Why Landlords Should Choose Quarters Student Accommodation

As Coventry University Alumni, both the directors Gavin and Robert felt that during their time at university, we had paid good money for substandard accommodation and substandard letting practices. We decided to put things right and we now own and manage several of our own properties and treat all of our landlords properties with pride. We don’t believe in ripping off either students or landlords with outlandish application fees or management fees.
We offer a simple, honest service, for competitive rates.

We have students from both Coventry and Warwick University contacting us on a daily basis looking for rental accommodation- unfortunately we’re sold out! Our database of local landlords indicates you have a rental property in Coventry and we would love to help you make the most of your investment by helping you achieve 100% occupancy in the coming academic year!
As a small, virtual letting agent we believe we can give your investment the attention it deserves and are able to focus on getting all of our landlords 100% occupancy each year. We Let and manage a wide variety of properties in Coventry and Warwickshire exclusively to students – from bedsits to fully licensed HMO’s. Being a virtual agency we are able to offer very reasonable rates for both landlords and students and have the lowest student application fees in Coventry, making us very popular with the student population!
We’re always looking for high quality properties to advertise, so if you’ve not achieved your 100% rental potential this year or simply need some advice on your property then give us a call on 02475070507 today! If you decide to sign up to our fully managed scheme and present this letter to your agent you’ll receive 3 months half price property management – that’s only a 4% management fee! *(Offer Valid until 31 October 2016 – offer valid on the landlord’s first rental property only).

HMO’s – Houses in multiple occupation

Student Accommodation in Coventry often comprise of shared houses or flats. Many of these properties are houses in multiple occupation (HMO’s). If you live in an HMO, your landlord has extra legal responsibilities and may need a licence for the property.

There is a complex legal definition setting out what an HMO is. However, in general terms, it is a building where more than one household lives and shares facilities.

A single household is where members of the same family live together, including unmarried couples. For example, if you lived with a friend and a couple that is three households.

Students living in the following types of accommodation are likely to be living in HMOs:
A house or flat which is let to three or more people who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet
A house converted into bedsits or other forms of non self-contained accommodation, which is let to three or more people who form two or more households.

For a property to be an HMO, it has to be used only or mainly as residential accommodation. It also has to be the occupiers’ only or main home, but this includes any students undertaking a full-time course of further or higher education.

Buildings that are not HMOs

Certain buildings occupied by students, such as halls of residence, may be excepted from the definition of an HMO. Halls that are controlled and managed by an educational establishment which has signed up to an approved code of practice cannot be HMOs.

What does it mean to live in an HMO?

If you live in an HMO your landlord has to meet extra responsibilities which are in addition to their repair responsibilities. These are on:

fire and general safety – mainly the provision of properly working smoke and/or heat detectors with alarms and a safe means of escape in case of fire
water supply and drainage – these cannot be unreasonably interrupted and must be kept clean and in good repair
gas and electricity – appliances and installations must be safe, which includes arranging an annual gas safety check and having electrical installations checked at least every five years
communal areas – such as staircases, halls, corridors and entrances, must be kept in good decorative repair, clean and reasonably free from obstructions
waste disposal – there must be enough bins for rubbish and adequate means of disposing of rubbish
living accommodation – the living accommodation and any furniture supplied must be clean and in good repair.

What if your landlord isn’t meeting these standards?

If your landlord isn’t meeting these standards you could try and speak to them about it. If they don’t do anything, you could contact the local authority. It can carry out an inspection and can take enforcement action if the property:

poses a risk to your health and safety
is poorly managed
is unsuitable for the number of people who live there
should be licensed but is not.

Before deciding what to do you should check what type of tenancy you have. Many students in private rented accommodation have assured shorthold tenancies and as long as your landlord follows the proper legal process, you can be evicted quite easily.

Licensing of HMOs

Some HMOs need a licence. Licences are granted by the local authority which also has a duty to keep a register of all HMO licences in its area. The local authority can help you if you want to know if an HMO is licensed.

Which HMOs need a licence?

All larger HMOs must be licensed and this is called mandatory licensing. A HMO needs a licence if it has:

three storeys or more, and
is occupied by five or more people who form two or more households.

There is also additional licensing. This is where a local authority extends licensing to other types of HMO in its area. You can check with your local authority to see if any such conditions apply to where you live.

