 0113 222 4406

Pest control - Nottingham

Treatment is available from your local authority environmental health department for a range of pests that commonly affect the home.  

Pest control - Bradford

Treatment is available from your Local Authority Environmental Health Department for a range of pests that commonly affect the home including:

  • Ants
  • Bedbugs
  • Cock roaches
  • Fleas
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Wasps

You should contact your landlord if the property you are staying in is affected by any of these pests, as they may be able to assist with treatment.

Some pests will be treated for free by your Local Authority, whilst for others a charge is made. Please contact the relevant Local Authority for more details.

Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Tel - 01274 433926

Council Tax - Nottingham

In each area the local authority collects Council Tax to help fund local services, including education, police and fire. The charge is based on the value of the property, and is paid yearly.

Council Tax - Leeds

 

 

Council Tax - Leeds

In each area the local authority collects Council Tax to help fund local services including education, police and fire. The charge is based on the value of the property, and is paid yearly.

Exemption to liability for Council Tax

Under most circumstances students in full time (not part time) education are exempt from having to pay Council Tax.  

Exceptions to the exemption

  • If there are one or more non-students living in a property with full time students, then Council Tax will be payable on the property. If there is only one non-student living with a group of full time students, then only 75% of the full amount will be due. If there is more than one non-student, then the full amount will be payable. It is important to note that in these instances all tenants will be equally liable to pay the Council Tax on that property, not just the non-student.
  • If you are between courses (e.g. between undergraduate and postgraduate study) you are liable to pay Council Tax
  • If you are in the writing-up stage of your study after the official enrolled study period has ended you are liable for Council Tax

How to confirm exemption on receipt of a Council Tax bill from the local authority

The universities and colleges provide lists of all their full time students to Leeds City Council. If you receive a Council Tax bill, usually it will be sufficient to contact the local authority and give them a list of all the students living in your accommodation to receive an exemption for the property.

If you are a student at a college, or if your name was not on one of the lists provided by your institution, you will need to provide proof of your student status. Visit your university or college administration department, and they will be able to provide you with a Council Tax Exemption Certificate which you will need to present to the local authority. It will not usually be sufficient to show your student ID card to the local authority. If you have received an exemption from paying, you should ensure that the name of your landlord is listed with the local authority and appears on the Council Tax bill.

Liability for Council Tax at the end of studies

When your official enrolled period of study has ended, you will become liable to pay Council Tax.

Financial assistance available with paying Council Tax or rent

There may be circumstances in which you can get assistance paying your Council Tax or rent after you have finished your course.

You may be entitled to Housing or Council Tax Benefit, if you:

  • are on a low income – including low earnings 
  • are responsible for paying rent or Council Tax
  • have savings amounting to less than £16,000 (different capital rules apply to people over 60

Calculating entitlement

The amount you receive will be calculated on the following bases:

  • money you and your partner have coming in, for example, earnings, some benefits, tax credits and occupational pensions
  • your and your partner's capital, savings and investments
  • your circumstances, such as your age, the number of people in your household, the ages of your children and whether you or any of your household are disabled

How to claim

To make a claim you will need to submit a completed application form and provide any other relevant documents as proof. You can get further details on the application processes from your relevant local authority.

If you have any questions about Council Tax, please contact the relevant local authority.

 

 

Council Tax - Bradford

In each area the local authority collects Council Tax to help fund local services including education, police and fire. The charge is based on the value of the property, and is paid yearly.  

UKCISA guidance for new international students seeking accommodation - Leeds

Introduction

There are a number of important things you need to do when you’re sorting out accommodation in the UK:

  • Be clear what the options are
  • Be clear what you want, what you need, what you can afford and what you would be prepared to compromise on
  • Secure your accommodation as early as possible and get the deal confirmed. If you opt for institutional (or institutionally-allocated) accommodation, you should get this done before you arrive in the UK. If you are going into another type of accommodation, make arrangements for temporary accommodation before you arrive (often available through your institution), and sort out longer-term housing in the days following arrival.

This guidance is split into a number of different sections:

Accommodation options which may be available to you

This will depend on your institution and your host town or city – and on your needs. Two special cases are addressed in separate sections below – accommodation for students with families and for disabled students.

Institutionally-allocated accommodation may be owned and managed by the institutions themselves; or it may be owned/managed by private, commercial providers working in partnership with institutions. Students need not be concerned about this – what is important for students is that institutionally-allocated accommodation is generally of a reliable standard and students can feel secure in booking it before they arrive in the UK.

Alongside institutionally-allocated provision, there is student accommodation run by commercial operators or landlords not working in partnership with institutions. In this sector colleges and universities play no part in the relationship between the landlord and the student.

Accommodation available to you is likely to include some or all of the following types:

  • Halls of residence
  • Shared accommodation in off-street houses or flats
  • Studios/bedsits
  • Lodgings or family homestay
  • Hostels

Halls of residence

Halls of residence are typically purpose-built developments, occupied by a large number of students.

In some halls some meals are provided and these are included in the rent (these are called catered halls). Catered halls can be a good option to help budget your money but the food may very different from the food you’re used to at home. Most halls are not catered.

Halls are normally divided into flats (apartments) but halls can also consist of a large building with many rooms off a continuous corridor with communal space provided for all residents, normally on the ground floor.

Where halls are divided into flats, small numbers (eg five or six students) share a kitchen/social space, in which they can prepare and eat their own meals from food which they buy themselves.

Each student normally has a study bedroom for their own use. Some institutions and commercial providers also provide some shared (normally twin) rooms in the sector. Shared rooms are more of a feature of towns/cities where accommodation is expensive (eg London and Edinburgh) and shared rooms offer a considerable cost saving.

Some rooms may have ensuite facilities, ie a shower and toilet directly attached to a study bedroom for the occupant’s personal use. Students allocated to rooms without ensuite facilities have the use of a shared bathroom, incorporating toilets, wash basins and a bath/shower.

Halls of residence and flats within them are usually mixed, ie men and women sharing together, but there is often a limited amount of single-sex accommodation available.

Most halls provide internet connectivity.

Usually, each student has their own individual contract with the institution/landlord.

Utility costs (energy and water) are normally included in the rent and the contract will state this.

Shared accommodation in off-street houses or flats (apartments)

In this type of accommodation a number of students share a house (or flat) in the community. Again students will have their own study bedroom and a shared kitchen and bathroom. Ensuite rooms may be available, but this is unusual. Sometimes, the student residents have a joint contract with the landlord and are jointly responsible for the rent and for keeping the property clean and tidy. Landlords will normally offer individual lets (where you are only responsible for your room and your share of the communal areas) so if you would prefer this you should ask the landlord. In this type of accommodation the rent is unlikely to include internet costs and utility charges and you will pay these directly to the provider.

Studios/bedsits

A bedsit is a room which includes all facilities for living and sleeping, and sometimes for cooking, but some aspect of services, either a bathroom or kitchen, will be shared. A studio flat will include everything: sleeping accommodation, kitchen and bathroom facilities.

This type of accommodation is usually for one person (but some larger bedsits and studio flats may be suitable for a couple).

If this type of accommodation is within purpose-built student accommodation, the rent is likely to include utilities and internet. If not, these costs will be extra to the rent.

Studio flats are normally the most expensive type of accommodation available to students and you should think seriously about the cost before renting. Although sharing a flat or facilities can raise issues, it is also a good way of meeting people. Living on your own in a self-contained flat can make meeting people more difficult.

Lodgings or family homestay

When a student is in lodgings they live in part of a property also lived in by the owner, who may have a family. The student is expected to share the facilities along with the owner (and their family) and to fit in with the lifestyle of the owner and any house rules which they set. Some or all meals may be provided. Family homestay is a particularly important part of the London accommodation market. It is also a popular option for students under the age of 18. Many homestay providers are experienced in housing international students and in the challenges they face in living in a new country. Homestay schemes are normally run through the education institution and if you are interested in this type of accommodation you should check with your institution first.

Hostels

These are normally owned by charitable organisations. Some hostels provide accommodation for single students and for student couples. Hostels usually provide some meals or have cooking facilities and allow students to prepare their own food. Staying in a hostel can give you the opportunity to become familiar with the area where you are studying and this is an advantage if you want to find private accommodation later. Hostels are a particular feature of the accommodation market in London.

Accreditation schemes

An important thing to look out for is whether a property/landlord/institution is part of a reputable accreditation scheme. In joining an accreditation scheme a landlord commits themselves to offering accommodation and related management services which meet specific professional standards. Typically, these standards relate to the way the contract is written, how properties are marketed, how properties are managed, how quickly any repairs are done, health and safety, how deposits are handled and how any disputes are sorted out. Under accreditation schemes members’ properties are checked from time to time to ensure they meet these standards. If they don’t, they risk being removed from the scheme. If you move into accommodation which is part of an accreditation scheme, you can feel assured that your accommodation will be of an acceptable standard and that you will receive a fair and professional service. An important element of all of these schemes is a robust complaints procedure that students can use if any problems arise.

Look out in particular for the following UK-wide schemes:

  • the National Codes – these schemes are designed for larger-scale student developments, one for properties managed and controlled by education institutions; and another for properties in the commercial sector) 
  • the AfS/Unipol Code - Student Property Accreditation Scheme – this scheme is designed for smaller-scale accommodation (eg shared student houses) in the commercial sector 

What to bring and what services are provided

In most accommodation you will have to clean your own room and wash your own clothes. In a few institutionally-provided halls a cleaning service may be provided.

Accommodation is normally fully furnished but you are expected to provide your own bedding and towels and often smaller domestic items (desk light, iron, kettle, toaster). It is best to wait until you see the accommodation to check what is present and to see whether another student has brought items that you can borrow.

What to look out for when trying to make a decision about your accommodation

Equip yourself with as much information as you can and as early as possible. Find out what is available. Check institutional websites thoroughly. Read carefully all correspondence sent to you by your institution about accommodation.

If you are considering going into accommodation which is not allocated by your institution, have a good look at what’s on offer on commercial websites, particularly any sites mentioned in material made available by your institution.

Many institutions work in partnership with other organisations to provide help for students looking for accommodation in the private sector. If you are unsure about anything or if you want to know more, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your institution’s accommodation office, either by phone, email or letter.

Some questions to ask yourself

  • Is there a guarantee of accommodation for new international students for their first year and for any subsequent years of study and is there a deadline for submitting my application?
  • Can I afford the accommodation?
  • What is included in the price – meals, gas and electricity bills, water rates – and if I am paying my own utility costs, how much should I budget for?
  • Does the price include possessions insurance?
  • Is there internet connectivity in the accommodation and if so is there an extra cost?
  • Are bed linen, towels and kitchen utensils provided and if not, does the institution offer packs I can buy?
  • What is Council Tax and do I have to pay it?
  • If I have a car, are there parking facilities and if so, is an extra cost attached?
  • Am I required to pay a deposit? If so, how much is it and what is it for?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • What is a guarantor and will I need one?
  • Is there any communal living space and if so, is it adequate?
  • Do I want or really need ensuite provision and can I afford it?
  • What is the mix of students in the accommodation likely to be?
  • If I sign a joint contract, will my liability be different?
  • Does the accommodation offer good social opportunities?
  • What are the management and security arrangements for the accommodation?
  • What are the arrangements for the provision of food?
  • What are the accommodation arrangements for vacation periods?
  • Does the length of the contract fit my period of study?
  • Where is the accommodation located?
  • What are the transport links and what are the costs?

Availability

 Is there a guarantee of accommodation for new international students for their first year and for any subsequent years of study and is there a deadline for submitting my application?

Many institutions offer a guarantee of accommodation for the first year of study, and a few extend this guarantee to the full period of your studies. However, you need to be clear that you qualify for any guarantee made. Some institutions only guarantee accommodation for international students paying the full international student fee rate.

Many institutions set a deadline for applications and it is important that you return your paperwork by this date. If you think this will be difficult for you, contact them in advance to explain why your application will be late.

Rent and other accommodation costs

Can I afford the accommodation?

Look out for hidden costs and things which are not included. Try to work out how much money you will have and what you will need to spend on things to get you through student life, including food, rent, study materials, bills (everyday and utilities), clothes, a social life and transport. Try and get an idea of what proportion of the total money that you have, you can (or want to) use for rent.

What is included in the price – meals, gas and electricity bills, water rates and if I am paying my own utility costs, how much should I budget for?

For institutionally-allocated accommodation, gas, water and electricity costs are likely to be included, but check this. If you are weighing up which type of accommodation is cheapest, it is helpful to have a rough idea of gas and electricity costs. Your institution may be able to provide guidance on this.

Does the price include possessions insurance?

