As the start of a new university year approaches, thousands of teenagers will be leaving home for the first time and moving into a student flat.
It can be a worrying time for parents, and one of the chief sources of anxiety is whether their children will be living in a flat that is safe, as well as in good condition.
Landlords take out insurance to cover themselves from a range of risks including accidental damage, malicious damage, content protection, and cover for loss of rent.
The following tips for landlords should ensure they provide students with a secure tenancy, leaving mums and dads with one less thing to worry about:
- Get references – including from former landlords – and follow up on them otherwise they are pointless.
- Get bank statements to ensure prospective tenants are in a position to pay the rent.
- Take and protect a deposit. Most landlords take a deposit the equivalent of one month’s rent and they are obliged to protect it under a government-supported deposit protection scheme, and also to provide the tenant with details of the scheme being used within 14 days.
- Draft a tenancy agreement that names each of the tenants individually which is signed and dated by the landlord and each of the tenants.
- Label important items in the property and perhaps provide a map. Landlords should make tenants aware of the location of important items such as stopcocks and gas meters. If they know where a stopcock is, they can turn off water in an emergency and limit the potential damage.
- Conduct an inventory at the start of the tenancy. The landlord and tenants may wish to take photographs to support the inventory.
- Inform the council the tenancy has been signed and pass on the names of the tenants and the date the new tenancy began. This will help prevent any disagreement about outstanding council tax at either end of the tenancy.
- Leave contact details for tenants to contact the landlord in an emergency.