Frequently Asked Questions
Please find answers to most common questions asked questions.
Council Tax Exemption
As students you are exempt from paying council tax during your course dates. However, you still need to notify Sheffield City Council who is living at the property and the dates of your tenancy as you will remain responsible for council tax until you notify them. The following steps need to be followed to obtain your exemption:
- Obtain your council tax exemption letters from the University’s SSID website
- Once everyone in the house has their exemption certificate you will need to give them to one person in the house who will be responsible for completing the exemption form on the Sheffield City Councils website - - https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/council-tax/council-tax-discounts-exemptions.html
- When completing the online form, it will ask you some information about us as landlords. The following is the information you will require:
- When asked what type of landlord you are renting from select ‘Private Landlord Other’
- The name and address of the landlord is Gerard Morris, 7 Spring Hill, Sheffield, S10 1ET
- Your tenancy start date is the 1st of July
- Your tenancy end date is the 29th of June the following year
- Your move in and move out dates will be the same as the dates above
- The property type is a Furnished property
- Submit the form along with copies of all your student exemption letters
- As long as you complete all information correctly you will be sent a letter from Sheffield City Council advising you that you are exempt from council tax
Please note: If you are in your final year and your course date finishes before the end date of your tenancy you will be responsible for any council tax liability for that period.
At the time of signing for a property each tenant will be required to pay a deposit. The amount of the deposit will be detailed on the tenancy agreement.
The deposit will be lodged with a government approved deposit protection scheme.
At the end of the tenancy deposits are returned 2 weeks after the last date of the tenancy. Where there is any damage to the property or any other deductions this amount will be deducted prior to the deposit being returned.
Taking care of the house throughout the year, returning it cleaned as per the cleaning checklist and following the move out procedure should mean that you get your deposit returned in full.
Keys are available to collect from 1pm on the first day of your tenancy. Unfortunately, we cannot release keys any earlier than this date or time as the properties will not be available until then.
Please do not keep anything on or with the keys which identifies your address in case keys are lost.
Keys are only handed over once:
- Proof / confirmation of standing orders for the full term of the tenancy have been set up
- All paperwork has been signed and returned
- All guarantor letters have been returned
- All rent payments for the property have been received. Where all rent payments have not been received by the first day of the tenancy the person collecting the keys will be responsible for paying the outstanding rent before keys are released
If over the course of the tenancy you lose your keys please follow the following guide:
- Send an email to email@example.com detailing the house address and which bedroom you are staying in
- We will contact you to let you know when a spare set of keys can be collected from our address
- You will need to pay a £20 deposit for each spare key you collect. This is returned when you return the spare keys
- Once you are given the spare key(s) you will need to get a new key cut and return the spare keys within 24 hours
- Where spare keys are also lost this will result in a lock change, the cost of which will be borne by the tenant so please take care with the spare keys.
- Where keys are lost which identify the property a lock change will be required for the security of the tenants and the property. In this instance the cost of the lock change due to lost keys will be borne by the tenant.
We insure the house only.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to organise insurance for their own belongings for the duration of their stay in the property. The landlord will not be responsible for any damage to tenants belongings during their stay. Where belongings are left in the property before the start of the tenancy or after the end of the tenancy they are left so at the tenants own responsibility. Our insurance will not cover them..
You are required at all times before the start of your tenancy and during your tenancy to ensure we have the most up-to-date contact details for everyone in the house. This includes mobile number, email address and home address.
The landlord cannot be held responsible for not being able to contact you (in the case of viewings, inspections, move out procedures etc.) if you do not contact us about changes to contact details.
If you have any maintenance requests / queries please complete the following online form - https://podio.com/webforms/18552489/1248479
You will need to provide as much information on the problem as you can along with pictures, makes and models of appliances etc. to enable us to troubleshoot the issue. Please also include any steps you have taken to resolve the issue.
Report any maintenance issues as soon as you find them so that we can ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible. This is particularly the case for any water issues as water damage can be minimised through early reporting.
The mobile number given to you at the start of the tenancy should only be used in case of emergency; for example, leaks / electrical issues / anything dangerous. If it is an emergency and you can’t get in touch with anyone on that number, please call Ged on 07879817400.