Whatever type of accommodation you choose, you are recommended to take out possessions insurance to protect your belongings from theft, fire, loss or accidental damage while you are staying in the UK. Some institutions include possessions insurance as part of the deal, but check this covers all your possessions. Sometimes it is necessary to register laptops and tablets under a policy and anything to do with bicycles normally involves registering the bike.

If there is no insurance included in the rent, check whether the institution offers an insurance deal separately or recommends one. If you are in the private sector, you will probably need to make your own insurance arrangements. Websites such as www.moneysavingexpert.com offer a good overview of insurance policies for students. Furthermore, companies such as Endsleigh Insurance can provide policies to cover clothes, books, IT devices, TV, hi-fi equipment and valuables.

Is there internet connectivity in the accommodation and if so, is there an extra cost?

These days students expect this to be provided in institutionally-allocated accommodation and in private halls. It almost always is – but check. If you have access to social networking sites, it may be possible to find out from existing or previous residents if the service is a good one. Some providers, for an additional fee, allow you to increase your allowance for data download and/or speed but wait to see what you need, because normally the standard service is adequate.

Are bed linen, towels and kitchen utensils provided and if not, does the institution offer packs I can buy?

You should be able to check this in advance in available material or by contacting the provider. If you are going into accommodation in the private sector, you will need to make your own arrangements for these items.

What is Council Tax and do I have to pay it?

Council Tax is a system of local taxation, which is collected by local authorities. It is a tax on the properties in which people live. The local authority uses the money collected to provide local services, including for schools, rubbish collection, social services. Full-time students who live only with other full-time students or in halls of residence do not have to pay Council Tax. If you are living in private accommodation, remember that if just one person in your household is not a full-time student, it will make the rest of the residents liable for payment of the tax. For further information on Council Tax, see UKCISA's information sheet Council Tax and International Students or ask for advice at your institution.

If I have a car, are there parking facilities and if so, is an extra cost attached?

Driving a car in the UK is costly and most students get by with a combination of walking and using public transport (buses, trains) and taxis. If you do intend having the use of a car, be aware that parking facilities are generally in short supply and expensive. In addition if you intend to run a car you will need to ensure that your licence is valid for use in the UK; that you have appropriate insurance; and that the car is taxed and has a valid MOT. See UKCISA's information sheet Driving in the UK: a guide for international students for more information.

Am I required to pay a deposit? If so, how much is it and what is it for?

A deposit is a sum of money you pay to your institution/landlord at the start of the contract. The institution/landlord will return the money soon after you move out, but they are entitled to keep some of the money if they incur expenses for which you are responsible, for instance:

  • damage to the property, eg broken windows
  • damage to fixtures and fittings such as furniture or carpets
  • the cost of cleaning the property if you have left it in a condition which means the landlord cannot re-let it without cleaning it
  • re-decoration costs, eg if you have painted a room without the landlord’s permission
  • the cost of replacing keys which you fail to return to the landlord
  • any rent which you haven’t paid
  • the cost of removing from the property any rubbish you leave behind.

Depending on what it says in your contract, your institution/landlord can make additional charges, for instance:

  • an extra charge for dealing with late rental payments you might have made
  • the cost of replacing any missing items, eg curtains, furniture
  • The institution/landlord cannot charge you for fair ‘wear and tear’ throughout the tenancy. ‘Wear and tear’ means the normal deterioration of fixtures, fittings and items provided through normal use of them.

It is standard practice for institutions/landlords to charge a deposit. It is also fair: institutions/landlords need some financial protection in case they incur costs as a result of the actions of students leaving their accommodation.

Never pay a deposit without getting proof of payment for any money you have handed over, especially if you pay in cash.

The deposit is normally equal to one month’s rent but can be more, especially in London.

By law, private landlords and suppliers must now protect your deposit money by signing up to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Education institutions and those in shared rooms are exempt from this requirement.

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes are designed to make sure money is not unfairly deducted or kept from you at the end of your tenancy. They provide a dispute resolution service, so that if you believe your landlord has acted unfairly in keeping some or all of your deposit when you move out, you can use the service to argue that you should get your money back.

There are three schemes that are registered with the government for these purposes:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • My Deposits
  • The Dispute Service

Your landlord has to tell you which of the three existing schemes they have signed up to. If you have not received this information, you can check directly with the schemes to see if your deposit is protected.

To help ensure you get your full deposit back when you move out:

  • check when you move into a property for damage, uncleanliness and missing items and report any problems to the landlord in writing, keeping copies of all correspondence and, if appropriate, taking and keeping labelled and dated photos
  • keep a detailed list of contents
  • ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned before you move out
  • ensure you remove all your possessions
  • respect the property and treat it well
  • make sure you understand what the contract makes you responsible for
  • ensure you do not have any rent owing at the end of your contract
  • dispose of rubbish properly to minimise the risk of pest infestations, which are costly to get rid of
  • report any damage to the landlord as soon as it happens – repair/replacement may be cheaper than leaving it to the landlord to put right after you have left

If you feel your deposit has been wrongfully withheld, you should seek advice from your students’ union, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Shelter or another housing advice agency or local law centre. You can also download Unipol’s deposit recovery pack for further information.

What are the payment terms?

Check whether there are any limitations on the method of payment. Be aware of what the institution’s or landlord’s requirements are in relation to upfront payments, payment periods and instalments. Make sure you understand what the consequences of defaulting on rent payments are. Some institutions require a substantial rental payment upfront and the payment of the rest of the year’s rent in instalments, due at fixed points in the letting year. These arrangements vary and you’ll need to be clear what they are. In the commercial sector it is usual for students to have to pay an instalment at the start of the contract (which can be up to half the annual rent) together with a deposit.

What is a guarantor and will I need one?

Many landlords now require students (and particularly international students) to provide a guarantor as a condition of the accommodation contract. The guarantor – a third-party individual or organisation – guarantees to pay the landlord any rent which the student fails to pay and the cost of any damage for which the student is responsible and fails to pay. Landlords generally insist that a guarantor is UK-based.

Colleges and universities rarely ask for a guarantor to be provided. Landlords for privately rented shared houses will often not insist on you naming a guarantor, especially as, for many international students, it is very difficult to identify someone who is UK-based to undertake this legal commitment. It is the landlords of large-scale purpose-built accommodation developments in the private sector who are likely to require you to provide a guarantor. If you cannot provide one, they will probably require you to pay most, if not all of, the rent for the full contract before you move in. This is a considerable financial challenge for many students. A small number of institutions, particularly in London, may be able to stand as guarantor for you. If you find yourself in difficulties over this, check with your institution whether they are prepared to act in this capacity.

If you do need a guarantor and you are able to find one, it is important that your guarantor’s financial liability is limited to just your personal rent/damages. Unipol has prepared a model guarantee for this purpose.

The accommodation and the contract

Is there any communal living space and if so is it adequate?

Having a communal living space within a flat, on a floor, in a block or in a shared house is good to have for relaxing and for socialising. Not having a space like this can be very limiting. If you can, check what this is like in available material provided, or contact the provider.

Do I want or really need ensuite provision and can I afford it?

Many international students opt for this because the level of privacy it offers is important to them or because it supports ritual washing as part of religious observances. However, be aware of the extra cost over a standard room. Would you rather have a standard room (often larger), sharing toilet facilities, and have extra cash to spend on other things which are important to you?

What is the mix of students in the accommodation likely to be?

Whether you are in institutionally-allocated accommodation or in the private sector you may be sharing accommodation facilities with students from the same country, international students from other countries and/or UK-based students. These may be undergraduates and postgraduates, male and female. To help manage your own expectations you might want to check this pre-arrival, if the information is available. If you have particular requirements it is important to raise this with the provider beforehand.

If I sign a joint contract will my liability be different?

If you have signed the same contract as your friends and you all agree to take the property at the same time, you will be jointly and severally liable with each of your housemates for any rent arrears and/or damage to the property. So, if one tenant moves out, the landlord/agent can pursue the remaining tenants (as well as the tenant who has left) for any monies due.

Does the accommodation offer good social opportunities?

Living in halls of residence gives you access to large numbers of other students, possibly from many different cultures. Living in shared self-catering flats allocated by your institution is also likely to give you good social opportunities. Your institution may organise social events for students in these types of accommodation.

If you live in a shared house or in a studio/bedsit in the private sector you are unlikely to have social opportunities on this scale. Nonetheless, if you opt to live in a shared house, you will have some choice about who you live with. Living in a bedsit/studio can be lonely. Many university towns have residential areas which are a focus for student living and these can have a strong student identity and sense of community.

What are the management and security arrangements for the accommodation?

Many international students new to the UK have particular concerns about personal safety and security. Institutionally-allocated developments often have some sort of security service – staffed offices and security personnel on patrol for some of the night/day or perhaps a full 24-hour service. Developments may also have controlled access and CCTV.

What are the arrangements for food and cooking?

Unless you are going into single accommodation you will be sharing food preparation and cooking facilities. The number of students you share these facilities with varies widely – it may be four or five; it may be twenty. It should be easy to find this out, as it is likely to be in material made available to you by your institution or by a prospective landlord. If it isn’t clear, contact them. If you have specific requirements for preparing food and you are concerned about how the facilities will support you in meeting these requirements you should contact your institution or prospective landlord.

What are the accommodation arrangements for vacation periods?

If you live in a shared house in the private sector you are likely to sign a contract for a fixed and uninterrupted period so that you can live in the accommodation from the start of the contract until it ends. This may also be true of accommodation allocated by your institution. However, some institutions have special arrangements for vacation periods, particularly Christmas. Because many staff take leave from work at Christmas, the level of service to students may be reduced. To help manage this some institutions require students staying in institutional accommodation over the Christmas period to relocate into one or a small number of the halls. You might want to check whether this is the case for your institution. Similarly for the Easter vacation, students may be required to relocate to enable the institution to stage residential conferences. Whether this is likely to affect you as a resident should be made clear in material the institution makes available to you. If you are concerned about it, contact the accommodation office.

Does the length of the contract fit my period of study?

The standard academic year runs from September/October to May/June for undergraduates and September/October to September for postgraduates. The letting year for accommodation typically runs from August or September to the end of June. It is sometimes possible to negotiate an extension to include residence for the summer months – July, August and the first 10 days or so of September. Make sure that your accommodation requirements fit your study requirements. You may be on a course which operates to a non-standard calendar (for example a Semester 2 start); you may have a requirement for a postgraduate writing-up period at the end of your studies; or you may want to attend a graduation ceremony beyond the end of your course and your accommodation contract. Think about these issues and check with your institution or landlord if you have concerns.

Location

Where is the accommodation located?

It may be on campus; it may be near your place of study; or it may be some distance away. If it’s not on campus, check that the locality offers you what you need and what you want: for instance shops, friends living nearby, places for meeting friends and socialising, good transport links, parking provision (if needed), a safe environment.

What are the transport links and what are the costs?

This is particularly important if your accommodation is not on campus or if you can’t reasonably walk (or cycle) to your place of study or to other places that you need or want to get to frequently. In some towns living further out, away from college, shops etc, can save money, as accommodation may be cheaper. If you are thinking of living further out, try and check that possible extra travel costs do not outweigh your savings on rent.

A summary of the differences between institutional halls of residence and living in a shared house in the private sector

Where institutionally-allocated accommodation is available, it is the preferred option for most recently arrived international students. Their reasons often include:

  • positive perceptions of the college/university and confidence in their reliability and trustworthiness and in the quality and value for money of accommodation which they allocate
  • being at the heart of the institution
  • feeling safer and more secure
  • feeling better connected and having more social opportunities
  • having easier access to institutional facilities and services
  • the convenience and confidence that being able to book accommodation pre-arrival gives

These factors may or may not be true about your institution’s accommodation, but there is a strong sense amongst many new international students that these things are important for them. However, think about what is right for you and make your decision on this basis. Often living in the private sector can be rewarding and give you a real sense of what it is like to live in the UK.

How to set about meeting visa requirements

As an international student you have to meet the necessary visa requirements (if applicable) for entry into the UK and onto an education course. You will need to apply for your visa in good time. The international office at your institution will be well placed to advise you on what is required and are likely to include this information on their website.

How to apply for accommodation allocated by your institution

In most cases you must apply for accommodation allocated by your institution before you come to the UK. If you are offered a place on a course, you will usually be asked if you would like your institution either:

  • to provide accommodation; or
  • to help you arrange alternative private accommodation.

Make sure that you follow the college’s application procedures and, in particular, that you meet deadlines for booking accommodation. When you are making enquiries with your institution about available accommodation you should read carefully any information they send you and make the time to find and read thoroughly all information they provide on the college website and useful sites for which they give links. In particular make sure, on the basis of the questions asked in this guidance, that you are clear about what you want and the detail of what options are available.

