Tips For Tenants

Here we give a list of helpful info mainly aimed at tenants who are about to move in, and those who are already living in one of our homes.

CONTACTING

We are “open” 9:00am to 7:00pm every day. Please only contact within these hours. WhatsApp is the best way to contact initially. Feel free to phone if the subject needs some discussion. If a problem has arisen a photo or video can sometimes be helpful to assist in getting it sorted as quickly as possible for you.

For repairs we will set up a WhatsApp Group for each house. That way if you report anything needing attention then everyone in house knows you’ve done that automatically. Also, when we respond everyone knows what’s happening and when to expect us at the house.

We are always very friendly and approachable so never hesitate to make contact if you feel there is a need!

We are generally around in the area on Thursdays so good days to tell us of non-urgent items is Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays so we can bring any tools or parts required. Friday is a very bad day with no visits planned and a weekend when few tradespeople are available.

Also, if you haven’t already told us which person is having which room we need to know that asap so send that over on the WhatsApp Group please!

It is essential that if you change your phone no. and/or email for whatever reason you must let me know immediately. Thank you!

PARKING

If you require it, it is a very good idea to sort out parking permits BEFORE you move in or else you or family /friends visitors could be fined as there is very little free parking in the area. Permits are sold by Nottm City Council at £100pa. Go to Nottm City Council’s residents parking page, now follow STUDENT parking instructions. Take care to choose the type you want, there are two for students - one is for a specific car that you intend to keep at the house, the other is a visitor permit.

No9 has its own driveway but for all other houses we will refund the cost of one Student Parking Permit (of either type) per house if you send us the “paid” receipt from Nottm City Council. Request the permit to be sent to the tenancy house please, as we may wish to use it during the summer period before you arrive, to assist contractors doing improvement works for us. It will be waiting for you on the Noticeboard when you arrive. When not in use, if you have chosen a Visitor permit (that’s one not for a specific vehicle) you must keep the permit on the kitchen noticeboard so it is available for everyone in the house and contractors to use if needed. https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/studentpermit

The council can take up to one month to process an application. You will need to send a copy of our signed Tenancy Agreement to them. You should have this electronically already from us. They also say they need your Motor Insurance Policy, even when you want just a Visitor Pass, this clearly makes no sense, and I know they do not enforce it, so ignore that request! You will need it if you want a specific-vehicle Student Residents Permit of course.

Remember the Highway Code says if you are merely actively unloading or loading a vehicle it is quite legal to be on double yellow lines. They ban parking, not loading.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

There are a number of important documents associated with tenancies. Here we list where these are to be found:

  • The Tenancy Agreement we all signed should be kept with you at all times. You should already have your copy of this, we sent everyone a signed copy after it was completed. Usually around Oct/Nov time.
  • The Government’s How To Rent Guide can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/942503/6.6642_MHCLG_How_to_Rent_v5.pdf
  • The Energy Performance Certificate for all of our houses are to be found on the government website but we keep a photograph on the Gallery page of our own website.
  • The Gas Safety Certificate (where there is gas in the house) is to be found in a photo frame in the hallway.
  • The EICR (Electrical Inspection Condition Report) for each house we hold in our files and available to view upon request.
  • The Smoke 7 Heat Detector Test Certificate for each house we hold in our files and available to view upon request.
  • PAT test certificates (Portable Appliance Test) where required under Licensing rules are held in our files and available to view upon request.

SECURITY

When going out please always lock up the house, both your room and most importantly the external door(s)! Please shut all windows & definitely ground floor ones. Don’t “advertise” your valuables. Leave a radio on. Leave a light on if dark. Use the alarm if no one is left in the house.

The alarm code for your house is given to the first tenant to arrive.

To set the alarm (do so of course only If there is no one else left in the house when you go out), simply punch this no. into the keypad followed by the “Full” button. It will beep then arm after c45 seconds. On your return to the house just punch in that same no. only, it will then de-activate.

STORAGE OF POSSESSIONS

If you want to move-in later on, but you want to store your possessions from a date on/after 1 August, that is fine. Just contact 2-3 weeks beforehand, to arrange a mutually convenient date to access the house.

If you need to move-in just your possessions, at an earlier date than 1 August, in other words before your tenancy begins, you could try asking the existing tenants if they wouldn't mind you storing things whilst they are still there, but this is, of course, entirely at their discretion. Sometimes folk agree a small payment between themselves for this purpose.

All possessions, at all times, are left at your own risk.

Be aware there will be quite a few visitors to the house around changeover date, previous tenant’s family/friends, electricians, repair people, us, decorators, cleaners etc, so best not leave anything too valuable.