Mould and Damp
During your stay in the house it is very important to ensure you adequately ventilate the house to avoid any problems with damp as the majority of damp problems are caused by excessive moisture in the air and inadequate ventilation. Steps you can take to prevent mould include:
- Reduce the amount of condensation in the air. Use extractor fans when cooking, use clothes dryers instead of radiators for drying clothes. If you are drying clothes indoors ensure the windows are open to allow moisture to escape
- Heat the house regularly
- Damp is often found in cold spots / corners along external walls where enough air isn’t circulating. Try to ensure air circulation in these areas (don’t push furniture / belongings right into these corners)
- If you find mould developing on shower / bath sealant there is a product by a company called HG which is the only product on the market which will remove it. The product is called ‘HG Mould Spray’ and you can purchase it in Williamsons Hardware store in Broomhill (beside Sainsbury’s) or from any online shop.
- Follow the advice provided in the Condensation and Mould guide sent out in the Welcome Back email for advice on prevention and how to tackle it where you do have a problem
Please note, mould growth in houses due to condensation is caused by the lifestyle of the occupants and they are responsible for its prevention and removal. If you do not treat it early it will cause permanent damage to surfaces / sealant etc.
Rubbish and Recycling
- You will have 3 bins at the house - black (for rubbish and products that can’t be recycled), blue (for paper and cardboard) and brown (for glass, cans and plastic). Please check the Veolia website below on what exactly goes into each bin (for example you can’t put plastic bags in the brown bin).
- Ensure you put the correct bins out on the correct days. Your rubbish collection day can be found at the following link - https://www.veolia.co.uk/sheffield/collections/collection-day-finder
- Sort your waste correctly. If you put the wrong items in the wrong bin they won’t be collected and you will have to empty the bin to sort it.
- Do not overfill your bins. If you can’t close the lid on the bin the bin men won’t take it, so ensure that the lid is always closed and the bin isn’t overflowing.
- There are certain rules to be followed when placing bins on the street. Bins can only be put out after 7pm on the day before collection. Bins must be brought back inside the property on the day / evening that they have been collected. For example - bins that are to be collected on a Friday can only be put out after 7pm on a Thursday and must be brought back in by Friday evening. Failure to bring your bins in off the street means that your house may incur a £60 fine from Sheffield City Council …
- Don’t leave rubbish in plastic bags outside the house as it will attract vermin.
- Where possible please also donate to charity shops where you have things you no longer require but are still in good working order.
- If you get to the point where you are getting a build up of rubbish you may need to take it to one of the household recycling centres in Sheffield. The locations for these can be found in the following link - https://www.veolia.co.uk/sheffield/recycling-sites/recycling-sites/household-waste-recycling-centres
- Keep on top of your rubbish removal throughout the year to avoid any issues with rubbish removal at the end of your tenancy. This can be avoided by regularly putting out your bins and recycling / donating where possible.
To ensure your personal safety and keep the house secure please bear the following in mind:
- Keep external doors locked at all times. Some external doors do not lock automatically when pulled shut so remember to lock them on the way in and out.
- Keep windows closed when there is no-one in the house. Burglars aren’t deterred by small windows or windows above ground floor level …
- If you are in a first floor or attic bedroom you may not hear someone downstairs when you are in your room. Don’t leave downstairs windows open if you are upstairs
In order to prevent blockages in any pipework during the year please follow the advice below as the cost of fixing blockages caused by putting the wrong things down sinks, toilets etc. will be the tenants’ responsibility:
- do not force food stuff down the drain
- once cooled place cooking fat in the bin to dispose of it. Fat poured down pipes will coagulate and clog the pipework up
- only toilet paper to be flushed down the toilet. Facial tissues, paper towel, cotton wool, sanitary products etc. are all composed of a material that will cause a blockage. Please use a bin for these instead
- remove hair from shower and bath drains after use to prevent hair blocking drains or ideally place a strainer over the plug hole to catch any hair which can then be removed after each shower
If you do experience a slow flowing drain, try the following:
- Unblock the drain of any obvious blockages – food, hair etc.
- Use a plunger to try and unblock the drain (drain unblocking products / bleach etc. don’t tend to work very well). If plunging a sink or bath you need to ensure that the overflow drain is covered over by a cloth in order to ensure that you create adequate suction for the plunging to work. Please note it can take plunging for up to 10 minute to free the blockage, it’s not a 30 second job!!
