Contained in this FAQ are general answers to some of the questions we have been asked in the past. It is not intended to be comprehensive or legally binding on either party.
In the event of any conflict, your signed tenancy with us will be the governing agreement.
When does the letting period begin?
The letting season beginning in 2012, or put another way, for the 2013/14 academic year begins on Monday 12th November 2012. You can book a viewing from 1st November however properties cannot be shown until 12th November at the earliest (current 2012/13 tenants, can book viewings for Monday 5th November). The earlier you start looking, the more chance you have of finding your perfect house for next year. Although we don’t stop showing houses until our last property is let, our lettings statistics from last year show that 83% of our properties had let before Christmas.
How do I arrange a property viewing?
Arranging a property viewing is simple. You can either pop into the office or call us on 0151 733 3388 and we will be happy to help. Viewings must be booked in at least 24 hours in advance so we can give notice to our current tenants.
Can I view more than one property?
Yes. If you would like to view several houses, we will happily show you around a maximum of four properties in a one hour slot.
How long will it take?
One property viewing will take a maximum of 20 minutes, but usually takes a little less. We aim to show up to 4 properties within one hour.
I haven’t got a car, will this affect how many properties I can view in my one hour slot?
Most of our houses are within walking distance of each other and the office and we will endeavour to show you properties that are closer together to save time.
What if I cannot make my appointment to view the property?
We ask that you try and give at least 24 hours notice to cancel your appointment (so that we can offer your time slot to another group of potential tenants).
If we want to take the property, what do we do next?
Once you have found the perfect property, you can only secure this property with a holding deposit. Deposits are £175 each, however you can secure a property with just one deposit for a maximum of 7 days. The remaning deposits are required within this 7 day period to guarantee the property. If we do not receive the remaining £175 deposits from prospective tenants within 7 days of the first deposit being paid, the property will be placed back onto the market and made available for viewings. In addition, any payments made towards the deposit in these 7 days will be forfeited and will not be returned.
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When does the tenancy begin?
The Tenancy will begin on the 1st July in the year you wish to take up residence. From this date, you are able to collect your keys. We charge half rent for the months of July and August, however if you pick the keys up during this time (before 1st September) your rent will return to full rent, charged on a daily basis for the time you are there. We sign all of our keys out so that we have a record of who collected keys and how long they had them. From 1st September, you are free to take the keys on a permanent basis as the rent will have returned to full rent for everyone.
How long is the tenancy agreement?
The tenancy agreement will last for 12 months, ending on the 30th June the following year.
Do all tenants have to be present when signing the tenancy agreement?
Yes and no. We strongly advise that all tenants are present and sign the tenancy agreement at the same time. If one tenant does not sign the contract and then subsequently pulls out of the agreement, it can leave the remaining tenants liable for the missing tenant’s rent. In extreme cases, where it is either impossible to sign together or you insist that you are happy to sign it separately, we can make allowances to do so; however you will have to state your intentions for this in writing. We will always advise against this option.
Where can I find a sample copy of the tenancy agreement?
A sample copy of our standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement is available in the document section of our website here.
Will I get a copy of the signed tenancy agreement?
Once the contract is fully signed we will provide the lead tenant with a photocopy of the agreement. If other tenants would like a copy of the agreement we can send it as a .pdf to their email address.
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How do I pay my rent and when do I have to pay it?
Your rent will be divided into three equal payments, based on the annual amount. We then ask that you provide us with 3 post dated cheques to cover these payments, dated 1st September, 1st February and 1st May.
Can I pay by standing order instead?
We can arrange a monthly standing order of 12 equal payments, should this be your preference. We are not willing to set up a standing order for anything other than 12 equal payments as through experience we have found that the banks usually get it wrong! Standing orders are usually used if your parents are covering your rent as most students can only afford to pay their rent after they have received their student loan.
Do I have to pay rent over the summer?
You pay a retainer fee over the summer period of approximately half rent (it is in fact 4 weeks free rent) if you do not move into the property. This is to hold the property for you and allows you to sort out your student property in advance. Without the retainer fee you would have to find your house and move in within a very short space of time. If you pick up the keys to the property before 1st September, you will be charged top-up rent, at a daily rate, for the amount of time you have the keys. This is charged on a person by person basis, so if one tenant moves in early, all other tenants continue to pay half rent.
