Living in the property
You are expected to occupy the property in a tenant like manner. This means you have to do things that a reasonable person would be expected to do, such as:
- changing the bulbs when required
- taking precautions if you leave the property unoccupied for long periods
- replacing batteries in alarms
- keeping the place clean
- keeping the noise down
- keeping the house well ventilated and not keeping wet clothes on radiators
Paying your rent
Your housing contract will normally state the method of payment the landlord/letting agent would like you to use to pay your rent. However, there is room for negotiation, and you should ask for the method that suits you best before you sign your contract. The most common methods are by direct debit, standing order or bank transfer.
A direct debit allows the other party to take as much money as they want from your bank account. While this might be an acceptable method of payment for utility companies for example, it is not a good idea to give a landlord/letting agent a direct debit.
A standing order is set up by you with your bank and you remain in control. Your landlord/letting agent cannot amend the standing order and only the amount you have authorised will be paid to the other party.
If you don’t have enough money in your account when a direct debit or standing order becomes due, it may bounce, and you will incur bank charges.
It is possible to ask your bank to set up a one-off bank transfer from your bank account to the landlord/letting agents account. Depending on your bank, there may be an administration charge for this service. If you are outside the UK but need to pay your rent, this is likely to be the best method to choose.
Managing your bills
Your rent may or may not include utilities (which will generally be TV licence, water, gas, electricity and TV/broadband package).
The payment of these will be dependent on the type of agreement you have with your landlord/agents. Paying your rent inclusive of bills is convenient but may not represent value for money. If you are well-organised and keen to save money, consider managing your own bills.
Rent inclusive of bills
If your rent is inclusive of bills, your landlord will generally be liable for them and you do not need to put your name on any bills. Check your agreement to see if there is a cap. If there is one, you will likely be liable for any excess usage.
Rent exclusive of bills
If your rent is exclusive of bills, you are responsible for these payments.
There are companies who offer to manage your bills for you. Such companies will charge for their service and the monthly amount you pay may not cover what you owe; you could be left with a bill at the end of the tenancy.
We don’t recommend setting up a joint bank account as your credit history will be linked to that of your housemates. Joint accounts can also be difficult to manage and close. Consider setting up one bill in each housemate’s name, and monthly or quarterly, calculate how much each housemate owes or is owed. There are many bill-splitting apps available to help with this.
Bear in mind that your utility supplier will usually only include the names of one or two tenants on the bill. If your name is on the bill, you are legally responsible for paying it. Advise your energy supplier in writing that you have asked for the supply on behalf of all the tenants. Don’t ask for the energy supply to be put in your name if you are worried that your housemates might not repay you.
Establishing who is liable for bills can be complex so if you have a dispute with your energy supplier or your housemate, seek advice from the Student Advice and Support Service.
Gas, electricity and water
It’s important to read your meters regularly and definitely on the first and last days of your tenancy.
Find out who the current supplier is from your landlord/letting agent or by putting your postcode into https://www.energynetworks.org/operating-the-networks/whos-my-network-operator
If you want to change your supplier to get a better deal, check your contract to see whether you need to get your landlord’s permission. Check if there are any cancellation costs. Moving to a cheaper tariff without changing supplier could also save money.
You can shop around for a new supplier in advance but you can’t sign up until you move in. This means that you will have at least one bill to pay from your old supplier. Here is a guide to changing energy supplier: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-switch-gas-and-electricity-supplier
When you receive a bill, check the reading is accurate and not estimated. Ensure the bill is paid on time.
Unless your home is fitted with a water meter, this is a fixed cost. There is no discount for paying by direct debit but it may be the most convenient way to pay.
Use comparison websites to find the cheapest deal. If you only plan to live in the house for nine or ten months, consider purchasing broadband after the summer, but remember that some providers will not allow you to sign up for less than twelve months. Make sure you go for a deal that allows adequate data usage for the whole household and check whether there is a reasonable use policy before you sign up.
Most students do not have to pay council tax because they live in exempted accommodation, such as halls of residence and houses or flats occupied exclusively by ‘students’. Also exempt from council tax are houses or flats that are occupied only by a student and their non-British spouse and/or dependants who are subject to visa conditions preventing employment or recourse to public funds. Where a student shares accommodation with a non-student and council tax is payable it is likely the non-student will be liable for the bill.
For council tax purposes, a ‘student’ is a person enrolled on a full-time course of education, ie one which lasts for at least one academic year, normally requires at least 24 weeks attendance in each year and normally requires an average of 21 or more house of study, tuition, or work experience per week during term-time. If you are enrolled on a full-time programme at Loughborough University you are likely a ‘student’ for council tax purposes.
Student status begins on the first day of the course and comes to an end on the day the student completes it, abandons it or is dismissed from it. If you are progressing from a Bachelor’s programme to a Master’s programme you are not a ‘student’ whilst you are between courses. If you are enrolled on a Presessional academic language programme at the University you are not a ‘student’ for council tax purposes until you commence your main degree programme.
The University sends a list of eligible students to Charnwood Borough Council. For students enrolled on Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes the list is sent within the first 6 weeks of the academic year. For research students the list is sent at the beginning of each month.