We will contact you around the middle of May before your tenancy starts to provide you with the information you require in order to set up your standing orders for your rent payments. Prior to the start of your tenancy we will require confirmation in the form of a letter from your bank / screenshot from your online banking to show that the standing order has been set up for the correct amount and the right number of instalments.
- Rent is payable by standing order in 12 monthly instalments
- Rent is payable on the 28th of the month to ensure it reaches our account by the 1st of the month
- Your first rent payment will be set up for the 28th of June to ensure it reaches our account in time for the 1st of July so that we can release your keys. You will need the standing order to be set up for 12 monthly payments on the 28th of every month. The last rent payment will be the 28th of May to pay for your June rent.
We tend to find that coming up with a rota for cleaning helps to ensure you have a nice, comfortable stay during your time in the house. This is especially important in houses with a lot of people and it also makes things easier when it comes to inspections and viewings where the property is required to be kept presentable.
We conduct regular inspections over the course of your tenancy. During these inspections we will be looking at the cleanliness of the house and also assessing the house for maintenance.
We will contact you in advance of the inspection and provide a checklist for the cleaning that is required to be undertaken for the inspection.
Where the house is found to be in an unsatisfactory condition during the inspection tenants will be required to resolve any issues raised within 48 hours in time for another full re-inspection. Where no improvement is seen during the re-inspection you will be required to get professional cleaners in to the house to bring it back up to standard..
Heating the house while away during cold weather
If the house will be empty over Christmas, the heating is required to come on a couple of times a day for an hour or two at a time in order to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. This is a requirement of the house insurance.
We recommend that the heating comes on for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening. The thermostat can be set to about 10 degrees which means that if the weather does not get very cold the heating will not come on.
Manuals and Instruction Booklets
Manuals and instruction booklets for appliances / boilers etc. will be left in the house, usually in a drawer in the kitchen. Where previous tenants may have mistakenly thrown these away please search online first to see if you can download / print a copy of the required manual.
Boilers, thermostats and radiators
- Instruction on how to use your boiler are left in the house. If the previous tenants have thrown these away, you should be able to download the guide online using the make and model of the boiler which will be found written on the boiler.
- Most boiler have 3 settings for on / off:
- 0 = off
- 1 = constantly on
- timed where the boiler only comes on during the times set by you
- In addition to the above some boilers have the ability to set whether you want heating or hot water or both. These are usually indicated on the boiler by pictures:
- Radiator picture – boiler heats radiators only
- Tap picture – boiler heats hot water only
- Combined radiator and tap picture – boiler heats both the radiators and the tap
- Boilers have a pressure indicator on the front of them indicating the pressure in the system. Normal pressure is between 1 – 1.5 bar. If your boiler stops working please check the pressure gauge to see what pressure is showing.
- In addition to the boiler a lot of houses will have a thermostat. This is located on a wall in the house and can have 2 functions:
- allows you to control the temperature of room in which the thermostat is located when the heating is on and working.
- in addition, digital thermostats can also be used to program the times the heating goes on and off
- Thermostats that only allow you to control the temperature in the room tend to look like the following picture:
- Digital thermostats which allow you to control both the temperature and the heating times tend to look like the image below. Instructions for how to operate the thermostat tend to be found on the thermostat panel when you open it:
- When you move back into the house in September it is a good time of year to switch your boiler on to ensure that it is working (after a break over the summer) rather than waiting until the weather gets quite cold and finding an issue.
- When the boiler has been turned on and given time to warm up please check all of the radiators to ensure they are fully warming up. They should be warm from the top to the bottom of each radiator. Sometimes (especially in attic bedrooms) you may find that the radiator does not heat all the way from the top to the bottom as air can become trapped in the system after being turned off for a while. If this is the case, please complete the online request form (detailed within the ‘Maintenance’ section) to advise which radiators are not fully heating up (which rooms, on which floor of the house etc.) so that we can release the air lock.
- Where radiators are not warming up at all it may be that the Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV) has been set to zero. The TRV is found on the pipes that come into the radiator and can be used to control the temperature of that radiator. The have settings from 0 – 5 with 0 being off and 5 being the hottest. We recommend these are set to 3 as standard which allows for extra capacity to turn them up to 5 in the really cold winter months.
