Q: When can we collect our keys?
A: 30th June. But I may have them ready for you a day earlier. I will send an email to you with all the details as soon as I’ve made my key-collecting-day plan, don’t worry!
Q: Who should collect our keys?
A: Any member of your group. Please note that I issue the keys to one person in your group only.
It’s then their responsibility to distribute them to you.
Q: Is there parking? Do I need a permit?
A: You can park without a permit on Ash Grove, Brudenell Mount and Manor Terrace, but Moorland Avenue tenants need residents' permits for parking on the road. You can apply for a free permit from Leeds City Council's website.
Q: Can we leave some of our stuff in the house over summer to save us taking it all home?
A: Not before 30th June, when your contract officially starts. As soon as the previous tenants move out,
I bring in my repairs and decorating team and we spend the between-contract period working on the house.
If your belongings are there during that time, I get complaints about it being in the way. And, of course, it's in danger of being accidentally thrown out, especially if it's in a black bin liner! I know this from experience, so that's why I now say you can't bring your stuff to your new house until 30th June. I do hope you understand.
If you're staying on in the house for another year, we run the contracts together and, in this case, of course you can leave your belongings in the house over summer.
Q: Can I bring some of my own furniture?
A: Yes. However, in the case of soft furnishings like armchairs or sofas, they must, must, must comply with fire regulations and have a fire certificate, so do check before you load up that car! Also, you must take it with you when you move out or I'll have to charge you for disposing of it.
Please note that you can use your own furniture providing you do not store my furniture in the basement. Should you move furniture out of your room into another room, you will need to make sure you replace it at the end of your tenancy. The exception to the rule is desks and wardrobes; do not move them out of rooms - they're mostly too big and heavy and difficult to move around!
Q: Can I have a new [piece of furniture]?
A: Each room should have a desk, chair, bed, wardrobe, bedside table, curtains, carpet, and set of drawers. Please check your inventory and report any missing or broken items and we'll find, fix or replace them.
Q: Can I decorate?
A: No, sorry. When you move in, all bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms should be in reasonable decorative order already and there should be no Blu-Tack marks anywhere in your house.
If previous tenants have foolishly ignored my golden rule and there are Blu-Tack marks on your walls when you move in, do not wait to report them! Log a maintenance job straight away or we won't know it wasn't you and you could end up losing some of your deposit.
Q: Can I put pictures, posters and photos on my walls?
A: Yes, but ONLY using Gripping Stuff poster tape. You'll have found a roll of this in your room when you moved in. If you run out, buy some more. Don't use Blu-Tack (or any other colour of 'tack') or Sellotape or sticky pads because they stain the wallpaper and you'll be charged for the cost of redecorating. You may also use up to 6 picture hooks in your bedroom (you may find some nails/picture hooks there already).
Q: Can I put up a shelf/mirror?
A: No, but we'll put one up for you if you drop us a line. Please note there will be a small charge for making good the walls when you leave should you decide you want to take the shelf/mirror with you.
Q: Can I have a coat hook on the back of my door?
A: No, but you can have one on the wall if you drop us a line. (Hooks cause too many issues on doors.)
Q: Do you supply us with a toaster, kettle and any other small appliances we need?
A: No. I only provide a microwave and a vacuum cleaner. It's a good idea to decide between you who is going to bring the small appliances for you to share.
Q: What do we do about the bills?
A: If you signed up for Unihomes' bills package, you can skip to the next question. Otherwise, you and your housemates are responsible for paying all the bills during your tenancy. You can either shop around and decide which utilities suppliers you want to use, or you have the option of our bills package, which covers electricity, gas, water, TV licence and internet.
If your group decides to take care of bills on your own, have a look at price comparison sites or check out www.moneysavingexpert.com.
Your water supplier is Yorkshire Water. You'll need to contact them too.
When you contact the suppliers, tell them that your contract started on 30th June (that's the date from which you will be liable for paying the bills) and give them your meter readings. Even if you're all away all summer, there will still be what's known as a 'standing charge' to pay. This is standard practice for utilities companies and is one of those annoying facts of life as a householder.
While we're talking money, have a read of Martin 'Moneysaving' Lewis' top tips for helping students keep their outgoings to a minimum. Good old Martin!
Q: Should we use a ‘split the bills’ package service?
A: Package services are a great idea because they give you peace of mind and save you falling out over money, which isn't good for the soul! However, it is a more expensive option than dealing with all the individual utility companies yourselves, so you'll need to balance how much it costs against how much you love an easy life.
Is it worth it? You need to discuss this together.
Alternatively, if you have Excel or equivalent on your laptop, here's a step-by-step guide to setting up a spreadsheet for your household bills:
You could also open a household bank account and each set up a standing order from your personal accounts to automatically pay £10 a week into it. Then, you could set up a direct debit for each of your utility bills to ensure they’ll all be paid. Alternatively, nominate someone to pay the bills out of the account every month.
Q: Who is the current energy/internet supplier?
A: The chances are the previous tenants were on a bills-inclusive package via Unihomes. If not, they will have chosen their preferred suppliers on their own. In which case, see the Citizens Advice Bureau's website for guidance.
Whichever suppliers you choose, make sure you send regular meter readings when they prompt you so that your bills reflect what you’re actually using. Otherwise they’ll estimate your bills and you could find yourself paying more than you need to!
Of course, if you choose our inclusive bills package option, you won't have to worry about this.
Q: What about water? Are we on a meter? Do we pay or do you? And who to?
A: You'll be responsible for paying the water bills during your tenancy (unless you choose our bills package option), and you'll need to contact Yorkshire Water to get your payments set up. 35 Ash Grove is the only one of our properties with a water meter, although this shouldn't be used as an excuse not to shower or wash up!
A: Not if you're all students. If you do get a bill, you just need to apply to the government for an exemption.
A: Even if you're all away all summer and not using any gas or electricity, there will still be what's known as a 'standing charge' to pay. It's standard practice for utilities companies, who need to cover the cost of maintaining the energy infrastructure.
A: No. I provide buildings insurance to cover the fabric of the building in the event of fire, water damage and if, for example, you were burgled and the doors were damaged. Your personal possessions are your responsibility and you'll need to sort out your own contents insurance to cover them. Your parents should be able to help you with this, and you may even be covered on their home insurance policy, but you would need to check. If not, shop around - insurance companies offer special policies for students.
A: There's no aerial (or satellite dish) because I don't like having a whole load of holes drilled in the roof or walls. I prefer cable, because at least the holes they drill are low-level holes! Virgin Media is one of the main fibre optic suppliers in the area, so they have better speeds, but there is no perfect supplier. Why not give them a ring to find out about adding a broadband and TV package?
A: No, you'll have to bring your own or stream to your laptop. Or chip in to buy a communal TV for the lounge. You should be able to pick a cheap one up second hand. Just remember, you'll need to take it with you, sell it or recycle it at the end of your contract. Do not leave it in the house or I'll have to charge you for its disposal.
A: No. If you're bringing a TV, you'll be responsible for buying your own TV licence. Unless you choose our bills package option, in which case, yes, it's included.
Your question not answered here?