If you are looking for a place to live, having problems with your landlord or want to know about Council Tax, the Advice & Representation Centre can offer you Advice & Information.
When moving in, consider using the Student Community Partnership's Moving in checklist.
We've provided information on a few key topic below you may want to think about when renting for the first time:
When you move into your house you should be given an inventory by your landlord/ lady. If you are not given one then make sure that you ask for one.
You need to go through the inventory and make a note of everything that is included on it.
- Is what is on the inventory actually there?
- Is it in good repair? If it isn't, make a note of it.
- If there are extra items present, add them on to the inventory, particularly if there are electrical items supplied.
Make an appointment for your landlord/lady or agent to come to the house and go through the inventory with you.
The inventory is your only proof to say that items were or were not in the property when you moved in. If a table is broken for example, the landlord/ lady can charge you for it if you have not made a note of it on the inventory. It is no good arguing "it was like it when we moved in" because there is no evidence. You may be able to include photos in your inventory so make sure to take lots when you move in!
Once you have checked and completed the inventory, sign and date it. Make sure that both the household and the landlord or agent has a copy that you and they have signed.
We recommend taking out content insurance to protect yourself against theft. When taking out insurance on a shared house you should:
- Shop around, look at banks and building societies as well as insurance firms
- Read the policy carefully to see what is covered and what isn't
- If your parents can help you, they may be able to include you on their insurance policy, ask them to find out.
Our recommended insurance provider is Endsleigh, offering e.g. laptop, phone, gadget, and contents insurance.
If your rent does not include bills, you will need to sort this out when you move in.
It is your responsibility to make sure that gas, electricity and the phone bills are registered in your name and are paid by you. If when you move in the property is still connected, contact the suppliers and inform them of the day when you moved into the property and make sure that the account is in your name from this date. This will help protect you in case previous tenants have left unpaid bills.
It is an offence for a landlord/ lady to overcharge on a meter. Fiddling with meters is also illegal!
Before you leave the property, make sure that you have informed the Gas, Electricity and Phone Boards of the day when you will be moving out. They can then arrange for final bills to be sent to you.
Always give notice in writing and keep a copy of the letter.
Houses in Bath quite often can get a bit of damp and condensation which if you aren’t careful can lead to mould. A lot of problems can be resolved with just a few changes within your home.
- Keep a small window open where possible to get some good air circulation
- Heat all the rooms even if you aren’t using them to a small level
- Use an extractor fan during and after cooking to keep a good air flow
- Keep lids on the pans when cooking
- Be careful when drying clothes in the house, particularly on radiators as this can increase condensation
- Wipe the windows if condensation builds up
- If you do find you are getting mould make sure you clean it off straight away
- If you find things aren’t improving get in touch with the Advice & Representation Centre
Who can help me?
Get in touch with the Advice & Representation Centre who will be able to give you further advice on how to keep the damp under control, as well as how to approach your landlord if you are still having trouble and need some help in contacting them. The council have a housing services department who can help give tips and advice on damp and mould in your home as well as offer you an assessment and if needed get environmental health involved.
Find out when the refuse is collected in your street or area. In shared houses, refuse accumulates very quickly, and it is not nice to let it build up for more than week. You can find your collection day online using the Services in your area online checker or you can phone 01225 394041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There is more information on the Bins, Rubbish and Recycling website about refuse collection and services.
Recycle as much as you can.
If waste is not dealt with properly, you are at risk of getting pests and infestations in your property. For more information on how to deal with this if it happens have a look at the council's advice.
The Student Community Partnership are key in providing a link between both University's in Bath and the council. Their pages contain key information on everything you may need to know when living for the first time in Bath. If you run into any difficulties when living in private accommodation their liason officer can also help resolve issues for you if you contact the Advice & Representation Centre.
Introduce yourself to the neighbours
Bath is a fairly small city so when you become part of your institution that means being part of the local community. Therefore try to establish a good relationship with your neighbours as a starting point. Try to follow the following tips:
- On moving in introduce yourself - don't be shy! This may seem like a simple act but can help establish a positive relationship. Your neighbours can tell you about the local area and can also help to keep an eye on your house during weekends and holidays.
- Be considerate - if you are having a party, tell your neighbours (even invite them along!) and give them plenty of notice. Ask your guests to leave quietly and clear up any rubbish. Keep the noise levels low and be responsive to requests to turn music down.
- If an Environmental Health Officer calls round do not ignore them as they have extensive powers and you could end up with a heavy fine and have equipment seized.
- When coming home late at night keep voices down and be careful not to slam car doors or your front door. Remember, your neighbours may have different hours to you and also may have young children.
If you receive any complaints take responsbility and act upon them before they are taken further. For more information on this topic visit the council's website.
Register at your doctor and dental surgery
When you move into your property it is a good idea to register with a doctor's surgery that is near to your home. This makes it much easier for you to get to and see a doctor or dentist should you need to, especially in an emergency.
If you are moving off of your University campus, you might not be kept on the register automatically, so make sure you check!
To find out where your nearest surgery is call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
Sign up on the electoral register
If you are living in Bath to study a course, you are entitled to vote in any of the local elections. Even if you still "live" at your parents home elsewhere in the country, you are entitled to vote in both authority's elections.
You can register to vote online at About My Vote.
If you are currently living in your University residences, then you will have been automatically registered when you took up a place in residence. However, if you are a returning student, you will need to register.
You will be sent details of where to vote (your polling station) nearer the time.
Your vote is your opportunity to have an influence on how the City of Bath is run. Find out who the candidates are and what their aims and objectives are, talk to them and question them, and find out if they are best suited to represent you.
Housing and Council Tax Benefit are National Welfare Benefits, administered by Local Authorities. The purpose of housing benefit is to help people on low income pay their rent. Council tax benefit is to help people on low income pay their council tax benefit.
You are unable to claim any Housing Benefit (or most other benefits) on the grounds of being a student.
However, you may be entitled to Housing Benefits if you are one or more of the following:
- a student couple with dependent children
- a student responsible for a child boarded with them
- a student who is older than 60
- a student who is receiving a job seekers allowance
- a student who is under 19 in further education
NB. The partner of a student who is not a student themselves can still claim for the couple.
Contact email@example.com or phone 01225 47 77 77 for more information.
When do I need a TV Licence?
You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.
This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. If you do any of the above without a valid licence, you risk prosecution and a maximum penalty of up to £1,000, plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. You will also still have to buy a TV Licence if you need one.
To find out more, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo
How can I buy a TV Licence?
There are lots of different ways to buy a TV Licence. Whether that’s through weekly cash payments, using your nearest PayPoint outlet, spreading the cost with monthly, quarterly or yearly direct debit, credit/debit card or by post – just choose the one that suits you best.
For more information on the ways to pay, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/payinfo
If I live in halls, won’t I already be covered by a TV Licence?
Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you're plugged in to watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls' manager to see if they’re covered by a halls' licence.
What if I live in a shared house?
You'll probably only need one licence between you if you have a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house – this is the most common type of shared house arrangement. You might need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained. That means you have exclusive access to washing facilities, or your own entrance to the property. You will also need your own licence if you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room. If you're not sure, check our advice for tenants and lodgers.
Won't my parents' licence cover me?
Your parents' licence will not cover you while you're away at uni unless you only use a device that's powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.
What if I'm not at uni for the summer?
If you're leaving your halls or rented accommodation and moving back home for the summer, there's a good chance you won't need your TV Licence if there's one at home. You can see our policy and apply for a refund online.
What if I don’t need a licence?
If you don’t need a TV Licence, you still need to let TV Licensing know.