Contracts and Legislation
Jeffrey Ross will provide the initial tenancy agreement (contract) for you and collect the first months rent and bond before passing it over to the landlord.
Tenancy arrangements in shared accommodation can vary. The most typical scenarios include:
- One tenancy agreement which each student in the property signs. You all share the property and its facilities and don’t have exclusive possession of any part, even though in practice you may agree to occupy a particular bedroom and pay individual contributions towards the rent. This is a joint tenancy.
- Each student in the property has their own tenancy agreement because they each have exclusive possession of one specific room while sharing other facilities such as the kitchen. In this case, each student has a sole tenancy.
- One student in the property signs the tenancy agreement and has a sole tenancy. They then sub-let rooms separately to other students either as sub-tenants or as lodgers.
Your rights and responsibilities will vary depending on whether you have a joint or sole tenancy or whether you have a tenant as your resident landlord.
More information about renting as a student can be found here.
HMO Licence (House in multiple occupation licence)
Lots of students will live in properties that are legally required to be licensed. These are properties with 5 or more people who are not all a part of the same immediate family living on three or more floors.
In some areas, other rented properties also need a licence.
If your property does require a licence, ask your landlord for a copy. Details about HMO Licences can be found here.
If you live in an HMO your landlord has to meet extra responsibilities which are in addition to their repair responsibilities. These are on:
- Fire and general safety – mainly the provision of properly working smoke and/or heat detectors with alarms and a safe means of escape in case of fire
- Water supply and drainage – these cannot be unreasonably interrupted and must be kept clean and in good repair
- Gas and electricity – appliances and installations must be safe, which includes arranging an annual gas safety check and having electrical installations checked at least every five years
- Communal areas – such as staircases, halls, corridors and entrances, must be kept in good decorative repair, clean and reasonably free from obstructions
- Waste disposal – there must be enough bins for rubbish and adequate means of disposing of rubbish
- Living accommodation – the living accommodation and any furniture supplied must be clean and in good repair.
EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates)
As part of the EU Directive 2002/91/EC tenants renting a property should receive an Energy Performance Certificate which rates the energy efficiency of your home.
Landlords are legally required to provide you with this information. It can be really useful in terms of working out how much your property will cost in real terms. For example a property rated at F or G will cost a lot more in heating and electricity bills than one rather A B or C, which may determine what property you ultimately choose. If the rating is an F or a G you must consider how much more that may cost you in the long run, i.e. through heating of the house. This extra cost may work out more expensive for you even if the rent rate is lower than other properties.