Washing machines and tumble dryers
- A manual for your washing machine and dryer should have been left in the house. If the previous tenants have thrown it away in error, you will be able to find it online and download it by using the make and model of the machine which is usually written on the front of the machine or just inside the door
- Washing machine doors - all washing machines have between a 2 and 5-minute delay at the end of the wash before you will be able to open the door. Please do not force the door. Doing so will break it and it is a costly repair for you.
- Washing machine blockages - check all of your pockets before putting clothes in the machine. Failure to do so will result in the item getting trapped and stopping the drain pump from working. If you find your washing machine is not draining properly this blockage will be the most likely cause which will require you to remove and clean the filter.
- Cleaning the washing machine filter –
- this is usually located at the bottom right hand corner of the machine.
- As there may be quite a bit of water in the filter place a tray and some towels under there to catch any water.
- Open the filter slowly just in case to prevent a lot of water coming at once.
- Check the filter when you pull it out and have a look inside to see if there's anything in there which will be causing the issue and remove it.
- Replace the filter and tighten it to prevent water leakage when the machine is next turned on
- Dryers can be set to come on for the amount of time you think it will take to dry your clothes. Cleaning the filter after every cycle will ensure you get the optimal performance from your dryer. If you find the dryer is not working or drying properly, please try the following:
- Is it plugged in and is the switch on the plug turned on
- Is the filter clogged with fluff? If so clear this out as it will have an impact on drying time.
- Have you set enough time for the size of your load to allow it to dry properly? Large loads take longer to dry
- Have you used the correct setting? Synthetics dry on a lower heat than cottons
- Is the dryer set to ‘Low heat’ or ‘High heat’? Low heat will not dry a large load of cotton clothes
- Is the dryer staying cold after being on for a while? At the back of some dryers there is an overheat button which may have been activated during the previous cycle. Reset the overheat button and try again
The shower at your house will be one of 2 types:
- Electric shower which is independent of the heating system
- Thermostatic shower where the hot water is provided by the boiler / heating system
Electric showers will usually have a switch outside the shower room / bathroom which needs to be turned on in order for the shower to work. On the electric shower itself there are usually 3 dials / buttons:
- On / off button
- A dial with cold and hot indicators. You will usually want to keep the shower at the first or 2nd hot indicator depending on your preference
- A dial with numbers. The higher the number the hotter the shower will become
If your electric shower is not working, try the following:
- Is the switch on the wall outside the shower room / bathroom turned on?
- Check the fuse board (found in the cellar) to ensure the switch has not tripped for the shower. If it has turn it on again. Sometimes it won’t come back on after the first go so you will need to turn the trip switch on and off again
Thermostatic showers – these work directly off the boiler so the boiler does need to be turned on for hot water. If the shower is not working check the following:
- Is the boiler turned on?
- Is the boiler turned on to the heat and hot water setting? If the boiler is only turned on to the heat setting your shower will not have hot water
For problems with blockages please see the guidance in the ‘Blockages’ section.
Noise and neighbours
As you are living in a nice residential area we ask that you show consideration to your neighbours some of whom will be working, have young children, may be elderly etc.
The guidelines from the council and the University are as follows:
- Sunday – Thursday: Silence is expected of occupants between 11pm and 7am
- Friday and Saturday: Silence is expected from 12pm
The University encourages local residents to call The University Security Services (who operate a 24/7 service) if they are being disturbed by students in the local community.
If you are being noisy and Security Services visit your property, you will be expected to be polite, co-operate and turn the noise levels down.
Substantiated complaints to the University of Sheffield may result in the matter being referred to the Student Conduct and Appeals Office with a view to disciplinary action being taken.
Please bear in mind you are also responsible for any guests who are visiting the property so please ensure they follow the advice above.
Bills and utilities
Bills and utilities are not included in your rent price.
If you would like an all inclusive price for rent and bills we can arrange this. The all-inclusive price covers gas, electricity, water, broadband and tv licence only. No other utilities are included.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are provided in the house for your safety.
Batteries are tested before the start of your tenancy. If over the course of the year, the alarm starts beeping intermittently it means that the battery power is running low and needs replacing. Please replace it as soon as possible and ensure you do not leave the alarm without batteries.
