Signing up for your first house might seem like a scary thing to do but I will help you make sense of it all…
Hopefully most of your queries will be covered in this list of frequently asked questions but please do not hesitate to contact me if there is something I have missed or if you would simply like more information.
- When do your houses get booked up?
- When can we view your houses in Loughborough?
- What type of tenancy agreement will we be signing?
- How is rent calculated and paid?
- What do I have to pay prior to the start of the tenancy?
- How do I know I'll get my security deposit back?
- What is a deed of guarantee for payment?
- What is a budgeted allowance scheme?
- Can I access the Internet in my room?
- Is there a TV point in my room?
- Landlords never maintain their houses, do they?
- What about parking?
- Recycling and waste
- DASH Landlord Accreditation Scheme
- National Landlords Association (NLA)
- House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- Agency Houses
When do your houses get booked-up?
It seems to get earlier each year so my advice is this; the early bird catches the worm. Many students form groups during the Autumn term and start house hunting straight-away in preparation for the following academic year. And because my houses are so popular, last year I had enquiries during October / November and everything had been booked-up before the Christmas holiday.
So the sooner you secure your accommodation with me for next year, the better. Later in the year, choice of good quality accommodation can become severely restricted.
When can we view your houses in Loughborough?
I'll make an appointment for a no-obligation viewing at any time to suit you and I will show you round personally. Often the current tenants are happy to show you round, so just knock on the door and ask; this will also give you the opportunity to get some inside information about me, as a landlord, and my houses.
What type of tenancy agreement will we be signing?
I only let my student houses in Loughborough to groups of students who want to fill a whole house and the tenancy agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy as defined in Section 20 of the Housing Act 1988, see sample contract (293KB PDF file).
The tenancy runs from 01 July for 12 months and I will ask each of you to sign two copies of the same tenancy agreement as joint tenants.
I will also require your Parent or Guardian to provide a guarantee for payment.
How is rent calculated and paid?
Rent for the house for the whole year is specified in the tenancy agreement and is calculated by multiplying the number of rooms by the average rent per room per week by 52 weeks.
Each tenant is equally responsible for paying rent for the whole house and rent becomes due for payment quarterly in advance: 1st July, 1st October, 1st January and 1st April.
If required, the actual payment dates for 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters can be arranged to coincide with student loan dates.
I am also happy to discuss other payment dates and other payment frequencies e.g. monthly, 1st quarter offset etc.
What do I have to pay prior to the start of the tenancy?
There is no signing fee for my Loughborough student houses and there is nothing to pay until July.
To confirm your reservation for a house I do ask you to sign a tenancy agreement and at the start of the tenancy there is a returnable security deposit of £250 per tenant to pay.
How do I know I'll get my security deposit back?
I am a professional landlord with a properly designated client account. At the commencement of the tenancy you will be issued with a detailed statement of condition and inventory and asked to check and sign it.
Once the tenancy has finished I will check the property (with you) and subject to there being no damage and no cleaning required, your security deposit will be returned within 28 days of the end of the tenancy.
The Housing Act 2004 requires all landlords who take a security deposit for tenancies starting after 06 April 2007 to join a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
As a member of the National Landlords Association I have registered as a member of a government-authorised insurance-based scheme operated by Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (a company jointly owned by the National Landlords Association and Hamilton Fraser Insurance Services Ltd) - see website www.mydeposits.co.uk for more information.
All my houses are let under joint tenancy agreements and so each house has Nominated Tenant who will be the point of communication for the Scheme Administrator.
What is a deed of guarantee for payment?
Once you have all signed the tenancy agreement I shall write to your Parent or Guardian to ask them to guarantee the payment of your individual share of the rent.
The guarantee is for a joint assured shorthold tenancy where the guarantor’s liability for rent is limited to the individual Tenant’s share but is otherwise unlimited.
What is a budgeted allowance scheme?
It's an all inclusive package which can be included in your rent to cover the cost of Water Rates and TV Licence along with all the bills for electricity, gas, broadband, TV and phone services you use during your tenancy.
A summary of what the scheme covers is as follows:
Water Rates: the cost of water supply and sewerage services is included in your rent.
TV Licence: the cost of a TV Licence is included in your rent.