Before granting a licence the local authority must be satisfied that the property is suitable for a certain maximum number of people to live there, the person holding the licence and the person managing the HMO are fit and proper persons, and, the property is managed properly.

What happens if your landlord doesn’t have a licence?

If your landlord doesn’t have a licence, hasn’t applied for one or has not been temporarily exempted from licensing, then:

they can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000
they cannot serve a section 21 notice (under the Housing Act 1988), which is the start of a legal process to evict an assured shorthold tenant
you may be able to reclaim up to twelve months’ worth of rent that you paid during the time that the HMO wasn’t licensed. This is called a rent repayment order and an application should be made to the First-tier Tribunal in England or a Residential Property Tribunal in Wales.

We hope you find this blog useful! If you’re in doubt or need some advice dont hesitate to give us a call on 02475070507 or drop us an email to mail@student-quarters.com  or visit our contact us page here

Your right to quiet enjoyment of your rented student accommodation

In this blog i’m going to quickly run through what rights you have as a tenant to “quiet enjoyment” of your rented student accommodation. I hope it comes in handy!

WHAT ACCESS RIGHTS DOES THE LANDLORD HAVE?
The landlord or agent has the legal right to enter the property at reasonable times of day to carry out the repairs for which the landlord is responsible and to inspect the condition and state of the repair of the property. The Landlord must give 24 hours’ notice in writing of an inspection.

QUIET ENJOYMENT

The tenant has the legal right to live in the property as his or her home. The Landlord must ask the tenant’s permission before entering the premises.

SHOULD THESE RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS BE INCLUDED IN THE TENANCY AGREEMENT?

Statutory responsibilities and rights will apply to you and the tenant even if they are not included in the tenancy agreement.
So from that, it’s clear that tenants are required to have 24 hours notice before the landlord, agent or anyone on behalf of the landlord can enter the premises. However, the tenant must grant permission. The tenant’s right to live in quiet enjoyment is a statutory right. Failing to give tenants that right could lead to landlord prosecution for harassment. Statutory rights cannot be revoked or overwritten. So for example, if your tenancy agreement states that the tenant MUST allow for viewings during the last month of the tenancy, it cannot be legally enforced.

THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE

There is an exception to the rule, as always. Only under a situation that can be deemed as an “emergency” may the Landlord enter without permission. This will include situations like a burst pipe or fire.

LEGAL ADVICE

If you require legal advice on the matter, I highly recommend clicking here to contact your local Citizens Advice bureau for free legal advice!

If you need further help you’re always welcome to call or email us to discuss anything stated on our blogs! We currently let student accommodation in Coventry and manage a wide variety of properties.

Disclaimer: This blog was not written by a qualified lawyer. Any advice I given is based on my experience. We will always recommend you seek legal or professional advice on any legal matters.

TV Licensing – To pay or not to pay, that is the question…

As you may be aware, TV licencing laws changed on 1st September 2016! As before, anyone watching or recording TV programmes as they are broadcast must have a licence, so whats changed?

Previously, only viewers who were watching shows live (as they were being broadcast) needed a licence. That meant it was legal to watch content after broadcast via iPlayer without paying the annual licence fee. From now on, you’ll need a TV licence to download or watch almost all on-demand and catch-up programmes on iPlayer.

These rules only apply to iPlayer, so you do not need a TV licence if you only ever watch on-demand or catch-up programmes through other service providers – as long as they don’t use iPlayer.

What about Students?

In certain circumstances, students may be covered by their parents’ TV licence. TV Licensing says four conditions need to apply:
1. The student only ever uses a device that is powered by its internal batteries (e.g. a laptop, mobile phone or tablet device) to watch live TV or watch and download programmes on iPlayer
2. They have not connected it to an aerial or plugged it into the mains
3. Their permanent address (outside term time) is their parents’ home
4. Their parents have a valid TV licence

So if you plug your device in to charge it while you are watching live TV, or catch-up or on-demand programmes on iPlayer, then you need a TV licence. Students can find out more by visiting the TV Licensing Student webpage HEREor by calling 0300 790 6113.

If you need a licence and do not have one, you are breaking the law and risk being prosecuted.
You could be fined up to £1,000 – excluding any legal costs or compensation you may be ordered to pay.