If the alarm is beeping constantly you need to leave the property immediately (leaving any windows and doors that you can open) and contact our emergency number.
Changing light bulbs during the course of the tenancy are the responsibility of the tenants. Tenants are required to keep all bulbs throughout the house in working order at all times to provide adequate lighting for safety.
Where you cannot reach the bulbs to change them please purchase the new bulb and we will come to fit it once you have raised the maintenance request using the online maintenance form (detailed within the ‘Maintenance’ section).
Tenants are responsible for ensuring all bulbs throughout the house are in working order at the end of the tenancy. This includes overhead lights, lamps and lights in extractor hoods over the hob.
Extractor hood lights can be changed by removing the filter panel on the extractor, unscrewing the old bulb and replacing it with a new bulb.
The property will come with a vacuum cleaner. This will either be a ‘Henry’ or a ‘Dyson’.
The Henry is pretty easy to use. If you are finding any issues with suction this is usually due to one of 2 issues:
- Blockage in the pipe / hose – check the pipe and the hose for any blockage and try and shake it out. Do now try to free the hose with anything sharp as you may rip it and have to purchase a new hose
- Full vacuum bag – if the vacuum bag is full you will lose suction. Bags for the Henry can be purchased in Williamsons in Broomhill or from any online store. DO NOT use vacuum cleaner without a vacuum bag as you will damage it and be responsible for its replacement
The Dyson is also pretty easy to use. You will find instructions for its use online if they have been removed from the house. If you are finding any issues with the suction this is usually due to one of the following:
- Blockage – there are a variety of videos available on YouTube on how to remove blockages from the hose. Be careful not to use anything sharp in case you puncture the hose and have to pay for a new hose and it’s fitting
- Full drum – everything you vacuum ends up in the see-through drum. This needs emptying regularly to keep the suction.
- Blocked brush bars – the part of the vacuum that runs over the carpet to vacuum dirt can become clogged with hairs. This stops the brush bar from working which can reduce the effectiveness of the vacuum. Remove the hairs / anything clogging the brush bar and test the vacuum again.
All Dyson vacuum cleaners come with 3 attachments at the start of your tenancy. Ensure these stay attached to the vacuum cleaner throughout the tenancy as you will need to replace them if they go missing. For instructions on how to use the Dyson attachments (which you will need to do for cleaning stairs, around edges of bedrooms etc) please see the guide in the following link - https://www.dyson.co.uk/support/journey/guides/00952-01.html?machineId=00952-01
The oven provided with your house should have a manual for its operation in the kitchen. If this has been removed by the previous tenants, you will be able to find a manual online using the make and model of the oven. The make and model will be written on the outside of the oven or just inside the oven door when you open it. The following advice may help where you are experiencing oven issues:
- The markings on the oven have been scrubbed off by previous tenants – in this case look at the manual which will show a picture of the oven and mark the settings on the dials using a permanent pen
- The oven is smoking. The following will apply:
- If this is the first time you have used the oven since moving in to the house it may be burning off some of the cleaner used by the previous tenants. Allow this to burn off and the oven will be fine
- The oven is getting smoky during the tenancy. In this instance the oven is due a clean as there is probably a build up of dirt and fat within the oven. We recommend Oven Pride for cleaning ovens but please ensure you follow the safety instructions, especially covering your eyes and your skin to prevent any burning
- The oven is not heating. This may be due to a number of factors:
- Is the isolation switch on the wall near the oven area turned on? This is usually a red switch. In some cases, it can be found in a cupboard near the oven
- Is there a digital clock on the oven? If there is a digital clock and the time is not set the oven will not work
- Has the timer been set incorrectly?
- Check the fuse board. Has the fuse tripped? If so turn the fuse on, off again and then back on as sometimes the switch needs to be fully reset
- If you have checked all of the above and the oven is still not working complete the Online Maintenance Request for (see the ‘Maintenance’ section).