Electricity and Gas Supplies: the Rent includes an allowance of £6.00 per Tenant per week (£312.00 per Tenant based on a 52-week Tenancy or pro-rata thereof) to budget for the cost of the electricity and gas used by the Tenant during the Term of the Tenancy. The electricity and gas accounts are in the name of the Landlord and the Landlord pays the bills on behalf of the Tenant. The Landlord regularly researches the whole market for the most competitive tariff and switches to the best supplier. The Landlord can receive a discount for managing the accounts online (paperless billing); further discounts can be earned by the Landlord for selecting a dual-fuel account and choosing a monthly direct debit payment plan. The allowance for electricity and gas has been set based on an estimated forecast of the unit cost of electricity and gas multiplied by a rolling annual average of actual historical kWh usage data in a typical multi-occupancy student house over recent years.
Adding up the bills from all our houses over the last couple of years, the average cost for electricity and gas has been as follows:
- £259.48 per housemate for Academic Year 2014-2015 (£4.99 per housemate per week).
- £257.92 per housemate for Academic Year 2015-2016 (£4.96 per housemate per week).
- £256.05 per housemate for Academic Year 2016-2017 (£4.92 per housemate per week).
£312 per housemate is the estimated budget for Academic Year 2017-2018 (£6.00 per housemate per week).
£312 per housemate is the estimated budget for Academic Year 2018-2019 (£6.00 per housemate per week).
It should be noted that the actual amount of bills will depend on the prevailing unit cost of electricity and gas and the actual kWh used by the Tenant during the Term of the Tenancy i.e. how long the central heating is programmed to come on etc.. Any unused portion of the allowance for electricity and gas will be refunded. Meter readings will be taken at the start of the Tenancy, quarterly and then final readings will be taken at the end of the Tenancy. To keep track of the budget, the Landlord will provide the Tenant with a copy of the quarterly bills showing the cost of electricity and gas used at the Property. At the end of the Tenancy, it is agreed that if the total cost of the gas and electricity used during the Term of the Tenancy is less than £6.00 per Tenant per week then the amount under is reimbursed to the Tenant (by the Landlord). It is also agreed that if the total cost of the gas and electricity used during the Term of the Tenancy is more than £6.00 per Tenant per week then the extra over amount is to be paid to the Landlord (by the Tenant).
This budgeted allowance scheme is very effective because the Tenant is in full control of electricity and gas usage. It also means that the Tenant only pays for the kWh actually used and encourages responsibility towards the environment by reducing CO2 emissions.
Broadband Internet, Subscription TV and Phone Services (‘the Media Services’): the collective Rent for all of the Tenants at the Property includes an allowance of £8.00 per week for the Property (£416.00 for the Property based on a 52-week Tenancy or pro-rata thereof) to budget for the cost of the Media Services used by the Tenant during the Term of the Tenancy. However, the Tenant must choose what Media Services are required, contact the service provider directly and open an account in the name of one of the Tenants. The Landlord will make a one-off payment or set up a standing order to credit the full amount of the Media Services allowance to the bank account of the Tenant who pays for the Media Services.
Virgin Media offers the fastest broadband download speeds in Loughborough with current deals as at October 2016 as follows:
- 50Mbs SuperFibre 50 Broadband : Super Hub wireless router : 9 month contract : £34.00 per month plus one off activation fee £14.99
- 100Mbs VIVID 100 Fibre Broadband : Super Hub wireless router : 9 month contract : £39.00 per month plus one off activation fee £14.99
- 200Mbs VIVID 200 Fibre Broadband : Super Hub wireless router : 9 month contract : £47.00 per month plus one off activation fee £14.99
Go to the Virgin Media website to look at student contracts.
Or if you prefer to talk to an actual person, the Landlord has a good local contact at Virgin Media; Jason Brookes is based in Loughborough and can advise what contracts are available. Contact Jason Brookes on his mobile 07966 485198 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. FREE activation fee if you book through Jason Brookes.
Council Tax: Full time students living in shared private rented accommodation (occupied solely by students) are exempt from paying council tax.
Insurance for buildings and contents (owned by me): is my responsibility and there is no charge passed on to you.
Insurance for your own personal possessions: whether you are paying rent only or all inclusive you are responsible for insuring your own personal possessions.
Endsleigh Insurance is a specialist provider of student contents insurance. Take a look at www.endsleigh.co.uk
Can I access the Internet in my room?
Yes, every room in every house has an Ethernet network point hard wired to a local area network ready for connection to a high-speed broadband modem / wireless router / network switch. All you need do is decide which service provider you want to go with and what broadband contract you want.