BEDS and BEDDING IN THE HOUSE

All our bedrooms are fully furnished and come with a standard sized DOUBLE bed (4’6” or c134cm). They also come equipped with a quality, hotel-grade mattress. On top of the mattress is a mattress protector. This will be either freshly laundered or be brand new. Please keep this on the bed throughout your stay, and leave it on when you depart. If absent these are charged to you at cost price of £10 each.

You therefore need to bring a bottom sheet, duvet, & duvet cover, to fit this standard “double” size along with pillows and pillowcases to suit.

BLU TAC & WHITE TAC

This is the cause of much landlord/tenant dispute as it damages wall finishes either pulling off emulsion and/or plaster or by leeching out oil which means the mark it leaves cannot be simply overpainted. That means it needs StainBloc applying, then a drying delay, meaning then another return visit to emulsion over, that’s quite a lot of work.

So sadly, we have to say please do not use it.

The best alternative we have found is called Command Strips, not perfect but much better.

Please minimise use of any wall fixings, none are good. Damage to walls is charged typically at £30 per patch.

CROCKERY & KITCHENWARE etc

We do not supply any crockery, cutlery, pans, toaster etc so you will need to supply your own. We do however sometimes get left these items at the end of the year and we leave them in the kitchen cupboards for your potential use. If you don’t wish to use them please just throw them away straight away, don’t retain them.

We do supply a microwave oven and a kettle and an ironing board.

ON ARRIVAL – WATER SAFETY

All our houses have conventional domestic water systems installed but as the house may have stood empty for a few weeks before you arrive, we strongly recommend you run all taps and especially showers for 5 mins before using the water just in case of any bacterial build up in the pipework in this period.

After that all is normal but best repeat the process after any extended Xmas or Easter void period if you go away.

We also recommend you ensure your shower heads are kept clean throughout your period of stay. This is your responsibility not ours

FIRE SAFETY

We have all fire detection equipment tested annually in August and certified (available on request). You too should do a regular monthly check that the detectors are still working throughout the year. Simply press and hold the test button on each smoke/heat detector in the house & that should activate the alarm. Keep it held down for 3 rings then after you should hear that it has automatically activated the other alarms in the system too.

Following a couple of “close shaves” we have regrettably had to ban all candles/naked-flame devices from all our houses. Sorry to be spoil-sports but the consequences of a fire are potentially catastrophic for all, so let’s not chance it.

Do not wedge open doors with closers on them, particularly kitchens which are the primary source of most fires.

We require that as a minimum you ensure ALL doors are closed at night & DEFINITELY kitchen doors.

DUSTBINS & RUBBISH

It is very important to separate your waste or else the council may refuse to take your bin. What goes in which is printed on the bins.

The brown bin is for recycling, green bin for general waste. Make sure the right bin goes out every week (the green and the brown bins are collected on alternate weeks) the night before (earliest 4pm) the correct day (Thursdays for all houses except 11 &19 which are Fridays) and brought back in asap.

Bins left out beyond pick-up day are subject to fines by the council, which they do enforce. Also bins have a habit of disappearing if left out too long. Replacement cost £20 and is your responsibility not ours!

Also never overfill bins, the lid must sit flat or again they probably won’t take it. Finally, do not put recycled items in bags within the recycling bin, they must ALL go in loose or again they won’t take the bin.

If you do miss a bin collection, all is not lost! Go to Nottm City Council website and search for “missed bin” and if it is within 2 days of the official day you can request for them to come and empty your bin. It is possible at some point you may have a bulky item (that won’t fit in a bin) for collection, again the council can be asked to do this for you from their website. Do not let any unwanted items sit in the garden longer than 7 days maximum say the Council.

If you let waste accumulate in the garden because you are not properly using the bin service and we deem it a health hazard, we will charge the cost & our admin time to have it professionally removed by a Licenced Waste Carrier to all tenants in the house equally. This will be expensive so please don’t miss any bin collections! The council produce a very handy “Bin Calendar”, this tells you which bin goes out each week throughout the year. We suggest you visit their website and print one off https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/binreminders

CLEANING THE HOUSE

How clean & tidy you keep the house whilst you live there is up to you BUT remember:

1. It must be returned as you found it.

2. It is much more pleasant living somewhere neat, tidy and clean. Sort rotas between occupiers for domestic tasks, is our advice.

3. We will charge you the real cost of disposing of ALL items left. As a guide that’s often around £8 per bin-bag left at the end of the tenancy so DO NOT let rubbish accumulate during the year.