How to secure accommodation NOT allocated by your institution

Booking accommodation

It is generally not advisable to enter into a contract for longer-term accommodation before you arrive in the UK. There are, however, some exceptions. For example some accommodation providers (such as Unipol Student Homes in Leeds) have an online booking system offering access to their portfolio of accredited properties that are still available in September (the usual time for international students to arrive). It is always worth contacting the accommodation office at your institution to see if they can recommend any such organisations that they work with. For students attending institutions without these relationships, you won’t be able to look at the accommodation and you won’t be able to get a good idea of whether the landlord is trustworthy or not. Nor will you be able to get a full and proper sense of what is available generally in the private sector.

It can be frustrating, arriving with uncertainty about your longer-term accommodation arrangements. However, there are things you can do to help prepare:

  • read through what your institution has to say about private accommodation in your host town or city
  • work out what the processes are for house-hunting and the level of support provided by your institution, your students’ union and any other local agencies. (They may have lists of local accommodation available for rent. They may also have inspected the accommodation to check that it is suitable.) The student office at your country’s Embassy or High Commission in the UK may also be able to give you information about accommodation
  • have a look on the internet to get an early idea of what is available and the quality and cost of accommodation in your host town/city
  • through social networking sites try and connect up online with other international students who are starting at your institution at the same time and who will be looking for private sector accommodation. This could give you a head-start in making new friends; it could also be a way of sorting out housemates with shared interests
  • ensure that you book temporary accommodation before you arrive in the UK, even if this is just for your first night here. Your institution may be able to give you short-term accommodation – check early with them.

If your institution does not have any temporary accommodation to offer you, your other options are hotels and guest houses. Guest houses are like hotels but instead of having a restaurant, they may have a dining room where you have no choice about the meals served. Living in a hotel for a long period of time will be expensive. However, hotels and guest houses provide useful temporary accommodation which you can reserve while still in your home country. Hostels also offer temporary accommodation.

Once you have arrived and you are in your pre-booked temporary accommodation, start your search for longer-term accommodation early. Make full use of whatever house-hunting support your institution offers.

Internet searches, accommodation agencies, local newspapers (for example the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds) and advertisements in shop windows or on an institutional notice board are useful when you are looking for somewhere to live. However, don’t forget to check if there is any type of accreditation scheme in operation. Also, you need to be aware that fraudsters have been known to operate in the private student housing market, preying on vulnerable (often international) students, for example by presenting themselves as legitimate providers online (eg through Gumtree) and getting their victims to hand over money for a deposit on a non-existent property.

Agencies sometimes charge a fee but, by law, they cannot charge you just for registering with them and you should not pay for details of places they have to let.

Viewing properties

Time spent inspecting a potential house systematically is hugely important. This will save you time, money and, maybe, pain. You’ll need to be clear about what you want and work through a checklist each time you view a property:

  • What amenities does it have and how good are they (eg washing machine or plumbing for one, a good cooker)?
  • What sort of heating does it have and how efficient is it to use?
  • Is it furnished and if so, how well for your purposes?
  • Are the bathroom and kitchen facilities adequate?
  • Is the house in good repair, inside and out?
  • If there’s a garden, who is expected to look after it?
  • What are the electrics like? Are they adequate?
  • If there are gas appliances, has the landlord shown you a gas safety certificate which they are required by law to have each year
  • Is there a decent fire detection system and fire escape route?
  • What’s security like?

Properties over a certain number of storeys and occupants (known as Houses of Multiple Occupation or HMOs) need to be licensed (usually five or more rooms over three or more storeys). You can check this with the local authority, which should hold a database with details of properties that have been issued with a licence.

Unipol Student Homes has produced a checklist that you can print off and take with you when you’re going to view a property.

If you take private accommodation, read the contract and any associated documents carefully before you sign. If you have any concerns or queries about the contract or if you want any help with your legal rights you can get free advice at a local law centre or Citizens Advice Bureau. Your institution or students’ union will also offer a free advice service and it advisable to use it. Once you have signed a contract, make sure you get and keep a copy and written receipts for all payments you make.

Accommodation options for students with families

Check early if your institution provides:

  • accommodation suitable for families
  • short-stay accommodation for families or for international students individually
  • house-hunting support for students with families or international students more generally.

Few institutions provide accommodation suitable for students with families and where there is some provision it is in very short supply, both for long-term and short-term temporary accommodation.

Check before you arrive whether your institution can help you in your search for suitable accommodation. Be aware, however, that generally, it takes several weeks for newly-arrived international students to secure family accommodation.

If you are intending to have your family or any dependants with you while you study in the UK, you should:

  • EITHER come on your own first and stay in temporary, single accommodation while you look for a family home. Once you have fixed up your longer-term accommodation for yourself and your family, you can send for your family;
  • OR, if you must arrive with your family or any dependants, bring enough funding to cover the high costs of temporary family accommodation – check with your institution what the minimum needed per night is, eg for a family of four.

Requirements for students with families will vary, but, as a guide, these are the kinds of factors which students with families attach importance to when looking for suitable accommodation:

  • accommodation made safe for children
  • a location close to healthcare services, childcare provision, schools, parks/play areas, bus routes, supermarkets, car parking, parent and toddler groups, ante-natal classes and other forms of local infrastructure that can support family life and reduce the risk of isolation for non-studying parents
  • a quieter location, removed from undergraduate residences
  • a stronger emphasis on the quantity and quality of social space
  • a stronger emphasis on the quality of study space
  • longer-term accommodation contracts
  • affordability

Meeting your accommodation needs if you have a disability

In the UK colleges and universities are legally required not to discriminate against students with a disability and not to treat them less favourably than students without a disability. Institutions are also required to make adjustments to services for disabled students so that they are not disadvantaged in comparison with non-disabled students. These laws apply to international students as well as to students who are UK citizens.

Because the law is strong on disability rights in the UK, you should find your institution helpful in supporting you in your search for suitable accommodation. Some institutions include accommodation in their portfolio which is designed to support students with a disability, for instance wheelchair users. Your institution may also make changes to accommodation to support your particular disability. In some institutions it may even be possible to secure accommodation for the full duration of your course.

There may, however, be no suitable accommodation available at your institution and no accommodation which can be reasonably adjusted to support your needs. In this case, it is important you review the options carefully and seek your institution’s support in helping you find accommodation in the private sector which is suitable for you.

The most important thing here is to let your institution know as early as possible that you have a disability which means you have particular accommodation needs. Although you might declare this as part of your application for a place on a course, it is also advisable to contact the institution’s accommodation service and disability officer to raise and discuss the matter directly with them. In this way you are likely to receive the best service that your institution can offer you. If you do not raise it early, you may be disappointed and struggle to find anything appropriate.

You should also be aware that international students with a disability do not generally have access to additional funding from UK authorities to support their living costs, although funding may be available from your institution to assist with direct study-related costs.

Further information and contacts

The NUS provides some useful information about accommodation on its website: www.nus.org.uk/en/student-life/Housing-Advice/

Unipol Student Homes has a website which is a valuable resource for all students looking for guidance on securing accommodation in the UK.

Hostels in Leeds

www.hostelbookers.com/Leeds

Leeds Tourist Information

www.visitleeds.co.uk

Throughout UK

British Tourist Authority

www.visitbritain.com

for hotels, bed & breakfasts and guest houses.

Youth Hostels Association (YHA)

www.yha.org.uk

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)

www.ymca.org.uk

Insurance

Endsleigh Insurance

www.endsleigh.co.uk

Endsleigh was set up by the NUS in 1965 to negotiate suitable cover and preferential rates on insurance for students.

© Unipol and UKCISA

This information sheet may only be printed and reproduced provided it is copied unaltered and in its entirety, including Unipol's or UKCISA’s logo, disclaimer, copyright statement and the reference to UKCISA’s website as a source of further updates, and provided that no charge is made to any persons for copies. NO PART OF IT MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES.

The information given in this information sheet is given in good faith and has been carefully checked. UKCISA and Unipol however, accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.

UKCISA guidance for new international students seeking accommodation - Bradford

This is a major resource of information and advice for international students looking for accommodation

UKCISA guidance for new international students seeking accommodation - Nottingham

Introduction

There are a number of important things you need to do when you’re sorting out accommodation in the UK:

  • Be clear what the options are
  • Be clear what you want, what you need, what you can afford and what you would be prepared to compromise on
  • Secure your accommodation as early as possible and get the deal confirmed. If you opt for institutional (or institutionally-allocated) accommodation, you should get this done before you arrive in the UK. If you are going into another type of accommodation, make arrangements for temporary accommodation before you arrive (often available through your institution), and sort out longer-term housing in the days following arrival.

This guidance is split into a number of different sections:

Accommodation options which may be available to you

This will depend on your institution and your host town or city – and on your needs. Two special cases are addressed in separate sections below – accommodation for students with families and for disabled students.

Institutionally-allocated accommodation may be owned and managed by the institutions themselves; or it may be owned/managed by private, commercial providers working in partnership with institutions. Students need not be concerned about this – what is important for students is that institutionally-allocated accommodation is generally of a reliable standard and students can feel secure in booking it before they arrive in the UK.

Alongside institutionally-allocated provision, there is student accommodation run by commercial operators or landlords not working in partnership with institutions. In this sector colleges and universities play no part in the relationship between the landlord and the student.

Accommodation available to you is likely to include some or all of the following types:

  • Halls of residence
  • Shared accommodation in off-street houses or flats
  • Studios/bedsits
  • Lodgings or family homestay
  • Hostels

Halls of residence

Halls of residence are typically purpose-built developments, occupied by a large number of students.

In some halls some meals are provided and these are included in the rent (these are called catered halls). Catered halls can be a good option to help budget your money but the food may very different from the food you’re used to at home. Most halls are not catered.

Halls are normally divided into flats (apartments) but halls can also consist of a large building with many rooms off a continuous corridor with communal space provided for all residents, normally on the ground floor.

Where halls are divided into flats, small numbers (eg five or six students) share a kitchen/social space, in which they can prepare and eat their own meals from food which they buy themselves.

Each student normally has a study bedroom for their own use. Some institutions and commercial providers also provide some shared (normally twin) rooms in the sector. Shared rooms are more of a feature of towns/cities where accommodation is expensive (eg London and Edinburgh) and shared rooms offer a considerable cost saving.

Some rooms may have ensuite facilities, ie a shower and toilet directly attached to a study bedroom for the occupant’s personal use. Students allocated to rooms without ensuite facilities have the use of a shared bathroom, incorporating toilets, wash basins and a bath/shower.

Halls of residence and flats within them are usually mixed, ie men and women sharing together, but there is often a limited amount of single-sex accommodation available.

Most halls provide internet connectivity.

Usually, each student has their own individual contract with the institution/landlord.

Utility costs (energy and water) are normally included in the rent and the contract will state this.

Shared accommodation in off-street houses or flats (apartments)

In this type of accommodation a number of students share a house (or flat) in the community. Again students will have their own study bedroom and a shared kitchen and bathroom. Ensuite rooms may be available, but this is unusual. Sometimes, the student residents have a joint contract with the landlord and are jointly responsible for the rent and for keeping the property clean and tidy. Landlords will normally offer individual lets (where you are only responsible for your room and your share of the communal areas) so if you would prefer this you should ask the landlord. In this type of accommodation the rent is unlikely to include internet costs and utility charges and you will pay these directly to the provider.

Studios/bedsits

A bedsit is a room which includes all facilities for living and sleeping, and sometimes for cooking, but some aspect of services, either a bathroom or kitchen, will be shared. A studio flat will include everything: sleeping accommodation, kitchen and bathroom facilities.

This type of accommodation is usually for one person (but some larger bedsits and studio flats may be suitable for a couple).

If this type of accommodation is within purpose-built student accommodation, the rent is likely to include utilities and internet. If not, these costs will be extra to the rent.

Studio flats are normally the most expensive type of accommodation available to students and you should think seriously about the cost before renting. Although sharing a flat or facilities can raise issues, it is also a good way of meeting people. Living on your own in a self-contained flat can make meeting people more difficult.

Lodgings or family homestay

When a student is in lodgings they live in part of a property also lived in by the owner, who may have a family. The student is expected to share the facilities along with the owner (and their family) and to fit in with the lifestyle of the owner and any house rules which they set. Some or all meals may be provided. Family homestay is a particularly important part of the London accommodation market. It is also a popular option for students under the age of 18. Many homestay providers are experienced in housing international students and in the challenges they face in living in a new country. Homestay schemes are normally run through the education institution and if you are interested in this type of accommodation you should check with your institution first.

