One of the most important aspects of being a student is finding suitable, comfortable but affordable accommodation. Most first year students take up accommodation in one of Liverpool Hopes halls of residence and find what they want and can afford. Any problems or issues with this can be dealt with by the Accommodation office at Liverpool Hope. In the second year some students choose to live in private rented sector in shared accommodation with friends they have made in halls.
To look for private rented accommodation there are a number of letting offices in the popular Smithdown Road and Allerton Road areas of the city and you can search for local rented housing on the internet.
Liverpool Student Homes on Mount Pleasant in Liverpool is a good place to visit as a starting point because they give advice on housing contracts and have a list of houses and landlords which are known to be good. They have a list of landlords who have signed their code of practice and have provided up to date certificates for gas and electricity. They can also assist if you have a dispute with the landlord later. Liverpool Student Homes website.
A Liverpool Student Homes Housing Adviser visits Liverpool Hope University every Monday and can be found on the ground floor of the Gateway Building, Interview Room 2.
Around February/March a lot of pressure is put on students to find a house for the following year but REMEMBER you have to pass exams and coursework to progress to the second year of your course and you won’t know the result of this until June so don't rush into signing housing contracts, there are plenty of houses and plenty of time -study now and sign later. If you are concerned about the contract before signing seek advice first.
Nearly all landlords ask for a deposit to be paid on taking up the tenancy agreement and they must by law hold that deposit in accordance with one of three tenancy deposit schemes. These schemes were designed in April 2007 to protect tenant's rights to ensure that deposits are not unfairly withheld.
Before agreeing to pay a deposit and take up a tenancy you should:
If you don't get an inventory write one yourselves and get an independent witness to sign and send a copy to the landlord. It may also be worthwhile taking photographs of the property. REMEMBER a landlord cannot withhold or keep all or part of a deposit due to general wear and tear.
Most contracts will be Assured Shorthold Tenancies-and you are liable for the rent from the date your tenancy starts until it ends. If you don't pay your landlord can take legal action to enforce the conditions of the tenancy agreement. Most tenancies allow a subsidised half rent period in the summer; you should check if this is the case and also if you can move in during this time, most agreements are down to negotiation with the landlord but make sure you get all clauses in writing in case there is any dispute later.
Disrepair is one of the most common housing problems dealt with by the advice service at Liverpool Hope. Where a student has a tenancy of any kind the law imposes basic repairing obligations on the landlord under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. These apply irrespective of what the tenancy agreement says and even where there is no written agreement. The Landlord is also obliged to keep in repair and working order installations for the supply of:
There is no reason why students should live in unsafe or unsanitary accommodation and you should seek advice if you are not happy with your living conditions. However, if you have an item of disrepair or any other problem with your home it is always worth putting it in writing to the landlord to give them the opportunity to resolve it first and allow a reasonable time period to respond or to do the work. If you cannot resolve this you need to seek advice.
If you are still having problems getting the landlord to do the work, you could contact the Local Authority Environmental Health department and ask them to visit and inspect the premises. They can issue a legal notice to the landlord and enforce this notice in the courts to get the work done. You will also receive a copy of the report which could be useful if you want to take further action against the landlord at a later date.
Most students cannot afford to rent on their own and share with other students and this has implications for all of the tenants from the way the tenancy agreement is worded to the responsibility for Utility Bills, Council Tax etc. A lot of stress, anxiety and heartache can be suffered by students if these issues are not decided at the outset and all the tenants keep to the tenancy agreement and to what has been decided between them with regard to bills.
It is always better to have separate tenancy agreements if you can persuade the landlord to do this, then you are only liable for your own rent. It is usually better for all sharers to put all of their names as account holders for each supply or the sharers can sign up equally to different utility accounts. This way each sharer is liable for an equal share of the bills.
Remember Housing Law is complicated and only some of the issues are covered here. Seek advice if you need more information.