4. For the period of our “letting season” only (usually mid Oct to mid Nov) then we insist on it looking it’s best please. This is in your interests too. We will just keep calling round with interested prospective tenant groups until it is let. If is neat, chances are we will let it after just 1 or 2 visits. If it’s scruffy it will take many more. It really DOES make all the difference! So, to minimise the disruption caused by our visits, please get it at its best for this period. We will give you the critical start date closer to the time.

BROADBAND INTERNET

This is a Business grade service from Virgin supplying at a nominal 350mb/sec. Way faster than most other suppliers.

The password for the broadband is printed on the back of the Virgin Super-hub router usually located near the TV. If you experience any problems, we have attached a help sheet to the router and as it says, always speak to Virgin, not us, we cannot help you in this area and you must be present in the house when you contact them. We will always ensure the account is paid up to date, and therefore Virgin are contractually obliged to supply you the service. It’s free to call them on 0800 064 3836. Explain you are the tenant.

GARDENING

Your rent is fully inclusive of gardening, so you don’t need to worry about this. The work is done by Irek for us. He holds keys to the garden gates. The basis of his working is he will simply arrive unannounced at a time to suit him!

So please don’t be alarmed if you see him working in the garden. Feel free to check it is Irek of course if you wish, his English is not great though so please be clear short and patient if you speak to him. He sometimes does other jobs for us too.

When you arrive the garden might not be as tidy as we would like but that’s because all resources are occupied in August getting the houses ready. Irek will be all over it in the coming weeks!

DAMPNESS & CONDENSATION

To keep this to a minimum: Avoid drying clothes in your bedroom. Always keep bathroom doors shut during & after showering.

APPLIANCES

Most of the appliances are self-explanatory in how they operate, but if you are in any doubt, just look up the instruction manual for the make and model online. We 0always ensure OVENS are properly cleaned over the summer.

During the year though, you must keep them clean. It is very important from a hygiene point of view but even more importantly from a fire safety point of view. Food debris can build up and at high temperatures become flammable. So we recommend you do a monthly clean. The “boxed” oven cleaner kits are best in our experience at c £3.00 and quite easy to work with if you follow the instructions. Try Wilko.

LIGHTBULBS

We pride ourselves on being very green. ALL our bulbs are LED or compact fluorescent type. Bulb replacement is your responsibility, IF THE BULB IS AN EXPOSED ONE. Should any fail you must replace with one of these two types. If you don’t we will charge you for new bulbs of this type.

We recommend you firstly try Poundland for LED bulbs! If no good then Wilko, Bargain Buys, Tesco or Aldi. If you are struggling with what to buy or how to change the bulb please contact. Take the old bulb with you to ensure you get a proper match as they come in many shapes sizes wattages etc. Mostly ours are of the “bayonet” type not “screw” type.

If you are struggling with a bulb change let us now and we will try to help.

LANDLORD’S INSPECTIONS

We are recommended by UNIPOL & City Council to undertake PERIODIC property inspections. This is particularly in respect of Fire Safety. Additionally, the heating systems require re-pressurising fairly frequently to keep them working properly (some more often than others).

We therefore aim to visit AT LEAST every 3-4 months depending which house you occupy, just to check all is well. We will of course give at least 24 hours notice.

MAIL

You will receive a lot of mail for past tenants. If you don’t recognise the name then bin it all as you go please. Do not hoard it, that will just give you a problem at the end of the tenancy period, and it can start to be a fire hazard too.

OUTBUILDINGS (AT 11 & 47 & 152 ONLY)

You will note at these houses there is an outbuilding. This remains in the occupation of ourselves, and it does not form part of your tenancy. We will from time to time visit the outbuilding to get spare parts etc for yours or other properties. Please do not be alarmed if you see us doing this!

HEATING

At all houses (except 47) this is operated by Enviroenergy. It is not gas nor electric it is in fact fuelled by super-heated water created at the local power station by incinerating Nottingham’s waste. Please read the heating instructions at the house in the boiler room on arrival to familiarise yourself with how to operate the hot water and heating. Set the timers to suit your group, see below.

Please note the showers are electric so they do NOT use the hot water in the system (except Beds 4&5 at No1).

As you know, all of your heating costs are included in your rent. So you have nothing to pay (subject to rules below).

You do have one important task (except at 47). You must check the credit balance on the heating controls every 3 weeks or so. When it dips below approx. £30-£40 please contact the suppliers Enviroenergy direct yourself on 0115 955 6677. This is printed on a sticker next to the controls too. Simply say “bills are paid by Direct Debit and you require a top-up of credit on the meter”. They will fix a day/time to pop out and top it up, at no cost to you. If it does run down to zero you may be left without heat & hot water for 2 or 3 days in winter, so please don’t allow this to happen! You dont need to tell us when you do a top up. NB None of the above is applicable at No47.