I cannot afford my rent as I have yet to receive my student loan, what should I do?
We understand that student loans can be late. You need to let the office know approximately 7 days before the date that the cheque is due to be processed. That way we can hold onto your cheque until your loan comes in. We always send reminder emails before the due date.
There weren’t enough funds in my bank account and my rent payment bounced, what happens now?
Due to charges and administration, a fee of £35.00 is payable should any payment bounce. You will need to make alternative payment arrangements (another cheque is fine so long as you know you have the funds) as soon as possible.
What happens if I fall into rent arrears?
We try to be as flexible and understanding as possible. However, if you make no effort to clear arrears, or if you avoid contact from the office, your guarantor- as well as your co-tenant’s guarantors- will be approached. If you do not keep in regular contact with us you will incur charges for every letter we have to send relating to arrears. You may also accrue interest on the arrears and, in the worst case scenario, may end up having court papers issued. If you run into problems with your rent you should always contact the office as soon as possible.
When do I have to decide if I want to keep the property for an additional year?
We start showing our properties from the beginning of November each year. We do give our current tenants priority, however if you miss the deadline (to be arranged by email closer to the time) then you will only be able to keep the property if you submit your holding deposit before anyone else; we operate on a first come first served basis once the deadline has passed.
I no longer wish to live in the property, how do I get out of my contract?
Unfortunately, you are liable for all rent (including your co-tenant’s rent), as agreed in your Tenancy Agreement, until you find a replacement tenant to take over your contract. It is advisable to contact us in person to discuss your situation. Please note that any decision you make which may have an impact in regard to your Tenancy Agreement, must be discussed with and confirmed to us in writing before we can take action.
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What is a guarantor?
A guarantor is a person who agrees to guarantee your rent and/or any additional charges in the event that you do not pay. This includes your joint and several liability with the other tenants under your tenancy agreement this allows you to move into a property with little or no credit history and without additional references. All student landlords and many professional landlords insist upon tenants providing guarantors.
Why do I need one?
As a duty of care to all tenants we hold guarantor documents on file for each individual tenant in a property. This means that should a housemate fail to pay their rent, it is unlikely that the rest of the household will be held liable.
My prospective guarantor lives outside the UK, is that okay?
For legal reasons we are unable to accept guarantors that reside outside the UK mainland.
What if I cannot get someone to be my guarantor?
If you are unable to get someone to be your guarantor then to rent one of our properties you must provide the 12 months rent in advance and a 25% deposit.
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How much is the holding deposit?
Each tenant must pay a holding deposit of £175. We hold the property once we have received one full deposit, and require the remaining deposits within 7 days.
How much of the deposit will be returned to me and when will I receive it?
Upon the day of signing the contract each tenant will have paid a full £175 deposit. Please note that £50.00 per person is retained as a non refundable administration charge, leaving £125.00 security deposit.
When does it have to be paid by?
The full security deposit must be paid within 7 days of the first deposit being submitted to hold the property.
Will my deposit be registered with a deposit protection scheme?
Yes. Your deposit will be registered with the Deposit Protection Service (the DPS).
Who are the DPS?
Under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004 every landlord or letting agent that takes a deposit for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England and Wales must join a tenancy deposit scheme. The new regulations came into effect on April 6, 2007.
The DPS operates the only tenancy deposit scheme which is free to use and open to all Landlords. The DPS is funded entirely from the interest earned on deposits held. For more information on The DPS you can visit the website at www.depositprotection.com or contact them at:
The Deposit Protection Service
The Pavilions, Bridgwater Road, Bristol, BS99 6AA
Tel: 0844 4727 000
Who is the lead tenant of my property and why do we need one?
Before you sign your tenancy agreement you will be asked to nominate a lead tenant for your property. The lead tenant will be noted within the tenancy agreement and is usually the person you decide is the most responsible member of the party. The lead tenant is the individual tenant who acts on behalf of all the other tenants when dealing with The DPS. The lead tenant can make enquiries and initiate deposit repayments. They can also authorise or validate a deposit repayment that has been initiated by Elgin Management. The lead tenant must ensure that all tenants and any third party receive the appropriate share of any deposit that is to be repaid to them.
