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Housing Advice - During the tenancy
Paying the billsAll residents are jointly responsible for paying utility bills. Some landlords insist that you do not switch utility companies. Please check before doing so and be aware of utility companies who try to persuade you to switch bills.
It is advisable to inform utility companies of the date you intend to move in to your property, and again when you move out. Make a note of your meter readings on the day you move in and on the day that you move out to avoid paying for the previous tenant’s bills.
Consider this
  • Will you all pay the utility companies individually or will bills be split evenly?
  • How will you let each other know when the bill arrives and who needs to pay what?
 
Council tax
What is council tax?It is a tax placed on domestic properties, which is collected by local authorities. The amount of council tax charged is dependent on the size of the property. Larger properties will therefore pay a higher tax rate.
Council tax exemptionProperties which are only inhabited by full-time students are exempt from paying council tax. This means that you will not have to pay council tax if all the residents in your property are full-time students.
You will need to obtain a council tax exemption letter from the Student Hub (Level 3, Sherfield Building). Along with this, you will need a copy of your tenancy agreement, which will need to be submitted (usually online) to the appropriate local council. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
Similarly, all persons stated on the tenancy agreement will need to apply for the same council tax exemption certificate.
If you live with someone who is in full-time employment and not studying, then council tax will be imposed on the property. You may be asked to pay a percentage of the cost.
Remember, you are responsible for proving you are exempt from paying council tax.
 
RepairsLandlord responsibilities:
  • Heating and hot water supply
  • Basins, sinks, baths and toilets
  • Structure of the property, windows, external doors, drains and gutters
  • Gas appliances and fixed electrical installations
Tenant's responsibilities:
  • Report repair issues to landlord or agent
  • Change light bulbs
  • Test smoke alarms and provide batteries for them
  • Keep the property clean
 
Getting on with housemates
CleaningEach tenant should do an equal share of the cleaning and other household chores. Some tenants are cleaner and tidier than others and some may have very different lifestyles to you. It is usual for people to feel like someone else is not ‘pulling their weight’ or even being too ‘picky’.
Friendship, fall outs and personality clashes It is not unusual for people in a household to find that friendships can deteriorate. This can be particularly problematic during exams when emotions can be high and tempers short! Misunderstandings are more likely to happen when communication is solely through messaging; try to meet in person and perhaps hold regular house socials to spend time together and discuss issues face to face.
Tips for house sharingTry to clean up after yourself. For example, a light clean of a bath after it has been used prevents it getting to the state where everybody refuses to touch it! Equally, washing up shortly after you have cooked and eaten, prevents a mountain of dishes that no one wants to tackle.
Respect your neighboursBe considerate towards the people you live with and to members of your local community. People may have very different expectations of how they wish to live. They might be working as well as studying or may have small children or families to support. Most noise problems can be resolved by communicating effectively about how the noise is making you feel.
Warn your housemates and neighbours if you are going to make unavoidable noise, for example, having friends round. It’s considerate to inform them face-to-face, giving them plenty of notice and a number they can contact you on.
Be aware of others when returning home late at night, close doors quietly, remove shoes, and refrain from playing music and from shouting to each other.

Student Hub, Imperial College, London, Level 3, Sherfield Building, London, SW7 2AZ
Tel: 020 7594 9444, Email: student.hub@imperial.ac.uk

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