Housing Rights

Finding the right accommodation and being happy in it, will have a huge impact on your University experience and academic study.

While the reputation of private rental is that it is a minefield, there is in fact a lot of legislation that give rights to tenants and new powers for councils to ensure that rogue landlords are a thing of the past.

  • Rights relevant for you

    Tenant fee Act

    From 1 June 2019 the Tenant Fees Act came into force which saw the banning of all tenant fees charged by agents and landlords except 'permitted’ fees. In addition to rent, these permitted fees include:

    • Tenancy Deposits must not exceed the equivalent of five weeks' rent (six week cap if annual rent exceeds £50,000).

    • Holding Deposits will be capped at one week’s rent.

    • Early termination fees

    • A cap of £50 for changes to a tenancy unless the landlord can evidence a greater cost.

    • A change or early termination of a tenancy requested by a tenant.

    • Council Tax, utilities and communication service.

    • Tenant defaults such as replacement of lost keys

    • Late rent payment (not exceeding 3% above the bank of England base rate).

    An additional guide from trading standards is available if you want more information.

    Written agreement

    If you don’t have a written agreement you have the right to ask for a written statement of the date the tenancy began, the amount of rent payable, the dates on which it should be paid, the length of any fixed term, and any rent review arrangements. A landlord who fails to provide a statement of the tenancy terms within 28 days of a written request is committing a criminal offence and could be prosecuted and fined. Make sure the agreement you sign is quite recent, given current legislation means new editions are printed regularly; which will have the correct wording to protect both you and the landlord.

    When you move in your landlord needs to provide you with a number of documents. If they can’t prove that you had these they lose their right to serve you a section 21 notice.

    Landlords now need to provide the following at the outset of a tenancy:

    • Latest version of the government’s How to rent: The checklist for renting in England

    • Confirmation that your deposit has been protected along with the prescribed information for the deposit scheme

    • Up to date Gas Safety Certificate

    • Valid Energy Performance Certificate

    • Electrical Safety Certificate for new tenancies created from 1 July 2020 and all tenancies from 1 April 2021

    • Privacy notice in line with GDPR

    • Valid HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) licence, if applicable

  • Postgraduate and mature students

    The majority of our housing advice is aimed at undergraduate students and while much of this is relevant for all students, we recognise that our postgraduate and mature student’s accommodation concerns can be a little different.

    Often 11 month long specific student contracts are not what you are looking for and instead would prefer a standard rental agreement with a 6 or 12 month fixed term which become periodic thereafter, continuing on a month by month rolling contract.

    Or we see more of our postgraduate or mature students as homeowners or have children so will need bigger properties.

    If you are a student carer you may find it useful to look at our Student carer pages. (Link)

  • Your Housing rights and Covid

    Legal obligations continue as normal during the Covid crisis.

    What that means for Tenants-

    • You continue to be liable for the rent. If we are in the unfortunate situation of another lockdown or you are unable to come to Exeter you will still be liable to pay the rent for the agreed term

    What that means for Landlords

    • They are still responsible for providing the safe standards such as Gas certificate.

    The only exception to this, is if tenants are self-isolating and unwilling to all access. Or if 3 contractors have been contacted to attend and all decline.

    Tips for finding the right accommodation

    • Take your time

    • Considers options about what is best for you.

    • Think about your budget

    • Consider where you want to live and think about options

    • Read the contract and make sure you understand what you are signing

    • Never sign anything or give any money without seeing the property

    • Use our what to look for when viewing a house guide

    • If you are feeling forced into taking a contract you can say no.

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