FAQ's

 

Looking for accommodation:

 

Where can I find somewhere to live?

 

There are lots of accommodation agencies in Manchester, but Manchester Student Homes (MSH) is the only agency that is university approved. They advertise student houses and private halls of residence on their website.

 

What should I look for when I’m choosing a property?

 

The Advice Centre Housing booklet has lots of tips about what to be aware of when you’re looking for a property.

 

Should I sign the contract now I’ve found somewhere to live?

 

No - A good landlord or agency won’t put you under pressure to sign a contract without letting you or someone else check over it first. Remember, a contract is a legal document so it's important to be very sure of what you are signing up to. Before you sign anything, bring your contract into the Advice Centre and an Adviser will talk you through it before you agree to something that you can’t get out of

 

Will I need to provide a guarantor?

 

Probably. A guarantor is someone who signs a contract to say that they'll pay your rent if you don’t. Most private landlords will ask you to provide one before they let you rent the property. If you can’t provide a guarantor, MSH advertises some properties that don’t need one (look for properties that meet the ‘International Friendly Standard’) or there are some private companies who will act as guarantor, but this is usually very expensive.

 

What is a joint contract?

 

A joint contract is where you and your housemates sign the same contract for the property you will live in. This means you won’t only be responsible for your portion of the rent – all of you will be jointly responsible for the total rent for the property. So, it’s important that you know and trust the people who you're going to move in with.

 

 

Moving into the property:

 

What is an inventory?

 

An inventory is a list of all the fixtures, fittings and furniture at the property. You should complete one when you move in and note down the condition of everything in the property. Take some photos or video footage too. That way, when you come to move out of the property at the end of your contract there will be a record of the state of the property when you moved in. This should help avoid disagreements with your landlord and deposit deductions when you move out.

 

 

Council Tax

 

Do I need to pay Council Tax?

 

Most full-time students will not need to pay Council Tax. Part-time students often will have to pay Council Tax but you may be able to get some help with the cost – contact the Advice Centre for more information.

 

Where do I get my Council Tax Exemption Certificate?

 

Your Student Hub should be able to provide you with a copy of your Council Tax Exemption certificate if you are a full-time student.

 

 

Problems once you've moved into the property

 

I want to move out, can I leave my contract early?

 

Probably not. Even if you move out early, the landlord will still expect you to pay your rent and may take you to court if you stop paying. Usually a landlord will only agree to release you from the contract early if you find someone else to move in and start paying your portion of the rent. You can advertise your room for free on the MSH website. If you have signed a joint tenancy and live with friends, then they would all need to agree that someone else can move into the property to replace you.

 

I’ve fallen out with my housemates and can’t stay at the property. Can I leave my contract early?

 

Please can you see the FAQ above. Sadly, even if you and your housemates can’t be in the same room at the same time, the landlord doesn’t have to let you end your contract early. The Advice Centre can offer mediation if you and your housemates want to try and make the best of things whilst you’re all living under the same roof. Contact us for more details.

 

There are mice/ants/cockroaches in the property - what should I do?

 

This can be a tricky one – sometimes it is the responsibility of your landlord and sometimes it is your responsibility as occupier. Speak to the Advice Centre if you need more guidance. If the cause of the pests is a dirty house or rubbish that has been left lying around, then it will probably be down to you to sort out. Manchester City Council has a Pest Control team for properties in the Manchester area. However, they will charge to come out try and treat the problem. Current treatment prices range from £41 - £147.

 

There is mould and damp in my bedroom and it’s making me ill. What can I do?

 

Again, this isn’t straight forward. Sometimes the damp is caused by problems with the property such as leaks or disrepair, and this is the landlord’s responsibility. But your behaviour could also cause problems; drying clothes inside, not opening windows to let fresh air in, and not using extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms can all cause condensation. If the damp and mould is your landlord’s responsibility, then they should sort it out and Manchester City Council’s private housing team may be able to help if they won’t. Unfortunately, even if you can prove that the landlord is responsible for the damp you will usually still have to pay your rent. Contact the Advice Centre and speak to an Adviser about the options available to you.

 

Our ceiling has just collapsed/the shower has stopped working/the kitchen cabinet has broken etc...

 

Report the problem to your landlord and follow this up with a letter or email explaining the problem. Make sure you keep a copy as this will be evidence that you have contacted the landlord about the issue if you have to take further action later on. If your landlord won’t deal with the repairs, come in and speak to an Adviser. We can advise on whether the landlord is liable for the repairs and what you can do to try and get the issue resolved.

 

My landlord keeps coming into our house. What can I do to stop them?

 

Your landlord should only access your home for reasonable purposes, such as, to make repairs or to show prospective tenants around the property. They should give you 24 hours written notice before they visit unless urgent or emergency repairs are required. If your landlord keeps turning up unannounced or comes into your house without notice or permission, this may be harassment. If they won’t stop this behaviour, contact the Advice Centre for more information or phone the police if you feel unsafe.

 

My landlord is trying to evict me. Can you help?

 

Yes we can. Legally it isn't easy to evict someone, and your landlord will generally need a court order before they can make you leave. If your landlord changes the locks whilst you are out this would usually be breaking the law. Come and speak to us and bring any paperwork that you have (your contract, letters from your landlord, court papers, rent statements etc.). We can advise you on your rights and how you may be able to prevent eviction.

 

I can’t afford to pay my rent. What should I do?

 

Contact the Advice Centre and you can talk through your situation with an Adviser. We can check that you’re receiving the correct amount of student loan, we can advise you on managing any debts that you have, we can help you to set up a repayment plan with your landlord and we can also check whether you could be entitled to any extra financial support. You may be able to apply to the MMU Day to Day Support fund for some financial help. Be aware that you can be evicted if you don’t pay your rent, so come and see us as soon as you’re having financial difficulties.

 

 

Problems at the end of the tenancy

 

My landlord won’t return our deposit

 

Your deposit should have been protected in a tenancy deposit scheme and your landlord should have provided you with information when you moved in about which scheme was used and how to resolve disputes. If you and your landlord disagree about whether there should be any deductions to your deposit you can raise a free dispute with your deposit scheme. The scheme will look at the evidence and decide how much money should be returned. You can search the government website for the three schemes to find out which one holds your deposit. Get in touch with the Advice Centre if you need any help.