Hostels

These are normally owned by charitable organisations. Some hostels provide accommodation for single students and for student couples. Hostels usually provide some meals or have cooking facilities and allow students to prepare their own food. Staying in a hostel can give you the opportunity to become familiar with the area where you are studying and this is an advantage if you want to find private accommodation later. Hostels are a particular feature of the accommodation market in London.

Accreditation schemes

An important thing to look out for is whether a property/landlord/institution is part of a reputable accreditation scheme. In joining an accreditation scheme a landlord commits themselves to offering accommodation and related management services which meet specific professional standards. Typically, these standards relate to the way the contract is written, how properties are marketed, how properties are managed, how quickly any repairs are done, health and safety, how deposits are handled and how any disputes are sorted out. Under accreditation schemes members’ properties are checked from time to time to ensure they meet these standards. If they don’t, they risk being removed from the scheme. If you move into accommodation which is part of an accreditation scheme, you can feel assured that your accommodation will be of an acceptable standard and that you will receive a fair and professional service. An important element of all of these schemes is a robust complaints procedure that students can use if any problems arise.

Look out in particular for the following UK-wide schemes:

  • the National Codes – these schemes are designed for larger-scale student developments, one for properties managed and controlled by education institutions; and another for properties in the commercial sector) 
  • the AfS/Unipol Code - Student Property Accreditation Scheme – this scheme is designed for smaller-scale accommodation (eg shared student houses) in the commercial sector 

What to bring and what services are provided

In most accommodation you will have to clean your own room and wash your own clothes. In a few institutionally-provided halls a cleaning service may be provided.

Accommodation is normally fully furnished but you are expected to provide your own bedding and towels and often smaller domestic items (desk light, iron, kettle, toaster). It is best to wait until you see the accommodation to check what is present and to see whether another student has brought items that you can borrow.

What to look out for when trying to make a decision about your accommodation

Equip yourself with as much information as you can and as early as possible. Find out what is available. Check institutional websites thoroughly. Read carefully all correspondence sent to you by your institution about accommodation.

If you are considering going into accommodation which is not allocated by your institution, have a good look at what’s on offer on commercial websites, particularly any sites mentioned in material made available by your institution.

Many institutions work in partnership with other organisations to provide help for students looking for accommodation in the private sector. If you are unsure about anything or if you want to know more, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your institution’s accommodation office, either by phone, email or letter.

Some questions to ask yourself

  • Is there a guarantee of accommodation for new international students for their first year and for any subsequent years of study and is there a deadline for submitting my application?
  • Can I afford the accommodation?
  • What is included in the price – meals, gas and electricity bills, water rates – and if I am paying my own utility costs, how much should I budget for?
  • Does the price include possessions insurance?
  • Is there internet connectivity in the accommodation and if so is there an extra cost?
  • Are bed linen, towels and kitchen utensils provided and if not, does the institution offer packs I can buy?
  • What is Council Tax and do I have to pay it?
  • If I have a car, are there parking facilities and if so, is an extra cost attached?
  • Am I required to pay a deposit? If so, how much is it and what is it for?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • What is a guarantor and will I need one?
  • Is there any communal living space and if so, is it adequate?
  • Do I want or really need ensuite provision and can I afford it?
  • What is the mix of students in the accommodation likely to be?
  • If I sign a joint contract, will my liability be different?
  • Does the accommodation offer good social opportunities?
  • What are the management and security arrangements for the accommodation?
  • What are the arrangements for the provision of food?
  • What are the accommodation arrangements for vacation periods?
  • Does the length of the contract fit my period of study?
  • Where is the accommodation located?
  • What are the transport links and what are the costs?

Availability

 Is there a guarantee of accommodation for new international students for their first year and for any subsequent years of study and is there a deadline for submitting my application?

Many institutions offer a guarantee of accommodation for the first year of study, and a few extend this guarantee to the full period of your studies. However, you need to be clear that you qualify for any guarantee made. Some institutions only guarantee accommodation for international students paying the full international student fee rate.

Many institutions set a deadline for applications and it is important that you return your paperwork by this date. If you think this will be difficult for you, contact them in advance to explain why your application will be late.

Rent and other accommodation costs

Can I afford the accommodation?

Look out for hidden costs and things which are not included. Try to work out how much money you will have and what you will need to spend on things to get you through student life, including food, rent, study materials, bills (everyday and utilities), clothes, a social life and transport. Try and get an idea of what proportion of the total money that you have, you can (or want to) use for rent.

What is included in the price – meals, gas and electricity bills, water rates and if I am paying my own utility costs, how much should I budget for?

For institutionally-allocated accommodation, gas, water and electricity costs are likely to be included, but check this. If you are weighing up which type of accommodation is cheapest, it is helpful to have a rough idea of gas and electricity costs. Your institution may be able to provide guidance on this.

Does the price include possessions insurance?

Whatever type of accommodation you choose, you are recommended to take out possessions insurance to protect your belongings from theft, fire, loss or accidental damage while you are staying in the UK. Some institutions include possessions insurance as part of the deal, but check this covers all your possessions. Sometimes it is necessary to register laptops and tablets under a policy and anything to do with bicycles normally involves registering the bike.

If there is no insurance included in the rent, check whether the institution offers an insurance deal separately or recommends one. If you are in the private sector, you will probably need to make your own insurance arrangements. Websites such as www.moneysavingexpert.com offer a good overview of insurance policies for students. Furthermore, companies such as Endsleigh Insurance can provide policies to cover clothes, books, IT devices, TV, hi-fi equipment and valuables.

Is there internet connectivity in the accommodation and if so, is there an extra cost?

These days students expect this to be provided in institutionally-allocated accommodation and in private halls. It almost always is – but check. If you have access to social networking sites, it may be possible to find out from existing or previous residents if the service is a good one. Some providers, for an additional fee, allow you to increase your allowance for data download and/or speed but wait to see what you need, because normally the standard service is adequate.

Are bed linen, towels and kitchen utensils provided and if not, does the institution offer packs I can buy?

You should be able to check this in advance in available material or by contacting the provider. If you are going into accommodation in the private sector, you will need to make your own arrangements for these items.

What is Council Tax and do I have to pay it?

Council Tax is a system of local taxation, which is collected by local authorities. It is a tax on the properties in which people live. The local authority uses the money collected to provide local services, including for schools, rubbish collection, social services. Full-time students who live only with other full-time students or in halls of residence do not have to pay Council Tax. If you are living in private accommodation, remember that if just one person in your household is not a full-time student, it will make the rest of the residents liable for payment of the tax. For further information on Council Tax, see UKCISA's information sheet Council Tax and International Students or ask for advice at your institution.

If I have a car, are there parking facilities and if so, is an extra cost attached?

Driving a car in the UK is costly and most students get by with a combination of walking and using public transport (buses, trains) and taxis. If you do intend having the use of a car, be aware that parking facilities are generally in short supply and expensive. In addition if you intend to run a car you will need to ensure that your licence is valid for use in the UK; that you have appropriate insurance; and that the car is taxed and has a valid MOT. See UKCISA's information sheet Driving in the UK: a guide for international students for more information.

Am I required to pay a deposit? If so, how much is it and what is it for?

A deposit is a sum of money you pay to your institution/landlord at the start of the contract. The institution/landlord will return the money soon after you move out, but they are entitled to keep some of the money if they incur expenses for which you are responsible, for instance:

  • damage to the property, eg broken windows
  • damage to fixtures and fittings such as furniture or carpets
  • the cost of cleaning the property if you have left it in a condition which means the landlord cannot re-let it without cleaning it
  • re-decoration costs, eg if you have painted a room without the landlord’s permission
  • the cost of replacing keys which you fail to return to the landlord
  • any rent which you haven’t paid
  • the cost of removing from the property any rubbish you leave behind.

Depending on what it says in your contract, your institution/landlord can make additional charges, for instance:

  • an extra charge for dealing with late rental payments you might have made
  • the cost of replacing any missing items, eg curtains, furniture
  • The institution/landlord cannot charge you for fair ‘wear and tear’ throughout the tenancy. ‘Wear and tear’ means the normal deterioration of fixtures, fittings and items provided through normal use of them.

It is standard practice for institutions/landlords to charge a deposit. It is also fair: institutions/landlords need some financial protection in case they incur costs as a result of the actions of students leaving their accommodation.

Never pay a deposit without getting proof of payment for any money you have handed over, especially if you pay in cash.

The deposit is normally equal to one month’s rent but can be more, especially in London.

By law, private landlords and suppliers must now protect your deposit money by signing up to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Education institutions and those in shared rooms are exempt from this requirement.

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes are designed to make sure money is not unfairly deducted or kept from you at the end of your tenancy. They provide a dispute resolution service, so that if you believe your landlord has acted unfairly in keeping some or all of your deposit when you move out, you can use the service to argue that you should get your money back.

There are three schemes that are registered with the government for these purposes:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • My Deposits
  • The Dispute Service

Your landlord has to tell you which of the three existing schemes they have signed up to. If you have not received this information, you can check directly with the schemes to see if your deposit is protected.

To help ensure you get your full deposit back when you move out:

  • check when you move into a property for damage, uncleanliness and missing items and report any problems to the landlord in writing, keeping copies of all correspondence and, if appropriate, taking and keeping labelled and dated photos
  • keep a detailed list of contents
  • ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned before you move out
  • ensure you remove all your possessions
  • respect the property and treat it well
  • make sure you understand what the contract makes you responsible for
  • ensure you do not have any rent owing at the end of your contract
  • dispose of rubbish properly to minimise the risk of pest infestations, which are costly to get rid of
  • report any damage to the landlord as soon as it happens – repair/replacement may be cheaper than leaving it to the landlord to put right after you have left

If you feel your deposit has been wrongfully withheld, you should seek advice from your students’ union, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Shelter or another housing advice agency or local law centre. You can also download Unipol’s deposit recovery pack for further information.

What are the payment terms?

Check whether there are any limitations on the method of payment. Be aware of what the institution’s or landlord’s requirements are in relation to upfront payments, payment periods and instalments. Make sure you understand what the consequences of defaulting on rent payments are. Some institutions require a substantial rental payment upfront and the payment of the rest of the year’s rent in instalments, due at fixed points in the letting year. These arrangements vary and you’ll need to be clear what they are. In the commercial sector it is usual for students to have to pay an instalment at the start of the contract (which can be up to half the annual rent) together with a deposit.

What is a guarantor and will I need one?

Many landlords now require students (and particularly international students) to provide a guarantor as a condition of the accommodation contract. The guarantor – a third-party individual or organisation – guarantees to pay the landlord any rent which the student fails to pay and the cost of any damage for which the student is responsible and fails to pay. Landlords generally insist that a guarantor is UK-based.

Colleges and universities rarely ask for a guarantor to be provided. Landlords for privately rented shared houses will often not insist on you naming a guarantor, especially as, for many international students, it is very difficult to identify someone who is UK-based to undertake this legal commitment. It is the landlords of large-scale purpose-built accommodation developments in the private sector who are likely to require you to provide a guarantor. If you cannot provide one, they will probably require you to pay most, if not all of, the rent for the full contract before you move in. This is a considerable financial challenge for many students. A small number of institutions, particularly in London, may be able to stand as guarantor for you. If you find yourself in difficulties over this, check with your institution whether they are prepared to act in this capacity.

If you do need a guarantor and you are able to find one, it is important that your guarantor’s financial liability is limited to just your personal rent/damages. Unipol has prepared a model guarantee for this purpose.

The accommodation and the contract

Is there any communal living space and if so is it adequate?

Having a communal living space within a flat, on a floor, in a block or in a shared house is good to have for relaxing and for socialising. Not having a space like this can be very limiting. If you can, check what this is like in available material provided, or contact the provider.

Do I want or really need ensuite provision and can I afford it?

Many international students opt for this because the level of privacy it offers is important to them or because it supports ritual washing as part of religious observances. However, be aware of the extra cost over a standard room. Would you rather have a standard room (often larger), sharing toilet facilities, and have extra cash to spend on other things which are important to you?

What is the mix of students in the accommodation likely to be?

Whether you are in institutionally-allocated accommodation or in the private sector you may be sharing accommodation facilities with students from the same country, international students from other countries and/or UK-based students. These may be undergraduates and postgraduates, male and female. To help manage your own expectations you might want to check this pre-arrival, if the information is available. If you have particular requirements it is important to raise this with the provider beforehand.

If I sign a joint contract will my liability be different?

If you have signed the same contract as your friends and you all agree to take the property at the same time, you will be jointly and severally liable with each of your housemates for any rent arrears and/or damage to the property. So, if one tenant moves out, the landlord/agent can pursue the remaining tenants (as well as the tenant who has left) for any monies due.

Does the accommodation offer good social opportunities?

