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How to Rent a Student Property

1. Identify a property you would like to rent

Please arrange all viewings through our office.  Please do not just knock on the door and ask the current tenants to show you around.  All viewings must be carried out with prior appointment and we are required to give existing occupiers 24 hours notice of any visit.  If you are interested in a reserving a property without seeing it (e.g. you are based abroad and you are unable to view before your arrival in the UK), we strongly advise that you to speak with a representative at CP Walker prior to submitting your application. We will give you accurate feedback on available properties. Once an agreement has been signed, you are not able to change properties when you arrive in Nottingham if for any reason you decide you don’t like the location etc. It is not a good long term solution for a landlord to have an unhappy tenant in his/her property and so we will try and make sure you find the right property to start with.

2. Complete an Application Form

Once you have identified a property that you want to rent, each person in your group will need to complete an Application Form.  This provides us with the details we require to take appropriate references and obtain the owner's approval to proceed with the letting.  Application Forms are available from our office as paper versions or we can provide a digital copy for you to either print off and return by hand or via email if you prefer.  Students are asked to provide with their application:

1.  Photo ID (copy passport or driving licence)

2.  A copy of your Student Card (or a copy of your offer letter if you are not currently registered as a student)

3.  Overseas Students will be required to provide confirmation of their overseas address.

Once the application has been accepted, the property is placed “Under Offer” and no further viewings will take place.  We would ask you to contact us immediately if for any reason you have a change of plan and decide not to proceed with completing the Tenancy Agreement.  If there is any delay on your behalf in completing the Agreement, we reserve the right to place the property back on to the market and we will inform you when this has been done.

3. Payment of Holding Deposit

If the Owner is happy to accept your application (subject to referencing and contract), we will confirm this to you in writing and ask you to pay the Holding Deposit of £100 per person.  We strongly recommend that the full Holding Deposit for the property is paid in one lump by one of the applicants (if in a group) rather than on an individual basis so that the property can be secured promptly. This demonstrates your commitment to rent a property whilst referencing checks take place.  Once that deposit has been paid, the property will be reserved for you and marked ‘under offer.’ At this point we will not show the property to any other applicants or accept any other applications.  Once the holding deposit has been paid, you will have a maximum of 7 days to complete the tenancy agreement before the ‘deadline for agreement.’  The holding deposit may be retained where an applicant or guarantor a) provides false or misleading information which it is reasonable for a landlord or agent to consider in deciding whether to grant the tenancy b) fails a Right to Rent check c) withdraws from a property d) fails to take all reasonable steps to enter into a tenancy agreement when a landlord has done so.  Where a tenancy agreement has been completed, the tenant(s) and payee (if applicable) agree that the Holding Deposit will be used for part payment of the first instalment of rent required under the assured shorthold tenancy. 

Although we will stop marketing when we accept your application, the property is only “secured” once the Tenancy Agreement is signed.  You should ensure that you and your Guarantor complete the tenancy as soon as you can.  If there is a delay in any of the tenants or Guarantors signing, we reserve the right to start re-marketing the property, and your Holding Deposit will be liable for retention.  We would inform you that we have done this and the reason why.  As we work in good faith and do not seek to let the house to others once you have applied, we would also appreciate it if you can contact us immediately if for any reason there is a change of plan and you decide not to proceed with renting the property.  

4. Right to Rent Check

In accordance with UK Law, we are required to check that all tenants have the right to rent a property, meaning that they are in the country legally as a UK citizen, EU or EEA national or have valid immigration permission to be in the UK.  We are required to see the original version of your passport prior to the start of the tenancy or before keys are released.  You can show us your original passport when you submit your application or come in to sign the tenancy or any point in between.  If you do not have a permanent right to remain in the UK, we will need to see your Visa and will need to re-check your papers no more than 28 days before you move in to the property.  

5. Check and Complete the Tenancy Agreement

Once we have accepted your application, we will draft the Tenancy Agreement and send this to you by email.  The tenancy is completed using electronic signature through the “DocuSign” software.  Each tenant and each Guarantor will receive a copy of this contract for signature.  It is important that you notify your Guarantor to let them know that you have applied for the property and provided their details as Guarantor.  You should also advise them to look out for the DocuSign email inviting them to sign the Tenancy.  Once you receive the Docusign email, we ask that you sign the Agreement promptly.  If the tenancy agreement is not completed within the ‘deadline for agreement’ we reserve the right to re-market the property and your Holding Deposit will be at risk. Once the Tenancy Agreement has been signed by all parties (Tenants and Guarantors), you will receive an electronic copy of the completed contract for your records.

6. Pay the Deposit

Once we have the owner’s approval to proceed with the letting, we will contact you to make arrangements to sign the Agreement electronically via DocuSign.

