Deposits

A security deposit of 500 - 600 per tenant  (between 1.2 and 1.5 months rent) will be held for the duration of the tenancy against damage and non payment of rent or any other agreed costs. This will be payable on signing of a contract and returned at the agreed end of the tenancy subject to the property being returned clean and a satisfactory inventory and damage check. 

Since 6th April 2007 the security deposit on any new tenancy must be held under a government backed Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Under these schemes, disputes over any retained deposit will be decided by an independent organisation. The schemes are a compulsory requirement of new legislation and seek to protect tenants from unfairly withheld deposits. We are members of the scheme operated by the Deposit Protection Service and currently send all Deposit money to DPS for safe independant holding,  you can find more detail on their website 

        

Guarantor and References

All students will be required to complete a Tenant Particulars Form and provide a guarantor; who will be asked to sign a Letter of Guarantee, promising to underwrite any liabilities for which you do not pay. This would normally be a parent or relative living in the UK. For each Tenant, the Guarantor will become liable for any of that Tenants unpaid debts. We will normally handle debts in accordance with how we have been told that rent payments are to be split. However as the Tenancy is Joint and Several everybody is ultimately equally liable for the debt of a defaulting tenant. (see Late Payments / Arrears  and also Liabilities of Guarantors )

Information on the Tenant Particulars form will be used to obtain references from past landlords and/or credit reference agencies. When all checks and guarantees are complete the tenancy will be setup. This process may take 1 to 3 weeks

Tenancy

Our property is normally let to groups of students on a joint tenancy agreement for at least a full 10-month year Sept-June inclusive. ( possibilities to start earlier than Sept or to remain after June through some or all of the summer by agreement ). If anyone needs to move out before the end of the tenancy it would be their responsibility to find a replacement or continue to pay rent. Also all tenants are jointly responsible for each others rent or other liabilities if not paid. This is the standard form of tenancy for shared houses. View Agreement

From June onwards, in any year, a property that is not already let or that is newly available may be let at our discretion on a room by room basis for 1 or both semesters to satisfy the demand from Erasmus students or late entry students for the following academic year. This option will be detailed in the property listing when it is available.

Retainer

If you want to secure a house for next year as a new tenancy, then you will need to rent the house from when it becomes available in the summer usually from July 1st. (but sometimes existing tenants stay on during the summer so it may be later). The months of July and August are often called the Retainer Period and during this time we offer a discount of 50% off the rent on the basis that you will not be living in the house. We often use this time to give the houses a thorough cleaning and attend to any maintenance issues. If you wish to live in the house during July and/or August then please discuss well in advance so that we can plan around your needs and keep the house available for you to rent at the normal rate.

As most of our houses are contracted into tenancies for the following academic year during January - March, this means in practice that most tenancy agreements are for a full 12 month period 1 July to 30 June with July and August being at half rent. If you delay renting a property until September, you will avoid paying anything during the summer but your choice of property will be very limited.

If you want to continue a tenancy from one year to the next, A retainer discount of up to 50% rent can be obtained during a period of up to two months during the summer when the property will be wholly or partially unoccupied and available for maintenance work. You may be required to return your keys during such a retainer period and we will do an inventory and condition check. Any damage that is recoverable against the "deposit" will be assessed, charged for and corrected during the retainer period. 

During the discounted retainer period, you can store property in the house and stay occasionally by arrangement as long as any necessary maintenance work can still be carried out.

Cleaning

You are responsible for keeping your house clean and returning it so when you leave. We know students don't like cleaning and even when the house seems clean we will need to have the carpets cleaned with a shampoo machine and move fridges, cookers, beds and wardrobes to clean behind them and wash curtains and other fabrics. For this we make a standard charge of 50 a person. If the house is not returned with carpets vacuumed , baths sinks showers and toilets all cleaned , all food removed and cupboards and cold storage wiped out clean, cooker clean and all personal items removed then this charge is increased to 100 a tenant plus a charge of 10 per bin bag of refuse that has to be cleared from the house.

Payment of Rent

Rent is payable monthly in advance on the first of each month. First payment due at the start of the tenancy will be adjusted, if necessary, up or down by 1/30th of a months rent per day to bring it to the nearest start of a month. 