Living in halls of residence gives you access to large numbers of other students, possibly from many different cultures. Living in shared self-catering flats allocated by your institution is also likely to give you good social opportunities. Your institution may organise social events for students in these types of accommodation.

If you live in a shared house or in a studio/bedsit in the private sector you are unlikely to have social opportunities on this scale. Nonetheless, if you opt to live in a shared house, you will have some choice about who you live with. Living in a bedsit/studio can be lonely. Many university towns have residential areas which are a focus for student living and these can have a strong student identity and sense of community.

What are the management and security arrangements for the accommodation?

Many international students new to the UK have particular concerns about personal safety and security. Institutionally-allocated developments often have some sort of security service – staffed offices and security personnel on patrol for some of the night/day or perhaps a full 24-hour service. Developments may also have controlled access and CCTV.

What are the arrangements for food and cooking?

Unless you are going into single accommodation you will be sharing food preparation and cooking facilities. The number of students you share these facilities with varies widely – it may be four or five; it may be twenty. It should be easy to find this out, as it is likely to be in material made available to you by your institution or by a prospective landlord. If it isn’t clear, contact them. If you have specific requirements for preparing food and you are concerned about how the facilities will support you in meeting these requirements you should contact your institution or prospective landlord.

What are the accommodation arrangements for vacation periods?

If you live in a shared house in the private sector you are likely to sign a contract for a fixed and uninterrupted period so that you can live in the accommodation from the start of the contract until it ends. This may also be true of accommodation allocated by your institution. However, some institutions have special arrangements for vacation periods, particularly Christmas. Because many staff take leave from work at Christmas, the level of service to students may be reduced. To help manage this some institutions require students staying in institutional accommodation over the Christmas period to relocate into one or a small number of the halls. You might want to check whether this is the case for your institution. Similarly for the Easter vacation, students may be required to relocate to enable the institution to stage residential conferences. Whether this is likely to affect you as a resident should be made clear in material the institution makes available to you. If you are concerned about it, contact the accommodation office.

Does the length of the contract fit my period of study?

The standard academic year runs from September/October to May/June for undergraduates and September/October to September for postgraduates. The letting year for accommodation typically runs from August or September to the end of June. It is sometimes possible to negotiate an extension to include residence for the summer months – July, August and the first 10 days or so of September. Make sure that your accommodation requirements fit your study requirements. You may be on a course which operates to a non-standard calendar (for example a Semester 2 start); you may have a requirement for a postgraduate writing-up period at the end of your studies; or you may want to attend a graduation ceremony beyond the end of your course and your accommodation contract. Think about these issues and check with your institution or landlord if you have concerns.

Location

Where is the accommodation located?

It may be on campus; it may be near your place of study; or it may be some distance away. If it’s not on campus, check that the locality offers you what you need and what you want: for instance shops, friends living nearby, places for meeting friends and socialising, good transport links, parking provision (if needed), a safe environment.

What are the transport links and what are the costs?

This is particularly important if your accommodation is not on campus or if you can’t reasonably walk (or cycle) to your place of study or to other places that you need or want to get to frequently. In some towns living further out, away from college, shops etc, can save money, as accommodation may be cheaper. If you are thinking of living further out, try and check that possible extra travel costs do not outweigh your savings on rent.

A summary of the differences between institutional halls of residence and living in a shared house in the private sector

Where institutionally-allocated accommodation is available, it is the preferred option for most recently arrived international students. Their reasons often include:

  • positive perceptions of the college/university and confidence in their reliability and trustworthiness and in the quality and value for money of accommodation which they allocate
  • being at the heart of the institution
  • feeling safer and more secure
  • feeling better connected and having more social opportunities
  • having easier access to institutional facilities and services
  • the convenience and confidence that being able to book accommodation pre-arrival gives

These factors may or may not be true about your institution’s accommodation, but there is a strong sense amongst many new international students that these things are important for them. However, think about what is right for you and make your decision on this basis. Often living in the private sector can be rewarding and give you a real sense of what it is like to live in the UK.

How to set about meeting visa requirements

As an international student you have to meet the necessary visa requirements (if applicable) for entry into the UK and onto an education course. You will need to apply for your visa in good time. The international office at your institution will be well placed to advise you on what is required and are likely to include this information on their website.

How to apply for accommodation allocated by your institution

In most cases you must apply for accommodation allocated by your institution before you come to the UK. If you are offered a place on a course, you will usually be asked if you would like your institution either:

  • to provide accommodation; or
  • to help you arrange alternative private accommodation.

Make sure that you follow the college’s application procedures and, in particular, that you meet deadlines for booking accommodation. When you are making enquiries with your institution about available accommodation you should read carefully any information they send you and make the time to find and read thoroughly all information they provide on the college website and useful sites for which they give links. In particular make sure, on the basis of the questions asked in this guidance, that you are clear about what you want and the detail of what options are available.

How to secure accommodation NOT allocated by your institution

Booking accommodation

It is generally not advisable to enter into a contract for longer-term accommodation before you arrive in the UK. There are, however, some exceptions. For example some accommodation providers (such as Unipol Student Homes in Leeds) have an online booking system offering access to their portfolio of accredited properties that are still available in September (the usual time for international students to arrive). It is always worth contacting the accommodation office at your institution to see if they can recommend any such organisations that they work with. For students attending institutions without these relationships, you won’t be able to look at the accommodation and you won’t be able to get a good idea of whether the landlord is trustworthy or not. Nor will you be able to get a full and proper sense of what is available generally in the private sector.

It can be frustrating, arriving with uncertainty about your longer-term accommodation arrangements. However, there are things you can do to help prepare:

  • read through what your institution has to say about private accommodation in your host town or city
  • work out what the processes are for house-hunting and the level of support provided by your institution, your students’ union and any other local agencies. (They may have lists of local accommodation available for rent. They may also have inspected the accommodation to check that it is suitable.) The student office at your country’s Embassy or High Commission in the UK may also be able to give you information about accommodation
  • have a look on the internet to get an early idea of what is available and the quality and cost of accommodation in your host town/city
  • through social networking sites try and connect up online with other international students who are starting at your institution at the same time and who will be looking for private sector accommodation. This could give you a head-start in making new friends; it could also be a way of sorting out housemates with shared interests
  • ensure that you book temporary accommodation before you arrive in the UK, even if this is just for your first night here. Your institution may be able to give you short-term accommodation – check early with them.

If your institution does not have any temporary accommodation to offer you, your other options are hotels and guest houses. Guest houses are like hotels but instead of having a restaurant, they may have a dining room where you have no choice about the meals served. Living in a hotel for a long period of time will be expensive. However, hotels and guest houses provide useful temporary accommodation which you can reserve while still in your home country. Hostels also offer temporary accommodation.

Once you have arrived and you are in your pre-booked temporary accommodation, start your search for longer-term accommodation early. Make full use of whatever house-hunting support your institution offers.

Internet searches, accommodation agencies, local newspapers (for example the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds) and advertisements in shop windows or on an institutional notice board are useful when you are looking for somewhere to live. However, don’t forget to check if there is any type of accreditation scheme in operation. Also, you need to be aware that fraudsters have been known to operate in the private student housing market, preying on vulnerable (often international) students, for example by presenting themselves as legitimate providers online (eg through Gumtree) and getting their victims to hand over money for a deposit on a non-existent property.

Agencies sometimes charge a fee but, by law, they cannot charge you just for registering with them and you should not pay for details of places they have to let.

Viewing properties

Time spent inspecting a potential house systematically is hugely important. This will save you time, money and, maybe, pain. You’ll need to be clear about what you want and work through a checklist each time you view a property:

  • What amenities does it have and how good are they (eg washing machine or plumbing for one, a good cooker)?
  • What sort of heating does it have and how efficient is it to use?
  • Is it furnished and if so, how well for your purposes?
  • Are the bathroom and kitchen facilities adequate?
  • Is the house in good repair, inside and out?
  • If there’s a garden, who is expected to look after it?
  • What are the electrics like? Are they adequate?
  • If there are gas appliances, has the landlord shown you a gas safety certificate which they are required by law to have each year
  • Is there a decent fire detection system and fire escape route?
  • What’s security like?

Properties over a certain number of storeys and occupants (known as Houses of Multiple Occupation or HMOs) need to be licensed (usually five or more rooms over three or more storeys). You can check this with the local authority, which should hold a database with details of properties that have been issued with a licence.

Unipol Student Homes has produced a checklist that you can print off and take with you when you’re going to view a property.

If you take private accommodation, read the contract and any associated documents carefully before you sign. If you have any concerns or queries about the contract or if you want any help with your legal rights you can get free advice at a local law centre or Citizens Advice Bureau. Your institution or students’ union will also offer a free advice service and it advisable to use it. Once you have signed a contract, make sure you get and keep a copy and written receipts for all payments you make.

Accommodation options for students with families

Check early if your institution provides:

  • accommodation suitable for families
  • short-stay accommodation for families or for international students individually
  • house-hunting support for students with families or international students more generally.

Few institutions provide accommodation suitable for students with families and where there is some provision it is in very short supply, both for long-term and short-term temporary accommodation.

Check before you arrive whether your institution can help you in your search for suitable accommodation. Be aware, however, that generally, it takes several weeks for newly-arrived international students to secure family accommodation.

If you are intending to have your family or any dependants with you while you study in the UK, you should:

  • EITHER come on your own first and stay in temporary, single accommodation while you look for a family home. Once you have fixed up your longer-term accommodation for yourself and your family, you can send for your family;
  • OR, if you must arrive with your family or any dependants, bring enough funding to cover the high costs of temporary family accommodation – check with your institution what the minimum needed per night is, eg for a family of four.

Requirements for students with families will vary, but, as a guide, these are the kinds of factors which students with families attach importance to when looking for suitable accommodation:

  • accommodation made safe for children
  • a location close to healthcare services, childcare provision, schools, parks/play areas, bus routes, supermarkets, car parking, parent and toddler groups, ante-natal classes and other forms of local infrastructure that can support family life and reduce the risk of isolation for non-studying parents
  • a quieter location, removed from undergraduate residences
  • a stronger emphasis on the quantity and quality of social space
  • a stronger emphasis on the quality of study space
  • longer-term accommodation contracts
  • affordability

Meeting your accommodation needs if you have a disability

In the UK colleges and universities are legally required not to discriminate against students with a disability and not to treat them less favourably than students without a disability. Institutions are also required to make adjustments to services for disabled students so that they are not disadvantaged in comparison with non-disabled students. These laws apply to international students as well as to students who are UK citizens.

Because the law is strong on disability rights in the UK, you should find your institution helpful in supporting you in your search for suitable accommodation. Some institutions include accommodation in their portfolio which is designed to support students with a disability, for instance wheelchair users. Your institution may also make changes to accommodation to support your particular disability. In some institutions it may even be possible to secure accommodation for the full duration of your course.

There may, however, be no suitable accommodation available at your institution and no accommodation which can be reasonably adjusted to support your needs. In this case, it is important you review the options carefully and seek your institution’s support in helping you find accommodation in the private sector which is suitable for you.

The most important thing here is to let your institution know as early as possible that you have a disability which means you have particular accommodation needs. Although you might declare this as part of your application for a place on a course, it is also advisable to contact the institution’s accommodation service and disability officer to raise and discuss the matter directly with them. In this way you are likely to receive the best service that your institution can offer you. If you do not raise it early, you may be disappointed and struggle to find anything appropriate.

You should also be aware that international students with a disability do not generally have access to additional funding from UK authorities to support their living costs, although funding may be available from your institution to assist with direct study-related costs.

Further information and contacts

The NUS provides some useful information about accommodation on its website: www.nus.org.uk/en/student-life/Housing-Advice/

Unipol Student Homes has a website which is a valuable resource for all students looking for guidance on securing accommodation in the UK.

Hostels in Nottingham

www.hostelbookers.com/hostels/england/nottingham/

Nottinghamshire Tourist Information

http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/

Throughout UK

British Tourist Authority
www.visitbritain.com

for hotels, bed & breakfasts and guest houses.

Youth Hostels Association (YHA)
www.yha.org.uk

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA)
www.ymca.org.uk

Insurance

Endsleigh Insurance
www.endsleigh.co.uk
Endsleigh was set up by the NUS in 1965 to negotiate suitable cover and preferential rates on insurance for students.

© Unipol and UKCISA

This information sheet may only be printed and reproduced provided it is copied unaltered and in its entirety, including Unipol's or UKCISA’s logo, disclaimer, copyright statement and the reference to UKCISA’s website as a source of further updates, and provided that no charge is made to any persons for copies. NO PART OF IT MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES.

The information given in this information sheet is given in good faith and has been carefully checked. UKCISA and Unipol however, accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.

