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Your Housing Questions Answered

                                                 UTILITY BILLS

For Gas, Water and Electricity it is easiest to divide the bill equally but with the Telephone bill (if applicable), it is best to get an itemised bill to pay for individual calls, and sharing the line rental.

One of the biggest worries about sharing bills is that somehow you will end up paying for more than your share. If your name is the only one on the bill, then you may find yourself in the position where everyone has left at the end of the year, leaving you to pay the final bill.

If you are the only name on the bill, then you can be liable for the whole amount. However, you may be able to prove there were other ‘beneficial users’ who should be equally liable for their share. Utility companies can often be more open to accepting this if you offer them your share of the bill first.

Water Rates: Unless the Landlord has specified in the contract that they will pay the water rates, you will be liable to pay for the full duration of your tenancy.

Council Tax: There will be no Council Tax charge where full time students only occupy a house. There are specific rules governing who is classed as a full-time student. If you feel that you belong to this group but the council disagrees, seek advice. If you are liable for the council tax you can check the band.

Gas and Electricity: These are usually billed quarterly but there are alternative methods of payment. You can pay by monthly direct debit (usually the cheapest rate), a budget scheme where you have a payment book / card or, if the Landlord is agreeable, you can ask to have a token / card meter fitted. These meters are free to have installed but do attract a slightly higher standing charge.

                                   MOVING IN/OUT PROCEDURES

MOVING IN: Notify all the relevant companies that you have taken up occupation and for Gas and Electricity, you should read the meter on the day you move in, telephone the supplier with the reading and check the reading against your first bill. If you live in a shared house it is always best to have all occupants names on the bill or you may end up personally liable for the debt.

MOVING OUT: Please ensure you notify all utility companies with final meter readings. The landlord/agent may want to see a copy of these before your deposit is released. Please ensure the bills are then changed into the appropriate names for the next tenants or managing agent.

                                                  INVENTORIES

On Managed properties Cardiff Student Letting will carry out an inventory and a copy should be handed to you before the commencement of the tenancy for you to check on moving in. You have seven days to point out any discrepancies, which is vital as you may be charged for any discrepancies not noted on the inventory.

On find Tenant only properties the landlord will give you an inventory at the start of the tenancy.

                                             QUIET ENJOYMENT

All tenants have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ i.e. the right to treat the property as your home. It is a criminal offence for the owner/ agent to remove this right. The property is of course still owned by him/her and s/he has the right to inspect the premises from time to time. This MUST be done with your consent, at reasonable hours and with at least 24 hours notice in writing. Having a key and letting her/himself in at odd times and without your permission would almost certainly constitute harassment. Provided that a guest does not take up residence, your owner/agent CANNOT dictate who comes to see you or at what time they should leave.

                                         CAN I CHANGE MY MIND?

Your tenancy is a legally binding agreement and for a fixed term. The landlord is under no obligation to release you from the tenancy should you change your mind. You will remain liable for the rent even if you never move in.

However in certain circumstances your landlord may agree to release you from the tenancy but only if and when you find a replacement tenant. Only once all tenants have signed the revised agreement and the new replacement tenant has paid the deposit, rent, signed the tenancy and returned the guarantor form will you be released from your original agreement.

If your landlord does agree and you find a suitable replacement, we can draw up the revised agreement. You as the outgoing tenant will be liable for this cost which is £75 plus VAT.