A common issue experienced with freezers is that the door is not closing properly. This may be due to a couple of things:
- The rubber seal around the freezer door is dirty and therefore the magnet between the freezer frame and the freezer door will not stick together properly. Clean the rubber seal with warm soapy water and try again
- There is a build up of ice in the freezer. In this instance the freezer will need to be defrosted and the ice removed in order to allow the door to close properly. Tenants are responsible for defrosting freezers. DO NOT USE ANYTHING SHARP! Sharp items such as knives etc. will puncture the plastic casing of the freezer and in turn damage the gas / coolant used in the freezing process. Where this happens the tenants will be responsible for the cost of a replacement appliance.
Instructions for using your dishwasher should be in the kitchen. If the previous tenants have removed them, you will be able to download the instructions online using the make and model. Guidance on how to get the best out of your dishwasher is as follows:
- Ensure that you rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher to prevent build up of food in the dishwasher.
- Clean the dishwasher regularly using a dishwasher cleaner to prevent it smelling and a build up of dirt developing inside
- If the dishwasher is not draining properly and water is remaining inside check the drain to ensure it is not blocked.
Electricity not working
If you find your electricity is not working please try the following:
- Check your fuse board (usually located in the cellar) and ensure all of the fuses are turned on. All switches across the board should be in an Up position. If any are down switch them back up.
- Is the power outage related to a particular floor of the house? Check the fuse board and see if all fuses for this floor are on and if not turn them back on. If you find the fuse trips again as soon as you turn it on plug out all sockets on that floor, turn the fuse back on and then plug the sockets in one by one again until you find which appliance is tripping the switch. If it is an appliance provided with the house submit an online maintenance request form and we will come to have a look
- Check with your neighbours on both sides of the road. Are they also without power? In cases such as this where there is an electric outage please check with your utilities provider for updates on when power is expected to be restored.
Water not working
If you find you are having any difficulties with your water supply this will be most likely something you need to refer to Yorkshire Water to resolve:
- Dirty water coming out of pipes is usually as a result of work Yorkshire Water may be undertaking in your area. Check the Yorkshire Water website or phone them for further information
- No water. This may be due to a burst water pipe in your area. In this instance you may find that your neighbours have water but you don’t. Different properties are serviced by different water pipes so please check with a couple of other houses especially those across the road from you. Check the Yorkshire Water website or phone them for further information.
Phone Land Lines
Phone lines are not provided by the landlord at the property. There may be a phone line at the property which you will need to contact BT to find out about.
If a landline is required to be installed at the property this cost is at the tenant’s expense. If tenant’s wish to move a phone point this is also at their own expense.
If you suspect a gas leak please check you have not left any gas appliances turned on.
If everything is turned off but the smell of gas remains vacate the house immediately and call the National Grid help number on 0800 111 999 follow their advice. You will also need to phone us to advise
Parking permits are required in certain areas of Sheffield in order to park your car within Residents Zones. Please check if this is the case for the area / street where you live.
If a parking permit is required this can be applied for on the Sheffield City Council website - https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/parking/apply-parking-permit.html#resident
This website will detail the cost, application process etc.
Parking permits are not provided by the landlord. The cost of the permit is the tenant’s responsibility. You can apply for your parking permit once you have been registered at the property for council tax or in the case of students once you have registered for your council tax exemption.
As tenants are responsible for the following over the course of your tenancy:
- You are required to undertake cleaning over the course of the tenancy for inspections and for returning the house deep cleaned at the end of the tenancy. The property needs to be brought back to how it was on the first day of letting when the tenancy is ending.
- Keys are your responsibility over the course of the tenancy. Lost keys are replaced at the tenants expense. For details on what to do regarding lost keys over the course of the tenancy please see the section on ‘Keys’
- Light bulbs that needs to be replaced during / at the end of the tenancy (so definitely a job worth doing yourself!). If you cannot reach a bulb to replace it, please purchase one and we will fit it for you free of charge
- Batteries. All batteries are checked at the start of the tenancy. Where batteries stop working during the tenancy tenants are responsible for replacing them. This includes batteries in fire or carbon monoxide alarms / door bells / TV remote controls
- Vacuum attachments. All Dyson vacuum cleaners will be provided with 3 vacuum attachments. If these go missing from Dyson vacuum cleaners you will need to replace them
- Mattress protectors. These are provided on every bed at the beginning of a tenancy. If they are returned at the end of the year damaged / unwashed you will need to replace it with a new one. All mattresses need to be covered by a minimum of a mattress protector and fitted sheet over the course of the tenancy.