What is “joint liability” and how does it work in regards to my deposit?
It is worth remembering that everyone on the tenancy is jointly and severally liable for each other. What that means, in English, is that if one person causes damage or doesn’t pay their rent then all the other tenants are equally liable for that person. We try to apply this obligation as a last resort, however you should always keep it in mind.
For example, if one of your co-tenants has damaged their bedroom door or missed any rent payments, this could affect how much of your deposit you get back. The joint obligation also applies to your deposits though, at the end of the year, whoever is the lead tenant is able to deal with the DPS and distribute the deposits as they think fair. It is therefore vital you are aware of who the lead tenant for your property is and that you discuss any potential charges amongst yourselves before moving out. The full amount of your deposit may not, in some circumstances, cover damage and/or rent owed, meaning you may be charged beyond this deposit.
Can I get my deposit back before my tenancy expires?
Yes. The process of returning your deposit can begin as soon all tenants have handed in their set of house keys. Once all the keys have been returned we will assume that you are no longer living at the property and we can start the deposit process. Please note, this does not affect the terms of the tenancy agreement.
What is the advantage of moving out early?
We have to inspect over 60 houses in the summer, meaning that your deposit can take up to 8 weeks to be returned to you. By returning keys you can ensure your house is one of the first to be inspected, dramatically decreasing the length of time it normally takes to receive your deposit.
When will my house be inspected and who will it be inspected by?
House inspections will commence as soon as the property has been fully vacated and all the property’s keys have been returned to the office. The house inspection will be carried out by Elgin Management staff and a photo and written inventory of how the property was left will be taken.
Can I attend the property inspection?
Yes. If you would like to attend the inspection you are welcome to do so, however the property must be vacant. A joint inspection must be arranged in advance and we ask that you contact us by calling the office on 0151 733 3388.
What kind of things can I be charged for against my deposit?
Below is a brief list of some of the charges that can be levied against your deposit:
£10.00 per key for replacement of missing keys at end of tenancy assuming no change of locks.
£150.00 for change of locks and replacement of front door key, plus two sets for the office.
£20.00 for first hour, £15.00 per hour thereafter or £7.50 per half an hour for any work that requires our Maintenance Officer.
£25.00 for any payment presented to the Landlord’s Agent’s bank that has been returned, refused or re-presented by the bank for any reason throughout the tenancy if not already paid.
£350.00 for full professional house clean, depending on the condition of the property.
(please note this does not include rubbish removal, carpet cleaning, fridge or oven cleaning)
£35.00 on average, per room for a professional carpet clean.
£25.00 for a professional oven clean.
£25.00 to defrost and clean fridge/freezer, per appliance.
£10.00 per large bin bag + Maintenance officers time to bag rubbish for rubbish removal.
Variable costs for furniture that required replacement if it is beyond repair.
Alongside this, we expect all furniture/furnishings supplied to you to remain in the property after you have vacated, this includes lampshades and window blinds. Our goal is to be fair and reasonable, both to yourselves and our landlords; we would much rather have our houses left well cleaned and with little or no damage, ensuring you get your deposit back in full.
Don’t forget that you are not limited to charges up to the amount of your deposit. If extensive damage has been caused to the property that costs in excess of that of your deposit, you will be billed further. Please be aware that it is possible for the landlords to recover these costs through the courts if necessary.
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Who is responsible for the utility bills?
You (the tenants) are responsible for managing your own bills unless you have opted to take bills inclusive rent.
I have opted to take bills inclusive, how does it work?
In order for us to successfully manage your account, you must remember to pass on any bills that arrive at your property through to the office. Aside from this, there is not too much else to remember. Your account limit is noted in your Tenancy Agreement and we will attempt to notify you should you begin to approach this amount.
Our Bills Inclusive packages are as follows:
Silver Standard: gas, water and electricity
Gold Standard: gas, water, electricity, broadband internet, a year’s TV licence and an incoming landline telephone connection
I have opted for a bills inclusive package that includes broadband internet and a landline telephone. Who provides my internet and can I make out-bound calls on the landline?
