Living in the community - Leeds

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

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

Leeds 6 (Woodhouse, Hyde Park and Headingley) is the main focus of student occupancy but other areas have large numbers of students and may offer you better value for money. Although these areas are considered 'student areas', they haven't always been that way and they may not really have that high a proportion of students.

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 Leeds' 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.