Moving Into Student Accommodation
Moving into your student accommodation can be a busy and exciting time. There are a number of steps you can take at this early stage in your tenancy to protect yourself and minimise the opportunities for hidden or unexpected charges, or disruption.
- Take pictures to record the condition of the property when you moved in. Cross reference these with any inventory you’re supplied with and report any discrepancies or areas for attention to the landlord/agent immediately.
- If you don’t have a bills included tenancy agreement, take meter readings and ensure you register with appropriate utility providers. Ensure all housemates are registered with utility companies if you’re not on a bills-inclusive contract. If only one student registers, they will become responsible for the bills for the whole property: this is an unnecessary risk.
- Undertake a safety check: do doors and windows lock securely? Do your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work? Have you received the relevant gas safety certificate? If the answer to any of these questions is no, contact your landlord asap.
- Review your contract/tenancy agreement for any obligations you may have during the tenancy. These may specify prohibited behaviours, such as smoking or anti-social behaviour, or designate you with responsibilities, such as ensuring appropriate ventilation or seeking landlord’s consent to leave the property vacant for an extended period. You have agreed to comply with these terms by signing the contract and failure to do so can result in problems escalating during the tenancy period, possibly resulting in financial implications.
- Identify any damage or disrepair to the property and ensure that this is reported to the landlord in accordance with the contract. It is better to do this up front, instead of waiting for deductions from your deposit.
- Keep a copy of your tenancy agreement for your records, along with details of your deposit and relevant deposit protection scheme. Have your landlord’s contact details and clarify how they want you to contact them.
- Find out when your recycling and waste collection days are. Worcester runs a rota system – one week will be recycling and the following non-recycling.
- Identify ground rules for sharing the accommodation with your housemates - share responsibilities equally and discuss your expectations about communal living. Communication and compromise are key! The University guidance relating to this is very helpful and can be accessed here.
Moving Out of Accommodation
When you move out of your accommodation – whether this is University-managed or a private rental – there are several steps you can take to ensure you do not face unexpected costs and minimise the disruption of moving.
- Clean the property, empty bins and return the property to the state in which you found it when you moved in (take pictures for your own records)
- If you are in a shared property, take time to plan how these end of tenancy duties will be divided between tenants. All areas of the property should be cleaned, including communal areas. It is not appropriate to only clean your bedroom, for example.
- Take meter readings and ensure you have paid any outstanding bills and balances. You may find yourself eligible for fines and charges to reclaim late payments if you fail to do so. If you are unsure, make an appointment with one of our Advisors.
- Update your change of details with utility providers, including leaving a forwarding address. Make sure you have up to date contact and forwarding details for your housemates.
- Take pictures of the property to demonstrate the condition of the property when you moved out and review the inventory.
- Identify any damage to the property and ensure that this is reported to the landlord in accordance with the contract. It is better to do this up front, instead of waiting for deductions from your deposit.
- Review your contract/tenancy agreement for any obligations you may have for the end of tenancy; this may include cleaning the property or specify arrangements for the return of keys
- Lock your room and make sure you return key, don't leave it to other tenants.
- Remember to return your keys and check you understand the process and timescale for the return of your deposit. You should expect your deposit returned after the end of the tenancy not when you move out if you leave early.
- Your landlord is entitled to recover any costs they incur by having to return the property to an appropriate condition. This could be taken from your deposit, but you may be taken to court to recover outstanding costs. If you want to check before you leave, invite your landlord to undertake an inspection.
That’s great – but I need more assistance!
You can book an appointment with Tom or Kate, SU Advisors, to discuss any housing issues.
More support is available for University of Worcester students, you can book a confidential advice appointment with one of the SU Advisors: www.worcsu.com/helpandadvice/adviceform.