Frequently Asked Questions by Students (Sunderland & Newcastle) -

Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q) by Students

Read the answers to the most common questions we are asked about our student accommodation. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions about student accommodation, or if you need support or advice.

1. I am not part of a group can I still rent your property?
Yes you can. Renting with Graysons Properties you do not need to be part of a group of friends. We have individual and couple studios available and we can also accommodate you in a shared flat. Most of our student flats have double en-suite bedrooms.

2. How long is the contract?
At Graysons Properties our standard student contracts are 51 weeks in Sunderland and 52 weeks in Newcastle. However, we can offer terms to suit your needs and this is considered on a individual basis.

3. I have asked for a shorter contract and why am I having to pay a higher weekly rent?
The headline rent for our student flats and houses is calculated based on a 51 contract in Sunderland and a 52 week contract in Newcastle. We can offer some discounts on total rent for shorter contracts however the savings will primarily represent potential savings in utility bills for the period you are not in the property. The same price as the headline rental amounts can not be offered for shorter contracts because there are certain expenses for the landlord continues to incur regardless of the contract length. Such additional expenses for the landlord includes – Council Tax and Management fees.

4. What are the fees?
All student tenants pay a Reservation Fee of £150 inc VAT. The fee is non-refundable and covers the cost of tenancy set-up, reference and guarantor checks.

5. What is a guarantor?
If a tenant is not fully approved by the referencing process, they can ask a guarantor to support them. A guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) will agree to take joint responsibility for the rent for the property if the tenant fails to. Guarantors are required to pay any rent arrears (if the tenant does not pay) and for any damages. If you can provide a guarantor then you are not required to pay a deposit.

6. Who is a suitable guarantor?
A guarantor needs to go through the same referencing process as a tenant. The normal requirement is that they are employed and a UK resident, with sufficient earnings to cover the tenant’s rental commitment. To be a guarantor, your monthly net income needs to be three times the monthly rent of the tenant. So, if the rent is £300 per calendar month, you’d need to earn £900 a month. Bad credit records or temporary employment, unfortunately, rule you out as a guarantor. At Graysons Properties we can accept UK based home owners as guarantors.

7. Why do I need to be referenced?
The landlord needs to be sure that that their tenant won’t have any problems paying the rent on a monthly basis and that the tenant will take good care of their property.

8. What does referencing involve?
Referencing is nothing to worry about. Tenants applying to rent need to give details of their employer and income, their previous address, and some bank account details. These will be checked to ensure they are able to commit to monthly rental payments.

9. What if there are problems with my referencing?
In some circumstances, a tenant may not be approved immediately via referencing. Obvious examples are students without a regular income, or someone leaving their family home for the first time with no renting history. This is not uncommon, and there are still options for tenants in this position. They could pay the rent for the full term up front, pay a deposit or seek out a guarantor.

10. Do your rents include all the bills?
Most of our student properties are provided on a fully inclusive basis. This means that your weekly rent will include – Gas, Electric, Water rates, Broadband, a Sky Package (only on some properties), Routine Cleaning, and a TV license for Communal areas. It is your responsibility to ensure that as a student you are exempt from council tax. If you are not exempt from the council tax then you will be required to cover the full council tax payments for your stay. If you are unable to afford the council tax payment, Graysons Properties can cover the cost for you and add this onto your weekly rent (for students only).

11. Why do I have to pay a deposit?
The landlord trusts the tenant to keep the property in a good condition and in good order. The deposit is held to ensure that any damages (over and above fair wear and tear) can be corrected at the end of the tenancy.

12. When do I pay the deposit?
At Graysons Properties we would request a property holding fee equivalent to your tenancy deposit at the time of signing your contract. This will then be converted into a property deposit when you move in. At Graysons Properties our standard deposit for students is £350. If you have a suitable guarantor there will be no deposit to pay.

13. What will happen to my deposit?
Landlords and letting agents are required to register your deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Graysons Properties landlords register their deposits with a scheme such as TDS. The deposit is then held by the landlord. You should receive details of the scheme, explaining where the deposit is held. The certificate is uploaded onto the Graysons App which you will have access to when you become a tenant of ours.

14. When can I get my deposit back?
The landlord should pay your deposit back within 10 days of your request for the deposit to be returned. A tenant cannot request the return of their deposit before the tenancy ends.

15. What if I Accidentally cause damage to the property?
Don’t worry – accidents happen. Tell whoever is responsible for the property maintenance (either the landlord or letting agent) as soon as possible. You should upload the information on the Graysons App. You will be expected to cover the cost of putting it right. Don’t try to ignore or hide damage because it could get worse, and it will only come out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. If damage occurs throughout the tenancy, at Graysons Properties, we will raise invoices immediately so that you are fully aware of what will be deducted from your deposit on move out. If you have no deposit then you will be required to pay for the damages.

16. What is a routine inspection visit?
Your landlord or letting agent will regularly schedule visits to the property. They want to make sure that the property is being looked after and maintained in a good condition, and they’ll be looking for any maintenance issues. For student properties we will undertake inspections every 6 weeks. This may be more frequent if we have any concerns.

