Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Do I really have to choose a property for next academic year in December, January or February? Can't I wait until the summer?

A Most students look for next year's accommodation at the start of the spring term although the majority of landlords and letting agencies release their letting lists in the autumn. If you want a better choice of property this is when you should be looking. If you wait until the summer you will be left with a minimal and poor choice of accommodation. ↑ back to top

Q2. What happens if somebody drops out after we have decided on a property?

A If for some reason one of your group is not able to continue with a tenancy, this does not mean that we cannot proceed. You would have to find a replacement. If the tenancy agreement has already been signed everybody is still contractually bound by the terms of the agreement until another agreement has been signed. Once a replacement has been found, and referenced, they can be added to the agreement and the other person removed. However, if the group has not signed an agreement when this occurs then the remaining members of the group can sign and add the final person at a later date but you must realise that if you sign an agreement and a final person cannot be found by the time the tenancy starts you are bound by the terms. I.e. if four of you sign for a five bedroom property, you will need to pay the total rent for the property between you. Any new replacement tenants would have to be found by the group (not the landlord). There is a fee for insuring the deposit which we do not pass on to the tenants. However, if we have to insure a new deposit due to a replacement tenant, the deposit insurance fee must be met by the tenants. ↑ back to top

Q3. What type of Tenancy Agreement will we sign?

A You will sign an standard Assured Shorthold Agreement provided by the Guild of Students at the University of Birmingham. All agreements are joint and several. This means that you and your guarantors are all responsible for the terms of the agreement, including all of the rent. If one fails to pay the burden falls to the others. ↑ back to top

Q4. Does the Tenancy have to be for a year?

A Most Tenancy Agreements run from 1st July until 30th June, unless otherwise stated. You are of course welcome to stay on beyond the initial twelve months and many of our tenants choose to do so. ↑ back to top

Q5. What about insurance?

A We insure the property and our contents but we advise all tenants to have their own insurance policy for their own possessions. We also advise that you obtain Accidental Damage cover in case of damage to our possessions caused by tenants (e.g. carpets). ↑ back to top

Q6. What about repairs? For example, what if the central heating breaks down?

A We are responsible for internal and external repairs. Please contact us as soon as you discover a problem, during normal office hours unless it is an emergency. The tenant only pays if the breakdown or repair is due to negligence or misuse. ↑ back to top

Q7. What about emergencies?

A Where a fault develops that cannot wait until normal office hours, please ring us. If we do not answer, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not e-mail or text with emergencies, as these may not be read immediately. ↑ back to top

Q8. How and when do we pay our rent?

A Your rent must be paid by the first day of every month directly into our bank account. Payment should be made by standing order or direct debit. Due to the time taken for payments, please ensure your rent leaves your account a few days before the end of the month, in order to arrive in our account in plenty of time. Late payments will be charged at £25 per time (please see your Tenancy Agreement). ↑ back to top

Q9. What is the Guarantor agreeing to by signing the guarantor forms? Can they agree to guarantee their child/ward only?

A A guarantor is undertaking to guarantee the commitment made by their child/ward (The Student). The student is agreeing to a joint and several agreement and therefore, the guarantor is agreeing to guarantee a joint and several agreement. By guaranteeing the student you will be guaranteeing the whole tenancy, this is why we ensure all parties have a guarantor. ↑ back to top

Q10. What happens if one or more of the students do not find a suitable guarantor?

A Each student must have a suitable guarantor or the tenancy will not proceed. ↑ back to top

Q11. Why does my guarantor need to agree to a credit check?

A The guarantor forms allow us to obtain a credit worthiness check. This can be taken on all UK guarantors. If for whatever reason, we are unhappy with any of the information provided by the guarantors, we may choose to decline the tenancy. Guarantors based outside of the UK will be required to obtain a financial reference directly from their bank and forward it to us. ↑ back to top

Q12. Are students liable for Council Tax?

A If the tenant is a full-time student, they are exempt from paying this for the period of their studies, but it is their responsibility to prove their status to the City Council. A certificate as proof of full-time student status can be obtained from the University. However, if one or more people sharing the property are not students, those who are students are not fully exempt from Council Tax. Please check with the relevant department of the City Council. ↑ back to top

Q13. Do I / we need insurance to cover Accidental Damage?

A Yes, it is a good idea. We have our own Buildings Insurance and we recommend that students obtain their own insurance to cover accidental damage of our possessions (i.e. carpet etc.) and their own belongings. In the case of fire and flood, our insurance will usually cover the damage. However, the insurance company may investigate further if they so wish (i.e. if they suspect arson as the cause of a fire). ↑ back to top

Q14. Why is the tenant not permitted to use Sellotape or Blu-Tak?

A Sellotape and Blu-Tak leave glue and oil marks on walls. If the tenant chooses to use them, they will probably have to pay for the entire room (or at least the wall concerned) to be repainted. If the tenant wishes to hang a framed picture on the wall, they must first check with us. We provide non-marking adhesive tabs at the start of the tenancy. Should you require more, please ask. ↑ back to top

Q15. Am I allowed to keep a pet in the house?

A No. Not unless you have been given specific written permission by us. If you keep a pet without permission, you will be liable for all damage caused and professional charges in order to deep clean and fumigate the property at the end of the tenancy. ↑ back to top

Q16. Am I allowed to smoke in the house?

A No. Under no circumstances may you smoke anywhere in the property. This is the law because the properties are classed as Houses of Multiple Occupation. If you do smoke anywhere in the property, you will set off fire and smoke alarms. These often then need to be reset by an electrician and you will be charged for this cost. Where smoking has occured, you will be liable for any damage caused and also for deep cleaning at the end of the tenancy to get rid of the smell. ↑ back to top

Q17. Do I have to maintain the garden?

A Yes. Under the terms of the Tenancy Agreement, you are responsible for keeping the garden/ outside spaces clean and tidy. This means that you will need to weed and mow the grass and keep it free from rubbish which can attract vermin. You are not expected to maintain the hedges or trees. ↑ back to top

Q18. When will we sign our Tenancy Agreement?

A The Tenancy Agreement should be signed within seven days of paying the retainer. You are encouraged to seek advice during this period. ↑ back to top

Q19. When do I have to pay the first month's rent and deposit?

A A £50 per person holding deposit is payable upon reserving the property, with a further £400 per person payable within seven days. The first month's rent is due by the first day of the tenancy (at the latest). ↑ back to top

Q20. What do I need to do to reserve a property?

A You will be given application forms and a contract to take away, after paying a £50 per person retainer. These forms must be fully completed and returned within seven days, along with a further £400 per person deposit in order to secure the property. The full £450 deposit per person is then insured and returnable at the end of the tenancy, subject to conditions. For more detailed information, please see our Tenants Page. ↑ back to top