However, your details may have not been passed over. Therefore, if you need to prove your student status for council tax purposes to Charnwood Borough Council or another local authority you can download a letter from the Student Self-Service or email the Doctoral College Office if you are a research student to ask for a Council Tax Certificate.
If you are a Loughborough London Student Council tax exemption certificates can be collected and requested in person from the Student Services Desk. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Students on placement or leave of absence will normally not be liable for council tax. You will need to get a certificate from Student Enquiries and hand this to the local authority in which you are living.
What if I receive a bill?
If you receive a council tax bill don’t ignore it, as the council will pursue you for payment. We can advise whether you have to pay and can help you contact the relevant council and make representations on your behalf. If you receive a bill and don’t pay you can expect to receive a reminder, lose the right to pay in instalments and face court action with costs added to the bill. There is also a risk of enforcement action, such as a visit to your home by bailiffs. If you receive a bill please book an appointment at the Student Advice and Support Service as soon as possible.
Bins and recycling
- Don’t overfill your bins.
- Don’t put non-recycling items in the recycling bin.
- Put your bins out on the right day.
- Once they are emptied, wheel them back in or you could face a fine.
Find out the right day on the Charnwood Borough Council website: https://my.charnwood.gov.uk/
For information on London, please check your local council website.
You need a TV Licence if you:
- watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, such as All4, Sky Go and YouTube, or
- download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand.
This could be on any device, including a TV, computer, laptop, phone, tablet, games console, or digital box.
If you live in halls, you will need a TV licence unless you are covered by your parents’ licence. You will be covered by your parents’ licence if you only use a device which is powered by its own batteries and not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains.
If you live in shared accommodation, and have an individual tenancy, you will need your own TV licence.
If you live in shared accommodation, and have a joint tenancy, the household will only need one TV licence.
If you are uncertain as to whether you need one check out https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/
It is better to buy a TV Licence than have to pay a fine of up to £1000. Visit the TV licensing website: https://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/for-your-home/students-aud1
If you are moving out of University halls or from your parents’ home, your belongings may no longer be insured.
Consider getting insurance.
- Shop around and ensure you have a package that covers all your belongings and damage to the house – you may need this if you cause a fire or flood!
- Check your parents’ home insurance as it may be cheaper to cover yourself on their policy.
If you receive other peoples mail, you can send the letter back to the sender or to the person if you know the forwarding address.
To do this, you should:
- Cross out the address on the front of the envelope.
- Write on the front of the envelope: “NOT KNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS, RETURN TO SENDER” or “NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS, PLEASE FORWARD” (write their new address).
- Place the letter back in the post box, which is free of charge.
Loughborough and London have a varied population of students, families, business professionals and older people.
It is important to develop a positive relationship with your new neighbours. Here are a few tips on how to do this:
- Introduce yourselves to your neighbours when you move in. This will make it easier to communicate should any problems arise.
- If you want to have a party, discuss your plans with the neighbours beforehand. Most won’t mind you having an occasional party and will appreciate knowing you have considered their needs and given them a chance to raise any concerns.
- If you’re coming back late at night (or early in the morning) then try and be considerate and keep the noise down.
- Keep the property and any surrounding clear of any rubbish and tidy up after any parties.
- Be polite and responsive to any complaints or requests from your neighbours. It’s always better to sort any issues out amicably.
Chances are that if you are considerate then you and your neighbour will get along without any problems. However, sometimes issues can’t be resolved easily, so it is advisable to seek support sooner rather than later to stop matters escalating.
The Community Warden team are available to help and support all students living off campus in the Loughborough area. The team offer a full pastoral service to any student living in Loughborough town.
There is more information and tips on how to be a good neighbour and what to do if you need further help or support on the Community Wardens website www.lboro.ac.uk/services/community-wardens/
- Lock front and back doors even when you are home. If you have a garden gate, make sure that is locked too. If the locks on your external doors are not sturdy or working properly then ask your landlord to replace them.
- Make sure all doors and windows are locked when you leave the property.
- Use the burglar alarm when you go out even if it is a for a short period of time.
- Make sure it looks like you’re home when you’re out. Install a timer switch to put a light on.
- If you leave the property empty over vacation periods such Christmas and Easter, take your valuables with you. Ask your neighbours to keep an eye on the property and let your landlord know you will be away as he/she may come round and check on the security for you.
- Keep valuables out of sight – put them in a drawer or wardrobe.
- Never leave spare keys hidden outside the property such as under the doormat, in a flowerpot or behind a loose brick – thieves know all the usual hiding places.
- Don’t attach your name and address to your house keys.
- Be careful of people requesting entry into your house. Burglars will try and trick their way in. Don’t be afraid to ask for ID; if in
- doubt keep them out and ask for them to call back later.
- Always lock your bike. Use a sturdy ‘D’ lock (you can buy these cheaply from the security gate on the Loughborough campus), and get your frame stamped with your postcode.
- Use a UV pen and write your name and university on your valuables – this will not damage your property.
- Record the make, model and serial numbers of electrical equipment.
- Register your valuables at www.immobilise.com to reduce property crime and improve your chances of getting items back in the event of loss or theft.
You can read also about living in the property in the following extract from our “Guide to living off campus” (click on the image below).