On completion of the Tenancy Agreement, each person is required to pay the deposit (or “damage bond”) which is fixed for each property at £300 per person.  The Deposit will be registered in accordance with UK Law.  If someone is going to pay the Deposit on your behalf, you will need to inform CP Walker when the money is paid.  Unless we advise you otherwise, the Deposit will be held by CP Walker & Son in accordance with the terms of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  The Tenancy Deposit Scheme provides tenants with the protection that the Deposit will be dealt with fairly and will be returned at the end of the tenancy less any proper deductions.  The Scheme offers an arbitration service for both parties to use should there be any dispute about the Deposit at the end of the Tenancy.  For further details of the scheme, visit www.thedisputeservice.co.uk.  

7. Rent Payments

Rent payments are usually payable termly.  Overseas residents will usually pay in 1, 2, 3 or 4 instalments (subject to what is agreed in each case).  Postgraduate students who receive funding monthly will usually pay monthly.  In all cases, payments are due by Standing Order (direct bank transfer).  If you want to request a variation from the standard termly payment arrangement outlined below, we would ask that you agree this when you submit your application.

A Standing Order Mandate to effect the payments by direct bank transfer will be completed at the same time you sign your tenancy.  If payment is going to be made by a parent or other third party, please inform us so the mandate can be prepared accordingly.  The first instalment of rent is due 14 days before the start of the tenancy.  This allows cleared funds to be in our account when you come to collect keys.

In the case of termly payments, the following amounts are due and on the following dates.  There dates have been set to tie in with the dates for the receipt of student loan payments:

Payment date      Amount of Rent Due
Tenancy start 6 weeks (48 week contract) or 9 weeks (51 week contract)
1 October 16 weeks
1 February 16 weeks
1 May 10 weeks

Payment terms for overseas students without UK guarantors will be agreed subject to the specific circumstances.  If you don’t have a UK account when you complete the tenancy agreement (i.e. you currently live overseas), then you should make the initial payment by international bank transfer and complete a Standing Order once you have set up your UK account.

Keys will only be released once the initial payment of rent has been received in full (i.e. everyone in the house has paid).  

8. What to do after signing the tenancy – Internet, phone TV etc.

Once you have signed your tenancy, we will pre-register you for Virgin Media “early bird” scheme for students.  This will not commit you to taking up Virgin internet or TV services but it will mean that you are entitled to a discount if you do when you move in to the property.  The start of any academic year is always a busy time of year with lots of people moving and a failure to plan ahead can mean that you have to wait for internet to be installed after you have moved in.  By pre-registering by Virgin Media, your will be entitled to a discount voucher allowing you free installation if you do decide to use Virgin.  You should plan to place your order for internet around 4 weeks before you plan to move in so that you can arrange for the installation on the day after you collect keys for the property. 

9. Utility Suppliers

When you move in to the property, we will take readings and we will notify the relevant suppliers of electricity and gas (usually Eon) and water (Severn Trent).  After you have moved in and the accounts have been set up (this process normally takes around 14 days), we advise that you speak with the suppliers to agree how you pay your bills.  Utility bills are usually considerably cheaper if you arrange to pay by direct debit.  In any shared house you will therefore need to agree how the bills are to be paid.

CP Walker can arrange for the utility bills to be fixed for the year (so you can budget your weekly expenses).  This does not give you unlimited use but it will allow you to budget more accurately.  Typically you may look to pay £15 per person per week for a bills inclusive deal (subject to the number of occupiers in the property).  Ask when you submit your application if you are interested in finding out more information about a bills inclusive deal.   

10. Turnaround between tenancies

Once the existing tenancy has finished, contractors will go in to the property and carry out works that have been identified.  The property will also be cleaned prior to the start of the tenancy.   

11. The move in – collect keys and agree the Inventory

When you are ready to move in to the property, you should contact our office at least 48 hours in advance to notify us that you are coming in to collect the keys.  We also advise that you check to make sure your initial instalmentS of rent haVE been received.

Keys can be collected 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturday.  Keys will only be released once we have received the initial instalment of rent in full.  If you have a Joint Tenancy then this means that everyone in the house has paid.  You are advised to check payments have been received before you start your journey to our office.

When or shortly after you move into the property, we will give you an Inventory & Schedule of Condition. This document records the general state of the property as at the start of the tenancy and lists the various contents that are supplied with it.  You will then have a period of 7 days to check through the Inventory to make sure you are happy with it.  The Inventory forms a record of the state of the property for the benefit of both parties and against which any disputes can be referred to during or at the end of the tenancy.

We will take meter readings at the start of the Tenancy and will notify the gas, electric and water suppliers.  We will also notify the Local Authority.  Once accounts have been set up, you should speak directly with the suppliers with any queries that you may have on any of these accounts.  As these accounts will be in your name, the suppliers will not discuss any aspect of the account with CP Walker or the Landlord under data protection rules.  The Local Authority will normally send you an invoice for Council Tax and you will then need to contact them direct with your Student ID to confirm your exemption to Council Tax.

If you have any further questions, please telephone (+44) 115 925 4062 or email students@cpwalker.co.uk

"Have had investment properties in Beeston for 15+ years and have previously used 3 other agents. Walkers through Rex and Jonathan have been the most open and straightforward about tenant problems / issues, which we have then resolved together. I have also found that my 'property vacant' time has gone down, which is valuable to me as a landlord. [Management Client of 6 years]"
Dave B