- Mattresses. Mattresses are provided in good, clean condition. Using the mattress protector provided along with a fitted sheet should protect the mattress. If the mattress is found to be damaged / soiled at the end of the tenancy the tenant will need to arrange for a new replacement mattress.
- Rubbish / personal items removal. You are responsible for the removal of all rubbish and personal belongings from the property at the end of the tenancy. If these cannot fit in the bins you will be required to take them to the nearest household waste recycling facility.
- Drains and pipes. You need to ensure that pipes and drains are kept free of blockages at all times. Blockages are typically caused by fats being poured down the sink, anything other than toilet paper being put down toilet etc. Where pipes / drains are blocked due to mis-use tenants will need to arrange for the necessary work to be undertaken to remove the blockage
- Facilitation of a change in the tenancy – if over the course of the tenancy you wish to make a change (e.g. someone wants to leave the house and someone else wants to move in) please get in touch and we will advise the process to be followed.
- Smoking is not permitted inside the property. Where tenants have been found to be smoking inside the property they will be responsible for any professional repainting and professional cleaning of all upholstery / soft furnishings / carpets that needs to be undertaken to return the property to its original condition
- Blu-tac or sellotape are not permitted on the walls. Damage caused by their use will require that the tenant is responsible for any professional painting required to return the walls to their original condition.
- Candles are not permitted in the property. Damage caused by their use must be rectified by tenants
- Mould prevention. See the section on mould for how to prevent it. Tenants are responsible for it's removal over the course of the tenancy and ensuring the property is returned mould free at the end of the tenancy
- Carpets. Any carpets damaged by burns etc. will require the tenant to arrange for the carpet to be replaced. Please ensure heat mats are used for straighteners / curlers and do not iron clothes on the carpet.
- Change of locks. Where locks need to be changed (e.g. keys lost along with something which will identify the address) please contact us for the process for getting the locks replaced with ones that work with our key system
- Damage to appliances – where appliances supplied with the house are found to be damaged due to misuse tenants will be responsible for getting these repaired / replaced.
Additional Terms and Move-In Checklists
The Additional Terms are things that are specific to our houses and which we ask you to pay attention to to ensure the house is well maintained during your stay. They are signed as part of your contract for the house and are checked during the inspections which are conducted over the course of your stay in the house:
- A minimum of a mattress protector and fitted sheet to be used to cover the mattress at all times. During each inspection every mattress will be checked so ensure you have both of these in place to protect the mattress.
- No smoking inside the property. If you / visitors are smoking outside, please ensure that cigarette ends are not left on the ground. These should be disposed of safely and hygienically
- No decorating to be undertaken. This includes walls, furniture etc.
- Blue-tac and sellotape cannot be used. Only white tac / pins / command hooks. For some properties nothing may be put on the walls. Please check your individual ‘Additional Terms’ document to see if this applies to your property.
- Tenants are not permitted to screw anything into the walls or hang anything heavy without checking with us first. We want to ensure you don’t burst any water pipes or hit any electrical wiring …
- Indoor furniture (including dining chairs / tables) must not be taken outside and used in the garden. Damage to furnishings due to exposure to wet / damp etc. will be the responsibility of the tenants
- Furnishings / pictures etc. provided with the house must not be removed and placed in cellars / sheds. Cellars and sheds are damp and will result in damage to furnishings which will be the responsibility of the tenants
- Pay particular attention to the use of irons and hair straighteners so that they don’t damage carpets and / or furniture. Please have one further look around the house and ensure that you have reported all carpet burns on the schedule of conditions you completed at the start of the tenancy.
- Ensure adequate ventilation to prevent mould from developing. This is particularly important in bathrooms and kitchens as tenants will be responsible for the cost of any redecorating / maintenance that arises due to mould. See the section on ‘Mould and damp’ for its prevention and early removal.
- We will conduct regular inspections of the houses over the course of the year. You will be notified in advance to give you time to ensure the house is fully cleaned in time for the inspections. Where inspections are not passed you will have 48 hours to resolve and issues in time for a full re-inspection of the whole house.