If you choose our Gold Standard bills inclusive package you will benefit from gas, water and electrtic as well as broadband, a TV licence and an incoming landline connection. Your internet provider will be O2 and includes up to 24 meg download and 2.4 meg upload as well as a free router. The landline is dependent on there being an existing BT line already set up at the property. If there is none, an engineer would need to visit to install this (any installation fees relating to this would be covered by your bills inclusive rent). This landline would only be set up to receive incoming calls, but if you’d like to be able to make out-going calls this can be arranged for an additional fee (out-going phone bills would be met by you, the tenant).
When are we liable to start paying for the utility bills?
You are liable for all utility bills from the day your tenancy begins.
What companies should we use?
You are free to choose whichever company you prefer to manage your bills. If you are unsure who you would like to manage your bills then you could try www.comparethemarket.com for a comparison of providers.
What is the best way to pay the utility bills?
We recommend that you go with a company that allows you to provide your latest meter readings on a monthly basis. This way you can pay monthly and know that your bills will be very accurate. Utility companies normally send estimated bills quarterly and they can vary hugely from the amount you actually owe. Get on top of it early and arrange with your provider to pay monthly by direct debit or standing order. This will allow you to manage your account online.
Can we put all tenants names on one bill?
Yes and we recommend you do so. This way one tenant cannot remain liable for the whole bill. Please note that failure to place utilities in your name may result in an admin charge if we are forced to intervene.
Will I be liable for council tax?
As a full time student you are not liable to pay council tax. We are in agreement with Liverpool City Council to provide certain details such as full name, university/institution enrolled at and student I.D number. We require this information when you first put your deposit down for your property, however if our data is incomplete we will contact you asking to provide this information. We ask that you be compliant and prompt in this respect: if we cannot provide the council with this information, then you will be treated as a non-student and will be liable to pay council tax. Please be aware that if you cease to be a student you will become liable for council tax during your occupation of the property.
Are students expected to have a TV licence?
Should you wish to use any TV receiving equipment in the property, you will be required to obtain a TV licence; one for the house, not one per room. This includes TV receiver cards in PC & Laptops. You can get a TV licence by calling 0844 800 6716 (if you have chosen our Gold Standard bills inclusive package, a TV licence is included in your rent).
Do I have to pay for water?
Yes, you are liable for all utility bills at the property. Please see our Tenant Info Pack for further information regarding utility bills
I am on a bills inclusive contract with Elgin Management; how can I check how much gas/electricity I’m using?
By request, we can check how much energy you are using. Just phone or email the office and we will get back to you within 7 days.
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My property does not have a working TV aerial, what should I do?
Elgin Management does not provide and/or maintain TV viewing equipment including TV aerials, it is the tenants responsibility to arrange such services. We only ask that all installations are carried out to a reasonable standard.
My property does not have a wheelie bin, what should I do?
Should you need replacement or extra wheelie bins, Liverpool Council are able to provide you with these and will make arrangements with you regarding delivery. You can contact Liverpool Direct on 0151 233 3001 to make enquiries.
I have locked myself out, do you have keys?
There are a number of options available to you in this situation. If you have locked yourself out during office hours (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm) then just pop into the office to borrow our set. We ask that you leave us a deposit for the time you are in possession of the keys, usually your mobile phone (which we will lock in our safe), so that we can be sure you will return them. If you have locked yourself out outside office hours then you can call the maintenance officer on the 24 hour number provided, however you will have to pay for this service at the rates listed in your Tenant Info Pack.
Where can I purchase an alley gate key and how much does it cost?
Liverpool Direct will also provide you with an alley gate key should you need one. Please note that the council charges £5.00 for an alley gate key, if you bring the receipt into the office we will be happy to reimburse you. Just remember to give the key back to us when you move out.
How do I use the appliances you have supplied?
Elgin Management can supply manuals for most appliances should you require them, simply email us at the office and we will try to get these to you as soon as possible.
I cannot find a Hoover at my property.
We do not provide Hoovers in the properties. It is your responsibility to bring all of the cleaning equipment you need to keep the property to a good standard of cleanliness.
I have a maintenance issue with my property, what should I do?