Nottingham House Hunting - our comprehensive guide

Everything you need to know to find the right property for you including who to share with

Utility Bills

Utility bills need paying - there's no getting away from it. But you can reduce the pain by following our advice. There are several easy ways to make sure you spend as little as possible.

When you first move in, make sure you find out who is supplying your property with gas and electricity. This can be done in the following ways: 

  • The previous tenants may have left an old bill in the property
  • The supplier may have sent you a letter telling you that they are your current supplier
  • If you don't have either of these (which is likely), just phone the number for your area from this list. They will be able to give you the contact number of your current supplier.

Contact your gas and electricity supplier as soon as possible and let them know that you are the new tenants – this way you’ll avoid paying for anyone else’s energy. They will ask for your meter readings, so be sure to have noted these down in advance.

The next bit takes about five minutes and could save you around £400: as a new tenant you will have been placed on the provider’s ‘Standard’ tariff, which gives no benefits for paying by direct debit or managing your account online; it is therefore a good idea to switch to a better deal.

Checkout out our blog on Utility Costs

House Hunting Booking Form - Postgraduates

Book your place on a Unipol House Hunting Event

City Centre Living

"Nottingham is a vibrant city that has a lot to offer whatever your taste".

There are plenty of things to do and see all round the city. Living in the city centre means you have a vast array of amenities right on your doorstep, with many more just a short walk or tram-ride away. But do remember that accommodation costs in the city centre can generally be more expensive than other areas of Nottingham but careful budgeting can make this a good option. Below are some of the highlights of city centre living, along with screenshots of Unipol Code city centre accommodation. (N.B -this is for display purposes only, please carry out your own search to check out current availability)

Like to Shop?

Nottingham has two main indoor shopping centres; Victoria Centre and the Broadmarsh Centre both of which contain many recognisable stores like Topshop, Argos, BHS, Tesco Metro and HMV. The Bridlesmith Gate area of town has numerous designer shops and is home to the Paul Smith flagship store. There are ample amounts of independent and vintage stores located around the city, particularly in the Hockley area.

Like sport?

For sport there are two football grounds that host Nottingham’s two football teams; Nottingham Forest FC and Notts County FC, the National Ice Centre that is home to Nottingham’s ice hockey team the Nottingham Panthers, Trent Bridge Cricket Ground and the National Water Sports Centre.

Love live music?

If music is more your thing, there is plenty of choice. "The Capital FM Arena is a multi-use arena" where you can go and see all kinds of performances from some of the country’s top music artists, comedians as well as TV tours such as Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor. There are also smaller venues such as Rock City, The Bodega and Jam Café where you can go and see up-coming and local talent perform. Don’t forget to check out what your Student Union is offering too.

Like a bit of history?

There are also "numerous historic sites in Nottingham" you can go and visit for instance the Nottingham Castle, The City Caves, The Robin Hood statute and famous real ale pubs such as the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Ye Olde Salutation and the Malt Cross.

  

More general entertainment

The city is also full of places to go for entertainment such as the Broadway cinema, The Lost City indoor mini-golf course, MFA bowling as well as an abundance of vibrant cafés, bars and restaurants. If you feel like escaping the city, "Nottingham has some lovely parks". One of the most popular parks is Wollaton Hall and Park, located just outside the University of Nottingham Main Campus. There is also the Arboretum Park which is just a five minute walk from the Victoria Centre.

As you can see, "Nottingham has a copious amount of places to see and activities to do which makes it an ideal place for students to live and visit".

Search Results:

For this search Rosie who is a student of UoN wanted to live in the City Centre in a room in a large development covered by the Unipol Code. Rosie wanted the assurances that living in an accredited property would offer. The screenshot A shows one of 12 results that this search produced:

Screenshot A

In this below search, Rosie had a look at what she could get if she lived in a smaller shared property such as a house in the City. Again she just looked up properties covered by the Unipol Code. The search brought up a total of 15 results, one of which is shown in Screenshot B:

Screenshot B

Know your rights - Contracts, Deposits, Repairs and more

Living in a rented property is governed by law and regulation. As well as placing responsibilities on you as a tenant, this also gives you rights.

Viewing a Property: Checklist

Running through this checklist will give you a reasonably thorough survey of any house you are thinking of renting:

Gas and electricity

  • Is the heating in the house adequate (imagine whether it will be adequate in the middle of winter)?
  • Do the electric/gas fires work? Does the cooker work?
  • If the cooker is a gas cooker, does the thermostat work?
  • Have you had your gas and electricity meters read immediately after you have taken responsibility for the property?
  • Have you asked to see a copy of a Gas Safe Register safety record for the gas appliances?
  • Have you asked to see the Electrical Periodic Safety report?

Plumbing

  • Does the plumbing work?
  • Have you tried all the taps?
  • Do the sinks drain?
  • Does the toilet flush or leak?
  • Is there any hot water and how do you pay for it?
  • Are there any signs of pests (mouse droppings, slug trails, fleas) in the house?

Security

  • Is the house secure?
  • Is there a burglar alarm that works?
  • Are all the external doors solid?
  • Have all external doors been fitted with a five-lever mortise lock?
  • Do all ground floor windows have security catches?
  • Have you identified your own property by putting your postcode on all your valuables?
  • Are the ground floor bedroom curtains lined or thick enough?

Furniture

  • Has the house got enough furniture for the occupants?
  • Is there sufficient space in the kitchen to store and prepare food stuff?
  • Is any of the existing furniture the property of existing tenants?
  • Is all the furniture in good condition?
  • Is the furniture fire retardant?

Appliances

  • What is provided with the house?
  • Are there instructions on how to use the appliances? 

Insurance

  • Do you wish to be insured?

Services

  • What services is the owner providing for you, if any? Window cleaning, gardening, lighting of common parts, dustbin and refuse disposal?

Money

  • What are you paying for in your rent? How does it compare to other rents? Have you paid a deposit? If so what is it for? Have you got a receipt for what you have paid? Are you or the owner responsible for water charges?
  • How much will heating the house cost?

Agreements

  • Do you know what your contract means?
  • Have you talked to the previous occupants of the house and asked them if they have any comments that would help you?
  • Have you been given a copy of the contract you have signed?
  • Are you jointly liable with the other tenants?

Owner

  • Do you know your owner's name and address?

Outside the property

  • Does the roof look sound? (You can check for damp from the inside of the house too)
  • Have the gutters got plants growing out of them?
  • Are the drains clear?
  • Is any of the woodwork rotting or unsafe?
  • What to do when you are moving in

Cleaning

  • Was the house clean?
  • If not, have you told the owner what the condition was in writing?

Safety

  • In the event of fire in the main access passageways of the house, could you get out of the house?
  • Are smoke detectors or fire alarms fitted?
  • Has the house any fire doors?

Repairs

  • Do any repairs need doing?
  • Have you told the owner in writing what needs doing?

Decorating

  • Does any decorating need doing?
  • If so, who is doing it and who is paying? Has the owner set any upper limit if you are decorating the house yourself? Get confirmation in writing.

Environmental issues

  • How is the water heated - is it economical?
  • If there is a hot water tank is it insulated? Does it have a BSA approved insulation jacket over three inches thick?
  • What heating system is there? how much does it cost to run?
  • Are the windows sound with no drafts?

Viewing a Property: Checklist

Running through this checklist will give you a reasonably thorough survey of any house you are thinking of renting:Running through this checklist will give you a reasonably thorough survey of any house you are thinking of renting:

Help and Advice - Bradford

Unipol Student Homes
Richmond Building
University of Bradford
Bradford
BD7 1DP
Telephone 01274 235 899
E-Mail info@unipol.bradford.ac.uk

Unipol Student Homes

We are a friendly knowledgeable team, here to help and offer advice.  Below is a bit about us plus information on who to contact if you have any problems.

Your local Unipol team

JoMacNaughton.pngJo MacNaughton - Accommodation Services Officer

Jo  oversees the day to day running of the Housing Hub, ensuring that all our consumers receive the same high quality of service.  Jo also oversees the Unipol Code in Bradford and inspects new and existing members' properties to ensure that the high standards expected under the Code are maintained. 

On behalf of Unipol, Jo also oversees the day-to-day running of the accommodation provision for Bradford College.

You can contact Jo at Bradford College on 01274 436400 or email j.macnaughton@unipol.org.uk

 

BethanyLowe-1.pngGeorgeEllis-1.png

Beth, George, Maud - Housing Hub Assistants
Like our key client group, Beth, George, Maud are students. They work at Unipol part-time and help fellow students to find suitable good quality accommodation. They also help our landlords to advertise their properties.

To contact the Housing Hub about advertising or for general house hunting advice please email or call 01274 235899.

Unipol is one organisation

Unipol operates in three cities. Overseeing the Bradford operation is a senior team of managers who regularly visit the city to support the development of the service.  Should you like to contact one of these managers please see the information below. Our complaints procedure can be viewed here.

Our senior team is:

NicolaVictoria

 

 

 


Nicola Brown - Assistant Chief Executive - Housing Hub Services
Nicola oversees all the Housing Hub operations in all three cities.  She also oversees the operation of the accommodation provision for Bradford College.  You can contact Nicola by email

Victoria Loverseed - Student Interface Manager
Victoria oversees the Unipol accreditation schemes in all three cities.  You can contact her by email

Unipol Code Queries and Complaints

If you have a general query about the Code or you want to find out how to make a complaint, contact the Code Administrator on 01274 235 899 or 01274 436 400.

University of Bradford Accommodation Office
Tel: 01274 234 883

University of Bradford Students' Union
Tel: 01274 233 300

Bradford College Accommodation Office
Tel: 01274 436 400
Email: accommodationservices@bradfordcollege.ac.uk

Bradford College Students' Union
Tel: 01274 433 007

Council

Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council
Reporting disrepair and noise problems
Environmental Health Tel: 01274 753 531
Rubbish collection, Cleansing Department Tel: 01274 751 000
Pest Control Tel: 01274 753 926

Regulatory and Consumer Protection Agencies

Health and Safety Executive
Information Line: 0845 345 0055
Web: www.hse.gov.uk
Leeds Fax: 0113 283 4382

Gas Safe Register
National Watchdog for Gas Safety in Britain - useful for checking gas engineers' registration.
Tel: 0800 408 5500
Web: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Transco
Web: http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/

Ofgem
The regulator for Britain's gas and electrical industries funded by the DTI, Ofgem provides advice on changing suppliers, price comparisons and information on bills, safety and services.
Tel: 020 7901 7295
Web: www.ofgem.gov.uk

Energy Watch
Consumer Information and complaints service about gas and electricity suppliers
Tel: 08454 04 05 06
Web: www.energywatch.org.uk

Ofcom
UK regulator of the communications industry
Web: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/

Office of Fair Trading
Complaints about Unfair Contract Terms
Web: www.oft.gov.uk

Utilities

British Telecom
Customer Services: 0800 800 150

Gas & Electricity
British Gas 0800 111 999
www.britishgas.co.uk
Gas Leaks 0800 111 999 [24 hr]

Yorkshire Electricity
To report a power failure, call: 0800 375 675

Yorkshire Water
Enquiries: 0845 1242424
Leakline: 0800 573 553

Drop in and Support Services - Bradford

Unipol Bradford hosts a legal advice service provided by Chadwick Lawrence LLP Solicitors, a respected firm based in Leeds. They provide a wide range of legal services and have a specialist housing law department which deals with all landlord and tenant problems.

Pest control - Bradford

Treatment is available from your Local Authority Environmental Health Department for a range of pests that commonly affect the home including:

  • Ants
  • Bedbugs
  • Cock roaches
  • Fleas
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Wasps

You should contact your landlord if the property you are staying in is affected by any of these pests, as they may be able to assist with treatment.

Some pests will be treated for free by your Local Authority, whilst for others a charge is made. Please contact the relevant Local Authority for more details.

Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Tel - 01274 433926

Council Tax - Bradford

In each area the local authority collects Council Tax to help fund local services including education, police and fire. The charge is based on the value of the property, and is paid yearly.  

House Hunting Booking Form - University of Leeds International students

This event will be held at Unipol Student Homes, 155 - 157 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 3ED.

Friday 13th September  


Agenda

10.00am - 10.15am:    Arrive and Coffee

10.15am - 10.30am:    Welcome and Presentation by Unipol about House Hunting 

10.30am - 11.15am:    Mixing Event for Students

11.15am - 5.00pm:      House Hunting and viewing properties

 Security code

 

For further information telephone 0113 243 0169 or email

 

Postgraduate and International Students

New to Nottingham? Unipol can help you secure suitable accommodation, offering lots of advice along the way.