17. When can the landlord enter my property?
A landlord has to give the tenant notice before entering the property, unless it’s an emergency. We will provide notifications via our App when access is required in the property.

18. What is a tenancy agreement?
A tenancy agreement is a contract signed by both the tenant and the landlord. It outlines all the rules to which both parties must comply.

19. What happens if I want to end my tenancy early?
You are contractually liable for the whole fixed term of the tenancy. However if your Landlord grants you permission to leave early based on the understanding that a new tenant would have to be found to replace you; you would be liable for the Agents re-marketing costs and all terms within your tenancy, including the rent until a new tenancy has been granted.

20. I don’t want to move into the property, can I cancel?
If you have signed a tenancy agreement, you are legally bound by it. However, there are some options: you might be able to find another tenant. Until you have found a replacement you are responsible for the rent payments. Please be absolutely sure you want to rent the property before you sign the tenancy agreement to avoid any difficulties. At Graysons Properties all our Tenants sign Individual Contracts, which means that you are only responsible for your own rent and not your housemates. Some landlords will sign Joint and Several tenancy agreements, which means that all tenants are responsible for the total rent for the property.

21. How do I pay my rent?
Your rent payments are always paid in advance on a fixed day each month, usually the same day your tenancy started.
Most tenants pay rent by monthly standing order. A standing order is simply a written instruction from you to your bank, stating how much, how often and for how long a certain amount of money needs to be paid from your bank to our bank or the landlord’s account. It is your responsibility to ensure the standing order is set up. Just because you have a standing order in place it doesn’t automatically mean that the money arrives on time.

22. What if I can’t pay my rent?
It is always your responsibility to pay the rent, but circumstances change. What happens if you become unemployed or are unable to work due to sickness? The most important thing is not to let arrears pile up until they’re unmanageable. Speak to your landlord or letting agent and see if you can reschedule your payments.

23. How does being a international student affect my rent payments?
If you cannot provide a UK based guarantor, you must pay rent in advance. At Graysons Properties we require you to pay the total rent over 3 payments. First instalment is due 2 months before move in, Second instalment is at Christmas and third instalment is on the 1st March.

24. Do I have to pay council tax?
Full time students are exempt from council tax. You will need to provide proof that you’re in full-time education, which you can usually get from your University administration departments. If you are working check with Newcastle and Sunderland City Council to see if you qualify for any exemptions or reductions. If is your responsibly to inform the council of your tenancy.

25. Can I have a pet?
First and foremost you must seek permission from the Landlord/Agent before allowing a pet on the premises. If permission is granted; you will have to provide details of your pet and sign a pet addendum which stipulates at the end of the tenancy; you must have all furnishings and carpets professionally cleaned and fumigated by a professional approved company. Any loss or damage occurred during the tenancy due to any pet will be the responsibility of the tenant to rectify accordingly.

26. Is the landlord responsible for supplying a vacuum cleaner? No the Landlord is not legally obliged to provide a vacuum cleaner. However most of our student houses receive complimentary cleaning. You are expected to keep the property clean in between the complimentary cleaning.

27. What is involved in the Check-In? On move in Gaysons Properties undertakes a Inventory. This is a report which highlights the current condition of your property. This is the process whereby the tenants are shown around the property to check that the observations recorded in the property inventory match the property’s actual condition. It provides an opportunity for the tenants to note any discrepancies in the report, allowing them to request changes. The tenants should sign and date the document to confirm they’ve checked the property inventory and agree that it’s a true record of the property’s condition as at the beginning of the tenancy. Graysons Properties provides their tenants with up to 14 days to make any amendments to the inventory.

28. What happens on a Check out and why is it important?
Similar to a check in, only this happens at the end of the tenancy. When the new observations have been recorded, they will be compared with the content in the original property inventory. This helps establish whether any damages or alterations have been caused by the tenants, and whose responsibility it is to rectify them. The report should also be signed and dated by the tenants. A Check out provides the opportunity for the tenant to try and protect their deposit return.

29. If I leave before my housemate, am I still responsible for the state of the property when the tenancy ends?
No. With Graysons Properties you are signed on individual tenancies which means that when you have undertaken a check out you are no longer responsible for the state of the property even if your friends still remain in the property. If you are in joint and several tenancies, it means you are all responsible for the state and condition of the property when you leave.

30. Does the landlord supply Kettle, Microwave and toaster?
No. Graysons Properties do not provide these items. The main reason for this is for hygiene purposes.

31. Are we responsible for changing batteries in smoke alarms?
No. Report any issues on the Graysons App and one of our maintenance team will attend to change the batteries.

32. Are we responsible for changing light bulbs?
If you reside in a property where your bills are included then the landlord will arrange for changing the bulbs. If your rent is exclusive of bills then we would recommend that you change the bulbs, however, if you do not feel confident then please report it on the Graysons App. The maintenance team will arrange to change the bulb on a routine visit. On occasions there may be a charge for this but as long as there is a replacement bulb present and it is changed on a routine visit then we do not charge for this service.

33. Will our bedroom doors have locks?
All our bedrooms have their own locks. Either with master key or key cards.

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