All maintenance issues relating to your property must be reported in person by coming into our Smithdown Road office (the only exception to this is if you are reporting an emergency such as a leak or a security issue). Upon reporting the issue you will be asked to complete a Maintenance Request Form. The issue(s) reported on this form will then be updated onto our computer records and dealt with accordingly.It is important that you notify us of issues as soon as they occur. This helps to prevent situations from escalating into much bigger problems, causing more inconvenience for both parties. Please note that we have maintenance procedures in place, which log and assess any maintenance requests with respect to prioritisation. Any situations relating to personal safety will be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
How long will it take for the Maintenance to be completed?
In most cases we will be able to send out our maintenance officer within 7 days of the reported maintenance issue, however it is often within 24 hours. During our busiest times it may not always be possible to do this. Please see your Tenant Info pack for our full maintenance policy
I have requested maintenace, will you give me notice of when this will be done?
Unfortunately we do not give notice of when our miantenance officer will visit to respond to the maintenance request. Because of the amount of maintenance we deal with, once you have reported an issue we take that as an invitation to come into your property to address that issue. If we send a contractor to your property to carry out work, we usually give them keys with which to enter. We instruct them to knock loudly first and wait for a response. If they receive no response, they will let themselves into the property before calling out to make their presence known. If you have any concerns over somebody requesting access to your property, please feel free to call us first and check that we have sent them. Never let anyone into your home unless you are expecting them.
There was a contractor in our house but he has left my room unlocked- was he asked to?
We ask contractors and our in house maintenance staff to leave your properties exactly how they found them. If your room is locked and they need access to it to carry out requested maintenance then they will use our maintenance keys to enter and then re-lock the door when they leave. Similarly, if the door is open when they arrive they will leave it open when they leave. We encourage you to use all the available locks on your front door especially the deadlock. If a member of staff visits a property with no deadlock on when all tenants are out, remember that they will not put it on when they leave.
If I have an emergency can I get in touch with the Maintenance Officer?
Yes, if you have an emergency that directly affects your health and safety or may cause damage to the property its self then you can call our maintenance officer on the 24 hour number provided. Please note, there is a £25.00 charge for misusing this number.
Can I be charged for any maintenance work?
As per the schedule on the tenancy agreement you can be charged for maintenance if the works are required due to your negligence (allowing something to become damaged through your inaction) or through malfeasance (deliberately damaging something) otherwise all maintenance is part of the service. For a full description of potential charges please see the schedule page of the tenancy agreement or our tenant info pack (linked above)
Am I responsible for minor maintenance work, such as changing light bulbs?
The tenants are responsible for replacement light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries as well as other consumables on the property. Tenants are also expected to perform minor servicing issues such as unblocking sinks etc.
There are signs of condensation/damp in my property, what should I do?
It will depend on the severity of the issue. Please see the following linked document for a description of the causes and prevention of mildew and condensation;
If after reading the document, and taking recommended steps to reduce the problems, it still appears that you have moisture issues then please visit the office.
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What happens if one of my friends drops out of the tenancy?
We will do everything possible to help a tenant replace themselves on the tenancy, however it is primarily their responsibility to find a replacement and they will remain liable for the rent up until the point a new tenancy agreement is signed by a replacement tenant.
All existing housemates must agree to any new person moving in with them.
Please be aware that if the existing tenants deliberately refuse replacements repeatedly and without good reason and the matter goes to court (such as if the tenant and guarantor refuse to pay for the rent) then the courts may decide that the obstructive housemates are liable for the rent.
Please be aware that there is a £200.00 fee for drawing up a new contract. Should the tenants find a replacement, book a time for them to ALL come in the office to sign the replacement contract (with the replacement tenant) then this fee may be waived.
What happens if I no longer wish to take up the tenancy?
The same applies as above.
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Where is the office located?
The office is located at 375 Smithdown Road in Wavertree, directly opposite Rossett Avenue. For a map to our office please see the Contact Us page on our website.
What are your opening hours?
The office is open from Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm
Do you ever open at weekends?
To help people moving in at the start of term the office is usually open on one weekend in September from about 9am to 12noon. Details of these dates and times can be confirmed at the office prior to moving in.
Can I contact you via email?
Yes, our email address as well as our telephone number is available on the ‘Contact Us’ page of our website.