The agreed monthly rental is for the whole house and we leave it to you decide how to apportion it between each tenant. You should advise us how much each person will pay of the rent, or we will assume an equal split. Payment options are ( in order of preference ) :-

Direct debit set up through our banking agent GoCardless

Monthly Standing Order on 1st of every month

Monthly bank transfer using Internet banking, 

Termly or by Semester by a single Cheque at beginning of each term/semester, 

In case of exceptional banking complications Monthly Cash payment is also acceptable.

Late Payment / Arrears

It is important that rent is paid on time and that you make sure that your housemates paid also. Rent is always due on the first day of the month. 

Standing Orders and Internet banking should happen 2-3 days before to allow for transaction time. Cheques posted should arrive by the first. A series of cheques can be provided and they will be presented on the dates written on the cheques. If we have agreed cash payment we will arrange a time to collect the rent within the first few days of the month.

We will remind you by phone, text and/or email if your rent is not received by the 5th of the month. If your rent has not arrived by the 12th we will write to you and to your guarantor about the late payment, (we have agreed to inform your guarantor of any breaches of your agreement whereby we might ask them to underwrite your liabilities). If we have to write to your Guarantor we will also make a 10 charge. 

If your payment still does not arrive by 19th we have agreed (as part of the Guarantee) to write to your housemates and ALL the Guarantors to alert them to a breach in the contract, before taking further steps to recover the debt. For this there will be a charge of 20 and on each subsequent occasion that we have to write to all tenants and guarantors.

It may seem harsh to operate like this, but you are joint tenants and jointly liable for the whole rent. Although you may have decided a rent split and told us, you should be aware of each others payments. We keep a record of agreed shares every payment made and can provide copies as required. If anyone does not pay their rent share, you are ALL technically liable for the shortfall and for this reason we have to inform everyone of a potential problem and make a charge for the cost of doing so.

We realise that student finances are not always straight-forward and we can sometimes agree to some flexibility but it is important that you agree this first with us. If there are reasons why you cannot make you rent payment on time you MUST tell us and we will consider your situation

 You should also make sure that there is sufficient money in your account to cover cheques. If you bank will not honour a cheque, they will charge you and our bank will also charge us (about 10) which we will then have to charge to your account.

Insurance

The houses are all insured for the buildings themselves and the furnishings and equipment supplied by us. You are strongly advised to obtain insurance for your own personal property against fire, theft and other losses. In some cases your parents contents insurance may cover you whilst you are away from home as a student, please check carefully. Most bedrooms are fitted with secure locks and you will be asked to agree to us holding duplicates of all house and room keys. You should also inform us of any period when the house will be left unoccupied for more than 2 weeks, as our insurance policy requires us to check empty houses on a regular basis.

Gas, Electric, Water, Broadband, Wireless Router, Phone, TV License

Inclusive Utilities - The rents quoted now include Gas, Electricity, Water, Phone Line, Broadband, TV license. The phone line will have all chargeable outgoing calls barred but free and emergency calls are available and calls may be received. Gas and Electricity is budgeted on fixed cost contracts based on 1.5 times UK average consumption for the size of house. There may be extra charges if this allowance is exceeded.  Consumption will be monitored termly and you will be advised accordingly. These supplies will be contracted and the price fixed when you sign the rental agreement. 

Digital TV box (Virgin Media or Sky),  TV set 

Some of these  may be included in some of our properties. See individual House details. In cases where there are inclusive services you will always be responsible for Pay TV events "Films or Sport etc", Phone calls outside any inclusive package, charges for Higher Upgraded Broadband speeds or Exceeding any Download limits.

The houses in the SW quarter of Bath are served by Virgin Media and where we use their services, the Virgin digibox is maintained by them. Contact us if there is an fault.

Elsewhere there are Sky dishes and boxes that are from previous contracts, they are not maintained by us but you are welcome to use them. We have some spare and will try but not guarantee to replace any faulty ones.

Similarly many houses contain TV sets that were left by previous tenants, again they will not be maintained if they fail.

Council Tax

Students are exempt from payment of Council Tax and the Council may write and ask for copies of your student registration details. Be aware that if there are any non students on the tenancy, the council will charge 75% of the full tax on the house when there is one non student and the full tax if there are 2 or more. Also the council will hold all tenants jointly liable for payment ( not just the non-students )