Whether the connection is wired or wireless, a high-speed broadband modem / wireless router / network switch allows computers in every room to be online simultaneously with no loss of speed.
Is there a TV point in my room?
Yes, all my houses have a digital TV aerial on the roof and a state of the art TV distribution system. So, every room has a TV point supplying a high quality digital TV signal for crystal clear reception.
Landlords never maintain their houses, do they?
I care passionately about the standard of accommodation and level of service I provide. And of course - as the owner of the house - nobody could be more interested in making sure you are happy tenants and that your house is in tip-top condition. All I ask is that you to let me know straight away if there is something that is not as it should be. I deal with all maintenance problems promptly and always arrange a suitable time and date with you in advance to carry out the work.
Just have a look round any of my houses in Loughborough, ask the current tenants and make up your own mind.
What about parking?
Leicestershire County Council is responsible for the administration of Residents' Parking Schemes in Charnwood Borough. The schemes are designed to help residents park close to their homes, while deterring vehicles from outside the area from parking and causing congestion. These schemes do not reserve places exclusively for each permit holder, but permit holders can park in any of the streets within their designated scheme area (zone) in the resident parking bays provided.
Residents are guaranteed one permit per property at a cost of £50 - valid for 12 months - additional permits can be applied for and are issued subject to availability.
For further details of where the Residents' Parking schemes are, how they operate and how to apply for a permit please go to the Parking Permits page on the Leicestershire County Council website.
Or contact Residents' Parking office at Leicestershire County Council as follows:
Phone: 0116 305 5442
Post: Residents' Parking, PO Box 9854, Leicester LE3 7BX
Recycling and waste
Charnwood has an alternate weekly collection of recycling and waste. You can find out when your recycling and waste collection days are by going to my.charnwood.gov.uk and entering your address or postcode.
You can find out more about recycling by going to www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/recycling
DASH Landlord Accreditation Scheme
I am an Accredited Landlord through the East Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme. DASH accredits the landlord rather than the property, but DASH staff carry out random property inspections to ensure that properties registered with the scheme meet the legal minimum requirements. At least 10% of properties are inspected when a landlord initially joins the scheme, though this figure can be far higher in some cases. Properties are then randomly sampled on an on-going basis to ensure that compliance is being maintained. DASH will also randomly sample tenants, usually through postal questionnaires, to establish whether or not their landlord continues to comply with the scheme's Code of Management.
If you select a DASH landlord, you take the risk out of choosing your property. Landlords that have come forward to join the scheme have done so on an entirely voluntary basis. They have joined the scheme because they believe they are the best in the business and can be relied upon to make your experience as a tenant as enjoyable as possible. See DASH website www.dashservices.org.uk for more information.
National Landlords Association (NLA)
I am a member of the NLA which is the leading independent national organisation for private residential landlords. The private rented sector is now governed by over 50 Acts of Parliament. With this increasingly heavy regulatory burden, it is now more important than ever that landlords understand their legal responsibilities. As a member of the NLA, I receive the latest analysis and guidance on all landlord-related issues. See NLA website www.landlords.org.uk for more information.
House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
The Housing Act 2004 defines an HMO as being any bed-sit, house or flat which is occupied by three or more unrelated people. Shared student houses fall into this category and standards for amenities, room sizes and management apply.
Larger HMOs - defined as being those houses that are shared by five or more occupants and that also have three or more habitable floors - must be licensed by the local authority.
All my houses are HMO licensed (as required) and fully compliant with the Housing Act 2004.
Andrew CHELL Premier Student Homes is Loughborough’s leading provider of high-quality private-sector student accommodation. To support this ethos, we are delighted to endorse the listings on the ‘AGENCY Houses’ page. Whilst the agency houses are not owned by Andrew CHELL please be re-assured there are three things that will never be compromised; quality of location, quality of accommodation and quality of service.
The agency houses are owned by a handful of highly regarded professional student landlords and represent a selection of the very best private-sector student houses on offer in Loughborough.
For agency houses that are managed by the owner / landlord, Andrew CHELL Premier Student Homes acts only for the landlord as a tenant finder and contract facilitator; the tenancy agreement will be drafted in the landlord’s name and during the tenancy you will deal directly with the landlord about any management / maintenance issues relating to the property. However, if you have any queries before / during / after the tenancy, Andrew CHELL Premier Student Homes will be more than happy to answer them at any time.