This information here concerns the process of living with your new housemates. These questions are based on our experience helping students navigate problems with housemates and on the suggestions students themselves want to pass on to you.

Remember, you can always consult the Living Out Guide  and contact an advisor if you are unsure or have any specific questions.

Book an appoinment here  or email advice@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk 

 

What does the process of moving in require?

Firstly, make sure you get the keys from the landlord and agent, either at the agency or by arranging for them to meet you at your property.

The landlord or agent should give you an inventory: a list of all the items in the property. Check all the items on the inventory are actually in the property. If there are items missing or damaged. Note all these and email the landlord or agent immediately with photographs (you may lose some of your deposit if they think missing/damaged items are your fault).

Check any items or adjustments you requested and are listed in your contract are provided. If not contact your landlord or agent immediately in writing.

Read the utility meters and inform the energy company of the readings and your change of name on the account. If you need a T.V licence (which you will even if you stream items via your hand-held devices, phone, computer console etc) buy one online.

Find out which day refuse is collected on the Oxford City Council website: (blue: recycling, green: landfill, brown: garden waste)

Ensure you have insurance for your belongings.

Remember to secure the property when you go out. Lock doors and windows, don’t leave notes on the door, don’t leave keys under the mat.

 

What are some tips for living with other people?

You must make sure you all decide how you will split the rent. Will the person with the biggest room pay more? Will you split the rent equally?

The same applies to bills. Will you set up a separate or joint bank account? Will one of you take responsibility for this?

Male sure you plan how you will pay for communal things such as loo rolls, and decide how you will share household chores such as cleaning. Will certain people keep the same tasks or will you have a changing rota system?

Think about establishing some house rules, however basic they are, as at least you will all have agreed some basic principles

Regular house meetings might also be a good idea, as this will give everyone an opportunity to raise any issues and make decisions as a team. Some students have a regular “house-family” meal evening when housemates cook and share a meal together. This is an ideal time to keep in touch with one-another and can help avoid arguments.

Decide what you will do about overnight guests. What you will do if a housemate asks for a partner to share their room on a permanent basis: will you allow this? Will you charge rent?

Decide what you will do about entertaining your friends and hosting parties: will you have a friend-free night to concentrate on your work? This may be particularly important at exam time.

 

What happens if something breaks and needs to be repaired?

If the issue concerns gas or carbon monoxide, inform emergency services and 0800 111 999 immediately.

Otherwise, landlords are responsible for the structure of the building (walls, roof etc); window frames, gutters, water and gas pipes, electric wring, baths, showers, sinks and toilets, boilers, fixed heaters and radiators. If you notice any disrepair such as mould, damp or break anything inform the landlord or agent as soon as you can. Do this via email and attach photographs.

Give the landlord or agent a reasonable amount of time to respond to your email. If your landlord or age do not respond to your request or refuse to make repairs, seek help from an advisor.

Remember that after 24 hours, the landlord or agent has the right to access the property to inspect the damage/repair needs.

Contact Oxford SU’s Student Advice if you have any problems or need further advice. Book an appoinment here  or email advice@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk 

 

Found this useful? Check out our Living Out Guide  (pidged to all Freshers) and Living Out podcasts  for further advice.

 

What should I do before I move out?

Confirm in writing (e.g. via email) with your landlord or agent the date you intend to move out.  Remember that this should be before the end of your contract date. If you miss this deadline even by a day, you may be charged rent for the whole month.

Arrange a time to meet the on the day you leave the property to hand over the keys and check the property over together.

Get organised! Plan the jobs that need to be done well in advance of your moving out date to avoid any last minute stress. Make a list and share out the tasks.

Check your contract to make sure there are no specific requirements agreed before you leave the house: for example having the garden professionally tended or the house professionally cleaned. If you are required to do this do remember to keep the receipt as proof.

Overall, you will have a much better chance of getting all your deposit back if the house is left in the condition it was in when you moved in, to avoid the landlord or agent making unnecessary deductions for cleaning or rubbish disposal.  Make sure that you clean the bathroom, kitchen and communal areas of the house, including the windows, fridge and the oven. It might be helpful to get on top of this as early as possible by having a deep clean, then you can top it up before you leave.

Some students prefer to share the cost and employ professional cleaners. If you do remember to keep the receipt as proof.

Think about recycling or donating your unwanted items to charity. Oxford SU has a collection scheme contact VPCandC@oxford.ox.ac.uk

Remember to change your address details. Go to www.royalmail.com to arrange for your mail to be redirected to an alternative address and change your address with your bank etc.

 

On the last day 

Make sure everywhere is clean, that the furniture is put back in the place it was when you moved in, and that you have disposed of any rubbish.

Take time stamped photographs of the condition of the property before leaving. Check off the contents against the inventory, preferably in the presence of the landlord or agent.

Lock all windows and doors and switch everything off before you leave.

It might sound basic, but make sure you lock the car doors whilst moving things in and out, especially if you’ve got valuables in there!

Contact the Utilities companies to give them a final meter reading and a forwarding address for any outstanding bills.

Make sure your landlord or agent also has a forwarding address, email or telephone number for you in case they need to contact you regarding the deposit.

 

Afterwards

Your letting agent or landlord should return your deposit within ten working days, as long as you both agree how much you should get back.

Your deposit should have been protected with a government authorised deposit protection scheme when you moved in, so check you have a certificate confirming which deposit scheme was used.

If your landlord or agent makes deductions from your deposit that you don’t agree with, you can dispute this decision. Your deposit protection scheme will have an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedure. You should be able to find more information about this and the steps you need to take on your scheme’s website. Remember, there is a deadline of 3 months from the end of your tenancy to appeal a decision.

 

Contact Oxford SU’s Student Advice if you have any problems with this or need further advice. Book an appoinment here  or email advice@oxfordsu.ox.ac.uk 

Found this useful? Check out our Living Out Guide  (pidged to all Freshers) and Living Out podcasts  for further advice.