Help and Advice
Bath is a popular and compact city so student houses can be found all across Bath. Students often look for housing in Twerton, Newbridge, and Oldfield Park, but there are plenty of other areas that may also offer housing.
Searching for a house can be an enjoyable experience, but there is a lot to consider. It is recommended that you read the information below before starting your search for housing so you are prepared.
What to Look For
When you’re looking at a potential property, there are a few things you should look out for:
● No signs of damp, e.g: dark patches, peeling wallpaper or flaking paint.
● The internal bedroom doors all have locks.
● There are smoke detectors
● The gutters and pipes aren't broken, leaking or full of grass
There are also some things you should consider/ask
● Approximately how much are bills for the whole property?
● Does the University bus service stop nearby?
● Is there a shop nearby?
● Is the property near a main road? Or is it on a quiet residential street?
● Is the property furnished or unfurnished?
Private sector housing must have various certificates to show that it’s suitable for tenants to live in. These may include a HMO licence, a gas safety certificate, an electrical safety certificate, and an Electrical Performance Certificate (EPC).
Note: Resident landlords, landlords that live in the property with you, have different legal requirements and so may not provide some of these certificates. Their general responsibilities and deposit protection scheme responsibilities are different too.
When you sign a tenancy agreement, make sure you see these too. Please see below for more information about them.
● HMO Licences are issued to properties that are rented to more than 3 people who are from different households. These are issued by the local council.
● Gas Safety Certificates are issued yearly for properties which have gas. You should be given a copy of this at the start of your tenancy and within 28 days of the next check being completed
● Electrical Safety Certificates are a legal requirement for all tenancies as of 01 April 2021 and are issued every 5 years. They are issued as either an EICR or an NICEIC.
● Electrical Performance Certificates, or EPCs, are used to show how energy efficient a property is. EPC ratings should be above E unless the property is subject to exemptions, for example, it is a listed property.
Legally, your deposit must be put into a Government approved deposit protection scheme and this will be outlined in your tenancy agreement. These schemes include:
● Deposit Protection Service
● Tenancy Deposit Scheme
These government-backed schemes ensure tenants will receive their deposits back if they:
● Meet the terms of their tenancy agreement
● Do not damage the property
● Pay the rent and bills
As a student, you are exempt from paying Council Tax. You will need to prove your student status to the council and can do so by providing them with a student status letter. For Bath Spa students, you can contact the Student Information Team to request this.
If you want to watch live TV or download or stream on BBC Iplayer, you will need a TV licence. You can find more information about TV licences here.
● Keeping the property in repair, both inside and outside, and including all water, gas, and electrical installations.
● Providing you with all necessary certificates relevant to the property
● Agents/landlords do have the right to enter the property at reasonable times to carry out repairs or inspect the property. They are required to give you 24 hours written notice to do so.
● To let you ‘peacefully enjoy’ the property, with the exception of an emergency.
● Act in a ‘tenant-like manner’ - this means that you should perform small jobs to keep the property in order, for example, changing light bulbs or unblocking sinks. Some of these small jobs may be laid out in your tenancy agreement so do read this carefully.
● Be respectful of your neighbours, it is likely that you will be living in a residential area.
● Check whether bills are included in your tenancy agreement and rent - if they are not, you and your housemates are responsible for paying the bills on time and in full.
● Report all repairs and maintenance in writing to your landlord or agency in a timely manner.
● Waste collection - you will be responsible for ensuring that your bins and recycling are put out in time for collection. You can find more information about B&NES Council waste services here.
● Securing the property when you’re away - make sure all the doors and windows are locked
● Fair wear and tear is acceptable! But be aware that this is not explicitly defined in law and is seen as ‘common sense’
The Beginning and End of your Tenancy
● Your landlord may ask for references and financial information prior to offering you a tenancy
● Your landlord or agent may carry out ‘right to rent’ checks - this checks whether you can legally rent in the UK and may ask for your immigration status. You can ask for a proof of student status letter from the University which may be accepted
● If there is any visible damage or marks anywhere when you move in, take a time stamped photo - you might need this at the end of your tenancy if there are any disputes about your deposit
● Fill in the inventory provided in a timely manner - there may be a deadline for this
● Make sure the property is left in a clean and tidy condition
● Provide a forwarding address to the landlord or agent in case they need to contact you
Further Advice and Information
You can email the Accommodation Team on email@example.com, but please note that we are not legally trained so may not be able to give you direct advice regarding your query, but can direct you to other organisations who can.