- Ensure you have insurance in place for your personal belongings as our insurance only covers the building; we do not insure tenant’s belongings
- Where tenants are away from the house for extended periods over the Christmas and Easter holidays the heating must be left to come on for a couple of hours a day to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. We recommend leaving the heating on for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the evening. The thermostat can be set to 10 degrees centigrade to prevent wastage where the temperatures do not fall below the level where the pipes start to freeze.
- Tenants are responsible for contacting Sheffield City Council with their council tax exemption letters. See the section on ‘Council tax’
- You are responsible for all utilities while living in the property.
- Where there are wooden floors in the property outdoor shoes may not be worn inside
Start of tenancy
At the start of your tenancy we will contact you and provide you with the starting meter readings for:
- Water (where the property has a water meter)
These are the starting meter readings you must provide your utility companies with when you set up your new utilities accounts. If you are away for the summer you may find that the meter readings are slightly different when you get back as essential services such as emergency lights, fridge freezers etc. will have been running while you are away.
Please note: in this instance you are still required to provide the utilities companies with the meter readings we give you for the 1st of July as you are responsible for utilities from the start date of your contract.
If you are using Unihomes for your utilities, we will provide these readings to Unihomes at the start of your tenancy.
End of tenancy
Utilities remain the tenant’s responsibility until the last day of the tenancy as stated in your Tenancy Agreement. We will take meter readings on the last day of your contract and email them to you all as a group. These are the meter readings that need to be provided to your utilities company / Unihomes in order to close your accounts.
Please note: If you are leaving the property before the last day of your contract, please be advised that you cannot take meter readings on that day and use them as your final reading. This is because as essential services such as emergency lights etc. will have been running while you are away and you are responsible for utilities until the end date of your contract. Please do not contact your utilities companies with final meter readings until we email them to you on the last day of your contract. Providing utilities companies with the incorrect meter readings may cause you difficulties in the future.
Signing for a property
After having a viewing of a property and deciding as a group that you would like to go ahead the next stage is to complete the necessary documentation and arrange for the payment of deposits.
The process you will need to follow for signing is as follows:
- One person in the group will be required to text (07986349672) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details for everyone in the group – First Name, Last Name, Mobile Number and email address
- You will all then be sent a link to a Tenant Application Form. This is a quick 1-page form that takes a couple of minutes to complete and gathers some basic information that we require to process your tenancy application. Please note: You will require a copy of your passport (and a copy of your visa if one is required for your studies in the UK) to complete this form.
- Once all tenant application forms for your group have been received we will email you all of the documentation that you need to read and sign. It may seem like a lot of documents but most are pretty short:
- Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) / Contract – we use a contract that is supplied by the Students Union. They asked a local solicitor to draw up a student friendly contract so there’s no hidden small print and is recommended by the university. On the last page every person in the group needs to put their printed names, signatures and the date of signing. Please note that the price for the rent on the contract is the price for rent only, it does not include any utilities.
- Additional terms document – this is for the things that apply to our houses that aren’t in the University contract. Every person in the group needs to sign and date the last page.
- Guarantor form - to email or send to your parents so they can help out with your rent if you can’t pay or leave the house half way through the year etc. This form needs to be independently witnessed and returned within 2 weeks of signing the contract.
- Deposit Protection Service Prescribed Information form - for the details that the deposit scheme (which holds your deposit) needs. Everyone in the group needs to sign and date the last page.
- Deposit scheme acknowledgement form - to say that you’ve received all of the information regarding your deposit. Everyone in the group to sign.
- Utilities order form - Please complete and sign this form where you wish for Unihomes to supply your utilities at the property. The cost of your utilities per person per week is stated on this document. You will be required by Unihomes to set up a separate monthly payment to them to cover this cost. The cost of these utilities are not included in the rent price stated in your AST. The dates for Unihomes supplying utilities needs to match the dates on your AST.
You are also required to read (but don’t need to sign) the following 2 documents:
- Deposit scheme terms and conditions - for info. We are required to provide you with it to ensure you have all info related to the Deposit Protection Service. Please read
- Right to rent guide. Please read
- The house is not secured until all documentation has been correctly completed and returned and all deposits have been paid. Any delays in returning documentation and deposits may mean that someone else will sign for the property before you.
- All of our properties are let on a "Joint and Several Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement". This means that you are all jointly liable for the property i.e. you rent the whole property from us as a group, not on a room by room basis.