Information for Tenants on Rights of Redress against Agents and Property Managers

Briefing for Tenants on Rights of Redress against Agents and Property Managers

If you are a tenant in the private rented sector and you are unhappy with the way you have been treated by a lettings agent or property manager, you can make a complaint to a redress scheme. If you plan to do this, always complain directly to the agent first because the redress scheme will not examine complaints as a line of first resort.

The law says that most private sector lettings agents and managing agents must belong to a redress scheme.


Q: What is a Redress Scheme?

A: A redress scheme can investigate complaints about your agent and come to an independent decision.  If your complaint is upheld, the redress scheme can impose fines and order the agent to pay you up to £25,000 compensation. 

You can’t use a scheme to complain about businesses if all they do is advertise properties or provide information.  But if they are arranging your tenancy, or arranging repairs, maintenance, insurance or other services during your tenancy, the redress scheme may be able to help you.

You can’t use a redress scheme if your landlord is a local authority, a University, a charity providing student housing (such as Unipol) or social housing provider.


Q: How Do I make a Complaint?

A: You should raise the complaint with the agent or manager in the first instance.  If your complaint is not resolved, ask them which redress scheme they belong to.  It will be one of the following:

Each scheme has information on its website about how to lodge a complaint.


Q: What if the Agent/Manager Will Not Co-operate?

A: Your agent or manager may not need to belong to a scheme.  A reputable agent or manager which is exempt from belonging to a scheme will be able to explain clearly to you why they are exempt. You may have to take an exempt agent or manager to court if you want to get your complaint resolved.

If your agent or manager will not co-operate, you will need to find out if your lettings agent or property manager is exempt or if it has a duty to belong to a redress scheme.  Ask for help from a housing advisor if you are not sure about this.

If there is a duty to belong to a scheme, you can check with the individual schemes whether the agent or manager is a member. If they are a member, you can then lodge your complaint with the relevant scheme. 

If the agent or manager should belong to a scheme, but does not, report them to the local authority (details of how to do this will appear here soon). The Local Authority (your City Council) could fine them up to £5,000 for failure to belong to a scheme. The Local Authority impose and collect these penalties, and in Leeds 183 investigations have taken place and £47,500 of invoices have been issued, as of January 2016. 


Q: What Can the Redress Scheme Do for Me?

A: The redress scheme will make an independent investigation of your complaint.  There is no charge for lodging a complaint. 

If the redress scheme resolves the complaint in your favour, it can direct the agent to give you an apology, it can impose a fine and it can order the agent to pay you compensation of up to £25,000.

In serious cases, the agent could be fined, or expelled from the scheme.  That in turn may drive them out of business.  That’s not just good for you, it’s good for all tenants.

Note

The applicable legislation can be found:

The Enterprise and Regulations Reform Act 2013 sections 83 to 88 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/24/part/6/crossheading/redress-schemes-lettings-and-property-management-agents/enacted

and

The Redress Schemes for Lettings Agency Work and Property Management Work (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc) (England) Order 2014

Further information for Leeds landlords can be found at:

 

http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Business/Pages/lettings-and-property-redress-scheme.aspx

 

Money Matters

Money matters - read here our top tips for keeping you in the black

What area should I live in?

Deciding on a location to live in is always a top priority, but what if you do not know where to start? Use our online area guides  

Study Abroad and Erasmus students

Welcome to the UK! Studying abroad is an exciting time and gives you the opportunity not only to study in a new environment but to experience a different culture and way of life.  Your College or University in the UK will offer lots of advice and assistance through your department or your International Student Office to help you settle in quickly.

Where do I live? Halls or in a house share?

Although you will in most cases be able to stay in university accommodation (if that is what you want) Unipol Student Homes who work with your institution can offer alternative accommodation if you would like to stay in a house share or just investigate other options.

Unipol works with many international students each year who decide to look in the private sector and our range of available properties and locations is always popular.

Unipol has a number of properties of our own but also work with many private landlords and agencies who have been accredited under the Unipol Code. 

Your new home - be safe and secure with the Unipol Code

Put simply the Unipol Code is a way for students to identify landlords and agencies who have voluntarily signed up to be accountable in terms of physical and management standards. 

For you this means peace of mind and a place to come for help should you have any problems 

The Unipol Codes 

So how do I start?

Use our property search

Our property search will allow you to search for properties by:

  • type
  • location - check out our area guides
  • distance from university
  • length of stay (This is particularly important if you are only coming to the UK for one semester.  To search by length of stay you will need to open up the advanced search and make a time selection under ‘Short Term Let?’)

Our property adverts will tell you if the property is accredited.  it's easy - just look for the symbols below and if you see this on an advert you will know your property is covered.

Unipol Code Properties (from left to right): Student Halls, a Unipol owned or managed property Unipol, a privately owned shared property.

 


Q: I like a property - what do i do?

A: To contact the accommodation provider and book a viewing either use the Book a Viewing button or use the Contact Details in the main advert which will provide a telephone number.

Top Tip: If you are looking for a room in a shared property with other students don’t forget to change the ‘Whole Property or single Room Required?’ option to ‘Rooms in a shared property/large development’.

Begin my Property Search

Use the student noticeboard

The student noticeboard is a popular tool to help you meet other students to house hunt with or just to find a spare room in a student property.  You can read posts from other students and place your own posts too with details about what you are looking for, when you are arriving and for how long you need the room.

That sounds good - take me to the noticeboard

Look at Unipol’s own properties

Unipol has its own properties too and we normally have a number of options available.  You will identify our own properties through the green ‘thumbs up’ symbol with the U.  Many of our properties are also available to rent online so you can arrange your accommodation before you arrive. 

Unipol Properties 

To talk through your options please email: Living with Unipol

 

 

Want your dream home? You are in the right place

House Hunting with Unipol gives you access to the better landlords

The Unipol Code: delivering better landlords and agents

The Unipol Codes in a nutshell

Safer homes for students    /    Better landlords and agents    /    Peace of mind

"The Unipol Codes are here to provide students with a better standard of housing".
 
We want you to enjoy your time in Nottingham to the full and not have to worry about living in a place where you feel unsafe or unhappy.  The Unipol Code is all about providing you with a property from a landlord who has had to meet tough entry criteria and ongoing standards. Landlords join voluntarily and are expected to meet the highest standards of customer care and health and safety. 
 
"By choosing a Code landlord you will have a safer, easier experience in your rented accommodation".
 
The Codes cover all sorts of accommodation from rooms in halls to shared student houses and studios.  In Nottingham we have over 24,000 bed spaces accredited so there is no reason to pick a property or room that is not covered.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Highlights  

You can get 24 hours to get your contract checked before you sign for a property

No nonsense repairs

If something goes wrong in your Code home members are committed to doing repairs within set timescales, once they have been reported, so you are not overly inconvenienced.

Deposits

Deposits have to be managed fairly and protected in a deposit protection scheme

Your landlord will act professionally and politely

Code landlords are responsive, professional and committed to sorting out repairs and complaints promptly. They will also be courteous and provide first rate customer service.

Your safety is their priority

The fire safety measures will exceed those set by the Council and additional safety and security measures will be in place to keep you safe

Keeping standards high

Unipol inspects hundreds of Code homes every year to make sure standards are up to scratch. Our trained inspectors will pick up problems and give landlords action plans if improvements are necessary. The Unipol Code will cover the important safety stuff in a property, but you need to make a choice about the décor and level of ‘luxury’ you want, and how much you are willing to pay - the Code does not cover this.

What if things go wrong?

Most Code landlords will get on straight away with your repair once you report it in writing, often faster than the priority timescales. However some repairs and problems might take longer to resolve. Click below for our tried and tested route to being a good complainer! Be a good complainer

You may also not agree over the priority timescale - something that is very inconvenient, for example a broken shower, may not be urgent so other emergencies might take priority. However your landlord should keep you informed about progress.
 
"Don’t be afraid to write formally to your landlord. If you believe they have breached the Code raise this and ask for a resolution".
 
Links to more information

The Unipol Codes 

Accommodation Search

 

Unipol - We make house hunting easy

Looking for your dream student home? Unipol can help

The Unipol Code: delivering better landlords and agents in Leeds

The Unipol Codes in a nutshell

Safer homes for students    /    Better landlords and agents    /    Peace of mind

"The Unipol Codes are here to provide students with a better standard of housing".
 
We want you to enjoy your time in Leeds to the full and not have to worry about living in a place where you feel unsafe or unhappy.  The Unipol Code is all about providing you with a property from a landlord who has had to meet tough entry criteria and ongoing standards. Landlords join voluntarily and are expected to meet the highest standards of customer care and health and safety. 
 
"By choosing a Code landlord you will have a safer, easier experience in your rented accommodation".
 
The Codes cover all sorts of accommodation from rooms in halls to shared student houses and studios.  In Leeds we have over 30,000 bed spaces accredited so there is no reason to pick a property or room that is not covered.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Highlights  

You can get 24 hours to get your contract checked before you sign for a property

No nonsense repairs

If something goes wrong in your Code home members are committed to doing repairs within set timescales, once they have been reported, so you are not overly inconvenienced.

Deposits

Deposits have to be managed fairly and protected in a deposit protection scheme

Your landlord will act professionally and politely

Code landlords are responsive, professional and committed to sorting out repairs and complaints promptly. They will also be courteous and provide first rate customer service.

Your safety is their priority

The fire safety measures will exceed those set by the Council and additional safety and security measures will be in place to keep you safe

Keeping standards high

Unipol inspects hundreds of Code homes every year to make sure standards are up to scratch. Our trained inspectors will pick up problems and give landlords action plans if improvements are necessary. The Unipol Code will cover the important safety stuff in a property, but you need to make a choice about the décor and level of ‘luxury’ you want, and how much you are willing to pay - the Code does not cover this.

What if things go wrong?

Most Code landlords will get on straight away with your repair once you report it in writing, often faster than the priority timescales. However some repairs and problems might take longer to resolve. Click below for our tried and tested route to being a good complainer! Be a good complainer

You may also not agree over the priority timescale - something that is very inconvenient, for example a broken shower, may not be urgent so other emergencies might take priority. However your landlord should keep you informed about progress.
 
"Don’t be afraid to write formally to your landlord. If you believe they have breached the Code raise this and ask for a resolution".
 
Links to more information

The Unipol Codes 

Accommodation Search

 

Unipol - We make house hunting easy- Leeds

Looking for your dream student home? Unipol can help

The Unipol Code: delivering better landlords and agents in Bradford

The Unipol Codes in a nutshell

Safer homes for students    /    Better landlords and agents    /    Peace of mind

"The Unipol Codes are here to provide students with a better standard of housing".
 
We want you to enjoy your time in Bradford to the full and not have to worry about living in a place where you feel unsafe or unhappy.  The Unipol Code is all about providing you with a property from a landlord who has had to meet tough entry criteria and ongoing standards. Landlords join voluntarily and are expected to meet the highest standards of customer care and health and safety. 
 
"By choosing a Code landlord you will have a safer, easier experience in your rented accommodation".
 
The Codes cover all sorts of accommodation from rooms in halls to shared student houses and studios.  In Bradford we have over 4,800 bed spaces accredited so there is no reason to pick a property or room that is not covered.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Highlights  

You can get 24 hours to get your contract checked before you sign for a property

No nonsense repairs

If something goes wrong in your Code home members are committed to doing repairs within set timescales, once they have been reported, so you are not overly inconvenienced.

Deposits

Deposits have to be managed fairly and protected in a deposit protection scheme

Your landlord will act professionally and politely

Code landlords are responsive, professional and committed to sorting out repairs and complaints promptly. They will also be courteous and provide first rate customer service.

Your safety is their priority

The fire safety measures will exceed those set by the Council and additional safety and security measures will be in place to keep you safe

 

Keeping standards high

Unipol inspects hundreds of Code homes every year to make sure standards are up to scratch. Our trained inspectors will pick up problems and give landlords action plans if improvements are necessary. The Unipol Code will cover the important safety stuff in a property, but you need to make a choice about the décor and level of ‘luxury’ you want, and how much you are willing to pay - the Code does not cover this.

What if things go wrong?

Most Code landlords will get on straight away with your repair once you report it in writing, often faster than the priority timescales. However some repairs and problems might take longer to resolve. Click below for our tried and tested route to being a good complainer! Be a good complainer

You may also not agree over the priority timescale - something that is very inconvenient, for example a broken shower, may not be urgent so other emergencies might take priority. However your landlord should keep you informed about progress.
 
"Don’t be afraid to write formally to your landlord. If you believe they have breached the Code raise this and ask for a resolution".
 
Links to more information

The Unipol Codes 

Accommodation Search

 

Unipol - We make house hunting easy

Looking for your dream student home? Unipol can help 

Rate Your Landlord terms and conditions

The terms and conditions for posting a review on Rate Your Landlord. Here's what you need to know.

