Living in the Property
These pages provide general guidance for students living off-campus and what is expected when renting accommodation.
You are expected to occupy the property in a tenant like manner. This means you must 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
Your tenancy agreement will normally state how 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 common methods of payment 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 and your bank and remain in control. Your landlord/letting agent cannot amend the standing order and only the amount you have set 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. This service may incur an administration charge. 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 normally are TV licence, water, gas, electricity, and TV/broadband package). The payment of your utilities will be dependent on the type of agreement you have with your landlord/letting agent. Having your bills included is convenient but may not represent value for money. If you are well organised and want to save money, compare the costs and consider managing your own 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. Before signing any agreement, check if there is a cap on the utilities. If there is one, you will most likely be liable for any excess usage. It is a good idea to check with your landlord/letting agent what happens if your usage is under the cap; would you get a refund?
If your rent exclusive of bills, you are responsible for these payments. There are companies who offer to manage your bills for you but will charge you for their service. The monthly amount you pay may not cover what you owe; you could end up with a bill at the end of the tenancy.
It is not recommended to set up a joint bank account with your housemates as your credit history will be linked to the others. Additionally, these can 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 bill-splitting apps available to help with this.
Keep in mind that the utility supplier will usually only include one or two tenants' names on the bill. If your name is on the bill, then you are legally responsible for paying it. Advise your energy supplier in writing that you have asked for the supply on behalf of all tenants. Do not ask 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.
Bins and Recycling
Keep your bins tidy, do not overfill them, make sure you are recycling correctly, put them out on the right day and once they have been emptied make sure to wheel them back in otherwise you could face a fine.
Find out the right day on the Charnwood Borough Council website.
For information on London, please check your local council website.
If you are moving out of university halls or from your parent's home, your belongings may no longer be insured. It is worth considering getting insurance. Two tips are to shop around and make sure you get an insurance package that covers all your belongings and any damage to the house, you might need this in cause of a fire or flood. Secondly, check your guardians’ home insurance as it might be cheaper to cover yourself on their policy.
If you receive other people’s mail, you can send the letter back to the sender or to the person if you know the forwarding address. To do this you need to 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). Then place the letter back in the post box, which is free of charge.
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.
For more information about the Community Wardens have a look at the webpage linked below.
Student houses are often targeted by burglars, make sure you take precautions.
- Always keep the front and back door locked, even if you are at home. If you have a garden gate, make sure that this is locked as well. If you are unhappy with the locks or if they are not working properly, speak to your landlord/letting agent and ask for them to be replaced or fixed.
- Check all doors and windows are locked when you leave the property.
- If you have a burglar alarm, use it even if you are only going out for a short period of time.
- Make sure it looks like you are home when you are out. You can do this by installing a timer switch to put a light on.
- If you leave the property empty over vacation periods such as Christmas and Easter, take your valuables with you. It is also a good idea to ask your neighbours to keep an eye on the property and let you landlord know you will be away as he/she might come and check on the security for you.
- Keep valuables out of sight, place them in a drawer or wardrobe.
- Do not keep spare keys outside of the property such as under the doormat or in a flowerpot, thieves know all the usual hiding places.
- Do not attach your name and address to your house keys
- Be careful of people who are requesting entry into your property. Burglars will try and trick their way in. Do not be afraid to ask for ID before letting anyone in, if you are unsure keep them out and ask for them to call back later.
- Always lock your bike with a ‘D’ lock (you can get them cheaply from the security gate at the Loughborough campus) and get your frame stamped with your postcode.
- Use a UV pen to write your name and university on your valuables – this will not cause any damage to your property.
- Record the make, model, and serial numbers of electrical equipment.
- Register your valuables online at Immobilise to reduce property crime and improve your chances of getting items back in the case of loss or theft.
Both Loughborough and London have a varied population of students, business professionals, families and elderly. It is good practice to develop a positive relationship with your neighbours when you move in and make sure to enforce this throughout your stay. Here are a few ways in which this can be done:
- Introduce yourselves to your neighbours when you are moving in. This will make it easier to communicate if there are any problems as the year goes on.
- If you are planning to host a bigger gathering or a party, discuss your plans with your neighbours beforehand. In most cases, your neighbours will not mind you hosting occasionally and will appreciate that you have considered their needs and given them a chance to discuss any concerns.
- If you are coming back late at night, or early in the morning, try to be considerate and keep the noise down.
- Keep your property and any surrounding clear of rubbish and make sure to clean up after any party.
- Be responsive and polity about complains or requests from your neighbours. It is always the best option to sort out any issues amicably.
Generally, if you are considerate, you and your neighbour will get along without any problems. However, occasionally issues can’t be resolved easily, so it is advisable to seek support sooner rather than later to stop the issue from escalating. The Community Warden team also offer information on how to be a good neighbour and what to do if you need further help or support on their webpage.
Last Updated: 27th April 2023