Fair Use

Note that unlike nearly all other landlords we have no fair use £ limit as such on the heating you use. But, please bear in mind the following for the sake not only of our costs, but also the carbon emissions for the planet, and not least so you don’t overheat the house making it uncomfortably hot. Ours are all very well insulated properties and we get more complaints that people are too hot than too cold!

We will take action to recover some heating costs from you via the deposit if we note either:

The heating is on whilst the windows are left open when it is very cold outside. OR

The heating control is set to the “CONSTANT ON” function. This is completely pointless, and it will overstress the equipment making it far more likely to break down on you. Instead think about, & discuss which time slots in the day/evening will suit your groups’ habits best, and programme the heating controls accordingly using the “TIMED” function. See instructions at the house next to the programmer on how to do it.

ISSUES WITH THE HOUSE & COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE

If you feel unhappy with anything, please make contact. If you do, we will do our very best to try and resolve it with you in an amicable way. In the very rare event that this route should fail then you must make a formal complaint. This must be in writing. We will acknowledge within 3 days and will give you a substantive reply within 14 days again in writing. If not already done, either side may then refer the matter to the independent student housing not-for-profit organisation UNIPOL to seek their view. UNIPOL are officially appointed by Nottm City Council and NTU to oversee housing matters for NTU students. We would expect any recommendations they make to be binding on both parties.

CRIME

We recommend that you visit the local police’s website for specific advice relating to student-related crime:

https://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/document/advice-students

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

I’m sure there is no need to say this but it is a Council recommendation, so just a reminder that you will be living in an area that has people of all ages and backgrounds. Respect others reasonable needs eg don’t play music too loud, come and go quietly to the house especially if late, don’t get involved in illegal drugs, behave responsibly. We reserve the right to get UNIPOL, the Nottm City Council’s Environmental Health team and ultimately the police involved if complaints are received. We also have a powers over your deposits in this regard, and ultimately it can lead to eviction. With the keys we send out a separate sheet at the end produced by Nottm City Council which defines what they see as anti-social behaviour and some guidance on how to avoid it and what to do if you feel you are a victim of it. Please also refer to their website.

NOTTINGHAM CITY COUNCIL’S TAKE ON ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

We’re committed to tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB), hate crime and domestic abuse in our communities, and to being a major player in transforming the quality of life in our neighbourhoods.

We want you to enjoy peace, quiet and security in and around your home. We deal with ASB in a number of ways. Find out more about how we deal with ASB.

ASB includes a wide range of unacceptable behaviour that affects peoples’ quality of life, including:

  • Noise, like loud music or noisy parties
  • Verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour
  • Hate crime
  • Vandalism and damage to property
  • Nuisance vehicle noise
  • Drug misuse and dealing
  • Alcohol related disturbances
  • Domestic abuse or violence
  • Littering, fly-tipping, overgrown gardens or hedges
  • Pet or animal nuisance
  • Misuse of communal areas or public spaces - loitering, prostitution, sexual acts, kerb crawling
  • Criminal behaviour not included above.

Behaviour that we wouldn’t normally class as ASB includes:

  • Household noise due to everyday living (such as babies crying, doors banging, toilets flushing or vacuuming)
  • Children playing
  • One-off parties, barbecues or celebrations at reasonable times
  • Cooking smells
  • DIY in reasonable hours
  • Someone parking lawfully

However, if any of the above are found to be having a harmful impact on a person because they are vulnerable, then we will investigate the matter further.

Reporting ASB

If you are suffering as a result of any kind of ASB, please let us know: Call 0115 746 9555

  • Email us
  • Text REPORTASB followed by your message for FREE to 80800 & make your landlord aware too.

If the incident involves a crime you should report it to the police. In an emergency (property or life is at risk), dial 999. For non-emergencies, dial 101 and then let your Housing Patch Manager know.

Useful links

Victim Support

Nottingham Crime and Drug Partnership

Nottinghamshire Victim Care

LANDLORD PROCEDURE IF YOU ARE ACCUSED OF ASB:

  • Any complaints received will be requested to be put in writing and the matter discussed with the complainant.
  • Your views will then be sought as to the facts and your opinion of the situation. Again to be confirmed in writing.
  • If it is a lower level nuisance, then we will attempt to mediate between the parties to agree a way forward and if this is possible the agreement will be signed by all parties.
  • If this is not possible or If the situation warrants it (in our opinion) then the matter may be referred to the police, or Nottm City Council EHO team or UNIPOL as we deem appropriate.
  • If it is of severe severity or it persists we may move to eviction procedures
  • We will keep all correspondence and our own notes on how the matter was progressed and resolved for up to 5 years.