Preparing the paperwork for your new student house – iConn Property Management, Canterbury
For all of you students securing your accommodation for the next academic year, check out this useful article from Rightmove, which details helpful tips regarding council tax, bills and other relevant paperwork:
Student Council Tax Exemption
If you live in University halls or live in a shared house where all the occupants are full-time students, you will be exempt from paying council tax.
The definition of a full time student would be someone enrolled in an educational programme lasting at least one year and which you are expected to attend for at least 24 weeks out of the year and study for at least 21 hours per week during term. Or, you are under 20 and your course leads to a qualification up to A Level standard (or equivalent), lasts more than three months and comprises more than 12 hours of study per week.
There are some other categories of students who may also be eligible. You can always check with the National Union of Students for advice by calling 0871 2218 221.
If you live with someone who does not fulfill these criteria, you may still be eligible for a discounted council tax rate so check with your local council.
The bills you have to pay when renting student accommodation vary enormously depending on the landlord or agent.
Traditionally, as a household, you will be responsible for TV license, gas, water, electricity, phone and internet. However, to entice you as a tenant, sometimes some of these are included in the rent.
Students should always check if something is included, if is it capped (i.e. if you use a certain amount of electricity, are you likely to suddenly get a huge bill?) and also if the rate that is “included” is unrealistically high (i.e. you would never use that much gas and so the landlord will end up in profit).
The best way to check is to ask the previous tenants if you can see their bills so you can make a comparison between the average rent for the street and how much these “included bills” are costing.
How to pay
If you do have to pay bills as a household, there are companies who can look after this for you by taking a certain amount of money each month from each tenant and then splitting it amongst the bills equally. They will usually charge a fee for this but it can solve issues that you may have otherwise such as arguing over water usage or someone always covering someone else’s share. Your letting agent can usually recommend someone.
Otherwise, you will need someone to take charge of paying bills and ensuring that there is enough to cover them monthly.
What else can you expect?
- You should be given an inventory to check for the contents of the property, and their condition. If not, then make sure you do one yourself and take photos of any damage so you are not liable when you move out
- A recent Gas Safety Certificate
- An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) for the property
- A Fire Safety Certificate if you have a furnished property
- Current gas/electricity meter readings. If not, take your own readings as soon as you move in
- You will need to sort out your own contents insurance – make sure it sufficiently covers all your belongings including laptops and musical instruments. (Also, read the small print – you won’t be covered if you leave doors and windows unlocked!)
- You will need to arrange to collect the keys on the day of the tenancy agreement start date (you may be able to leave belongings in the property over the summer months by prior agreement and usually at a reduced rent)
- Moving Day! Picking your room and moving in your belongings is the exciting bit – make sure you bring cleaning products (boring but necessary), extension leads and toilet rolls! Everything else can be sorted out later in the day but without these necessities, you won’t get very far