Rate Your Landlord

Rate Your Landlord lets students in Leeds leave feedback about their renting experiences. It’s a bit like TripAdvisor - a student submits a review about their renting experience, the review is then moderated, the landlord gets a right of reply, and the review is made live.

The reviews rate landlords and agents on things like customer service, efficiency of repairs, safety and security, deposit handling and more. This means you can check out what students have said about their property and their landlord which should hopefully help you with your house hunting. 

Join the 1000s of students who have already left a review

As well as reading what other students have said about their renting experience it is important that you too share your experience.

 Rate MY Landlord - Add a Review

How to Rate

When leaving a review remember to give a fair and balanced view and opinion, backed up with the facts. If you’ve had a brilliant time then you need to tell other students who you think is great. If you’ve had difficulties then say so - just make sure you’re fair and accurate, as what you say is in the public domain, and landlords can respond to concerns to make sure each side has their fair say.

Rate Your Landlord is here for every student from every university and college in Leeds.

 Read Reviews

We do not display who posts reviews. Submission and Moderation Rules can be found here

Rate Your Landlord scheme is a partnership between Unipol Student Homes and Leeds University Union.

Right to Rent - A Guide for Students

Under the Immigration Act 2011, every landlord is required by law to verify the immigration status of their prospective tenants.  Find out how this is likely to affect you.  

Homeshare - affordable alternative for students

Homeshare

Homeshare is a really simple idea.  The scheme matches people looking for an affordable place to live with an older person with a spare room who needs a helping hand at home.

A Homeshare you can call a home

Wondering if you can afford to eat and rent? Fed up of the traditional student house sharing experience?  Want a lifetime experience which brings you new friendships and great value accommodation in a comfortable family home? 

Leeds Homeshare, a new scheme, offered by Leeds City Council, could be just the answer.

What is it? 

The scheme matches older people who want to maintain their independence and to stay in their own homes with younger people who want to stay in a home environment. 

How does it work?

The service carefully matches up the older person (Homeowner) with someone (Homesharer) who needs a home.

No personal care is involved but the Homesharer agrees to provide around 10 hours a week of support to the Homeowner in exchange for lodging. Helping with those things that can start to get difficult as you get older such as, shopping, cooking, cleaning, walking the dog maybe or looking after the garden.  Or, it can be just to have someone to watch the telly with.  The homesharer pays no rent paid but does pay a fee of £150 per month to Leeds City Council. 

To apply for the scheme, you complete and submit the appropriate form (details below).  The Homeshare team then sensitively process the applications, interview you and match you to homeowners carefully to ensure compatability.  You will meet the homeowner so you can decide if the match is right for you.

Homeshare is a flexible scheme and Leeds City Council consult with you to put together agreement that’s right for you. This covers how the living arrangements such as splitting utility bills will work. A share will last a minimum of 6 months but most last longer, usually 9 -12 months.

In addition to application checks, including DBS, References and Credit Checks, there is a thorough assessment and ongoing support.

Homeshare is an affordable housing option, saving you money to do more of the things you enjoy, avoid mounting debt whilst building rewarding new relationships. 

A Homesharer talks about the scheme:

 “The Homeshare scheme fits my needs perfectly as I love helping people and I enjoy caring, sharing and making a positive difference to the Householder’s life.  I help with cooking, light housework and just being there for company.  In the times we are now living in, it is a great way to support each other and I also benefit by having a lovely home to live in at an affordable price.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Homeshare call on telephone: 0113 3785410 or email

Find out more about Homeshare

Student Exemption Certificates for Council Tax

Need to show you are a full time student for Council Tax exemption purposes?  Find out more here.

Nottingham House Hunting Checklist 2019

Prepare for House Hunting in Nottingham with Unipol House Hunting starts 9th November 2019  

Bradford House Hunting Checklist 2020

The largest selection of accredited accommodation went live on the Unipol website on

Monday 3rd February 2020

 

We have put together this checklist for you which should get you fully equipped with the tools you need for house hunting in February.

Get a feel for what you like. 

It's important that you get a varied view of what's on offer so you can compare features and prices. Shop around and search the Unipol website after the 3rd February to compare thousands of different types of student accommodation. 

 Learn a little bit about the Unipol Code and why you're better off choosing a Code landlord.

Living in a Unipol Code property will ensure the customer service and physical standards of the property are higher than the legal minimum. The Unipol Code Complaints process can also help resolve problems quickly. 

 Get your contract checked. 

Once you've decided where you'd like to live, the landlord will give you a contract to sign. Here's a bit of information on contracts so you know what to expect and to help you get equipped with the tools to recognise any niggly bits.

Once you're given your contract, take it into the Unipol Hub so an expert can take a fresh look at it before you sign.

 What's your budget?

In most cases there will be costs involved in addition to just the rent. Make sure you have worked out what your budget is before you sign for a property you may not be able to afford.

 


 

For a more detailed checklist about what to look out for whilst viewing a property, check out the Unipol Viewing Checklist here.

As a not-for-profit, values focused charity, our aim is to:

  1. Provide real, honest advice without hype or bias, 

  2. Make sure you have the right information and confidence to make your own decisions about your next home, 

  3. Improve the standards of student accommodation to ensure you get the safest property possible from the best landlord. 

So contact us for impartial advice at any point in your house hunting journey. 

 

If you would like us to email you once the site goes live, you can join up to our Priority Mailing List below. 

 

House hunting on your own? We've got you covered.

Whether you’re looking for a group of likeminded students to meet and house-share with, or you’re looking to rent an individual room in a shared flat or house, we have you covered.
 
As a housing charity Unipol helps individuals to find accommodation they’re happy living in, and we have a few options for people househunting on their own:

 

1. Individually let rooms in shared properties

UnipolHousing_Pink_Web.png

A number of Unipol's shared houses and flats are let out to individuals, meaning you can sign for and move into a property without the pressure of finding a group of people to live with beforehand. All tenants in the property will sign seperate contracts, so you will not be tied into financial liability with other housemates.

The majority of Unipol's rents include all bills, WiFi, flatscreen TV and contents' insurance.

View Unipol properties which are let to individuals by clicking here

individuals.png

 

To search for individual lets with other landlords on the Unipol.org site, click here, expand the 'Advanced Filters' and check the 'Individual lets' box.

 

2. Find a group of students to live with online

There are a couple of different ways in which we can help you to find a group online, or advertise your rooms to other students if you need someone to take over your contract. You can post or respond to posts on our student noticeboard here, and you can join and post on our househunters' Facebook group here.

 

3. Self-contained flats for students wanting to live on their own

Unipol's wide choice of student accommodation includes self-contained options for those who want to live on their own or in a one bed as a couple. This includes cosy one and two bed houses and flats, and bedsits and studio apartments in all the popular areas. This means your options aren't limited if you'd prefer to live a bit more independently.

View our selection of self-contained accommodation here

 

4. Need some help looking?

Our friendly hub staff can answer any questions and help you look. Feel free to contact us on 0113 243 0169 or pop by the hub on Woodhouse Lane. 

 

House hunting on your own in Bradford? We've got you covered.

Whether you’re looking for a group of likeminded students to meet and house-share with, or you’re looking to rent an individual room in a shared flat, we have you covered.  

House hunting on your own in Leeds? We've got you covered.

Whether you’re looking for a group of likeminded students to meet and house-share with, or you’re looking to rent an individual room in a shared flat or house, we have you covered.
 
As a housing charity Unipol helps individuals to find accommodation they’re happy living in, and we have a few options for people househunting on their own:

 

1. Individually let rooms in shared properties

UnipolHousing_Pink_Web.png

A number of Unipol's shared houses and flats are let out to individuals, meaning you can sign for and move into a property without the pressure of finding a group of people to live with beforehand. All tenants in the property will sign seperate contracts, so you will not be tied into financial liability with other housemates.

The majority of Unipol's rents include all bills, WiFi, flatscreen TV and contents' insurance.

View Unipol properties which are let to individuals by clicking here

individuals.png

 

To search for individual lets with other landlords on the Unipol.org site, click here, expand the 'Advanced Filters' and check the 'Individual lets' box.

 

2. Find a group of students to live with online

There are a couple of different ways in which we can help you to find a group online, or advertise your rooms to other students if you need someone to take over your contract. You can post or respond to posts on our student noticeboard here, and you can join and post on our househunters' Facebook group here.

 

3. Self-contained flats for students wanting to live on their own

Unipol's wide choice of student accommodation includes self-contained options for those who want to live on their own or in a one bed as a couple. This includes cosy one and two bed houses and flats, and bedsits and studio apartments in all the popular areas. This means your options aren't limited if you'd prefer to live a bit more independently.

View our selection of self-contained accommodation here

 

4. Need some help looking?

Our friendly hub staff can answer any questions and help you look. Feel free to contact us on 0113 243 0169 or pop by the hub on Woodhouse Lane. 

 

House hunting on your own in Nottingham? We've got you covered.

Whether you’re looking for a group of likeminded students to meet and house-share with, or you’re looking to rent an individual room in a shared flat or house, we have you covered.  

Urban Garden Arts Project

This competition provides Leeds artists with the chance to display their work in the local community.

Voting is now closed. Watch this space for the results...

The top voted three designs will win one of three spaces on which to display their work along the A660 in Leeds.
Please vote for three, ranking them in order from 1st to 3rd place. 

The artwork brief outline: 

  • The natural world
  • Flora and fauna
  • Re-naturing urban spaces
  • Forgotton relations between man and nature.

Anyone can vote in this competition. Make sure you have your say to help visually improve your community, and please help to spread the word by sharing on your social media! 

Good luck to the artists!

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*Email addresses will only be used for this purpose and will be deleted once the competition has ended.


Thanks to the Urban Garden Arts Project contributors: Leeds Federated Housing, University of Leeds, Leeds Student Medical Practice, Unipol Student Homes, Harrisons Developments and Leeds City Council for making the project possible.

Nottingham Priority Mailing List

Receive Priority access to thousands of properties in Nottingham for academic year 2021-2022.

Accommodation goes November 2020

 

Which University and campus are you studying at?:






Which area are you interested in?:










Who would you like to live with?:


Bradford Priority Mailing List

Join the Bradford Priority Mailing List and receive up to date information about student housing     

Leeds House Hunting Checklist

As a not-for-profit, values focused charity, our aim is to:

 

  1. Provide real, honest advice without hype or bias, 

  2. Make sure you have the right information and confidence to make your own decisions about your next home, 

  3. Improve the standards of student accommodation to ensure you get the safest property possible from the best landlord. 

 

✅ Get a feel for what you like and what you are looking for. 

It's important that you get a varied view of what's on offer so you can compare features and prices. Shop around and search the Unipol website. Unipol still has a good choice of accommodation available.

Start My Search

If you are house hunting alone Unipol you can search for individual rooms in shared houses or larger student developments.  On our search just set the bedroom number required to 1 and adjust the rent slider to the maximum you want to pay. You can also use our Student Noticeboard.  Students looking to fill a room in their house or find a replacement use this facility.

 

✅ Learn a little bit about the Unipol Code and why you're better off choosing a Code landlord.

Living in a Unipol Code property will ensure the customer service and physical standards of the property are higher than the legal minimum. The Unipol Code Complaints process can also help resolve problems quickly. 

 

✅ Check Rate Your Landlord.

Take a look at what previous tenants have said about things like: customer service, efficiency of repairs, safety and security, deposit handling and more. Rate Your Landlord is a bit like TripAdvisor, so it's an extremely useful website to refer to when house hunting. 

 

✅ Get your contract checked.

Once you've decided where you'd like to live, the landlord will give you a contract to sign. Here's a bit of information on contracts so you know what to expect and to help you get equipped with the tools to recognise any niggly bits.

 

✅ What's your budget?

In most cases there will be additional costs involved. Make sure you have worked out your budget including utilities such as energy and internet.  As a guide allow an extra £15 a week. 

Find out more in our Leeds Housing Guide

 

✅ Use the Unipol Personal Shopping Experience?

Let Unipol help you find your ideal student home. Just contact Unipol via WebChat or the form below and we can do the hard work for you. 

 

 
 

Not found a group to live with next year?

Many students start worrying that they have not found a group to live with for their next academic year. Here are some options for students House Hunting on their own.

Unipol Focus Group - 4th March 2020 2:30pm

Thank you for your interest in the Unipol focus group.

The participants have now been chosen and the group has now been closed.

Coronavirus: Students and Landlords

Advice during the COVID19 pandemic covering rent, social distancing, moving in and out of properties and the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Thank you for signing up to the Nottingham HH event

Thank you for signing up to the Nottingham House Hunting event. 

You will receive an email shortly with more information about the day.