LIVING IN YOUR STUDENT HOME
The House Academy takes the safety of our tenants very seriously, and for this reason all our houses use a high security patented locking system. This means that only authorised members of The House Academy can deal with the locks and keys for the property. Therefore, if a key is lost or stolen, we will re-pin the locks, to ensure the property cannot be entered by another person. This work is carried out by a specialist locksmith, the cost of which will be passed onto the person who has mislaid the key.
For this reason please always keep your house keys on a bunch with other keys, as you are a lot less likely to lose them!
We have a full-time maintenance team who carry out regular, general maintenance in all our properties. Please inform us of anything that needs fixing in the house, however small it may seem.
We employ a gardener who will periodically cut the grass and any overgrowth.
You are responsible for general care and cleaning of the house. All properties are fully cleaned before you move in, and we hope that this standard of care is continued. A cleaning rota for the different parts of the house is a good way to ensure that all housemates do their fair share of the cleaning.
It is important to regularly air your room by opening windows, curtains and the bedroom door. This prevents the build up of high levels of moisture in the air which will condense on cold surfaces, and may contribute to the growth of mould. Excess moisture should be wiped off surfaces using a sponge or cloth. Clothes should not be dried in your bedroom. If you do have a problem with mould that persists despite these measures, please contact us on 07800 660953 and one of our maintenance team will come round to sort out the problem.
In the event of a fire, leave the property by the nearest exit and dial 999 to inform the fire brigade. Do not store items in corridors or stairways where they would obstruct anyone needing to exit in an emergency. Please don’t wedge open doors that have automatic closures. Our maintenance staff will periodically test the fire/smoke alarm systems. You are advised to test the fire/smoke alarm system each week and report any faults to us. Also for the safety of all the housemates, smoking inside the property and the use of candles or any other naked flame, is not permitted.
Rent and Bills
Rent is collected by direct debit on or shortly after the first day of every month, so cleared funds must be in the account prior to that date. If you have asked us to collect the rent from a joint ‘House Bank Account’ it is sensible for housemates to pay their individual amounts into the ‘House Bank Account’ at least a week before the end of each month to allow for time taken for payments to transit the banking system.
As tenants you are responsible for paying gas and electricity bills. Gas and electricity meter readings are taken by us at the start of your tenancy and used to open accounts for you with Ebico, who are our recommended supplier.
Ebico is a not-for-profit company who do not pay commission to salesmen. They have excellent customer service, reasonable prices and no standing charges. This means that you pay a fixed amount per unit used which make bills very easy to understand and apportion between the housemates. They also charge the same whether you pay monthly or three-monthly. Please see their website http://ebico-energy.org.uk for more details. As they are a small company they have an arrangement with Scottish and Southern Energy who send out bills and collect payments on their behalf.
Water in Southampton is provided by Southern Water, and you are responsible for water bills. We will inform Southern Water at the start of your tenancy, who will then set up an account for you. Please see www.southernwater.co.uk if you require any further information.
Full time students at the universities are exempt from paying Council Tax, but others are liable to pay. We notify Southampton City Council that you and your housemates have become the tenants at this property. The Council may then write to you to ask for proof of your full time student status, which you can obtain from your Faculty Office. Further information can be found at: www.southampton.gov.uk/council-tax/
You are responsible for setting up and paying for phone/broadband (if required). There are a range of providers to choose from. We do not recommend a particular provider as this market changes rapidly, however you may find this website www.thinkbroadband.com is helpful.
Applying and paying for a TV licence (if required) is your responsibility. Under current TV licensing rules for shared houses, where all housemates are jointly on a single tenancy, only one TV licence is required to cover the whole house. You can find more information or apply for a TV licence at www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
Other Useful Information
The House Academy provides all large electrical items in the house, such as fridge, freezer, washing machine, oven, and maintain these. Smaller items such as microwave oven, kettle, toaster, and vacuum cleaner are not provided, but can be purchased at reasonable prices from stores such as Argos and Asda.
You may use a maximum of 20 drawing pins per room to attach posters etc. to walls, but please do not use them in the woodwork. Blu-tac, white-tac, sellotape and other sticky substances are not allowed due to the damage they cause to the paintwork, and their use would incur a re-decoration fee at the end of your tenancy.
You can apply for a resident’s parking permit from the Council if this is applicable in the area your house is in. Usually you can obtain one and sometimes two per property. Costs vary according to area, please see www.southampton.gov.uk or phone 023 80 833008 for details. A book of one day visitor permits can also be applied for from the Council.
Southampton City Council’s website www.southampton.gov.uk will provide you with a waste and recycling collection calendar which you can download and print. It is important that bins are wheeled up close to the pavement on the night before collection day, then wheeled back in after collection.
The Council will not empty contaminated recycling (blue lid) bins, i.e. those which contain general household waste as well as recyclables, and can fine you £100 for this contravention.
Houses with 6 or more occupants are entitled to either larger capacity bins, or two green lid and two blue lid bins. Please let us know if any of your bins go missing and we will order a new one from the Council.