Links mentioned in video:
– Clauses and flowchart: https://www.imperialhomesolutions.co.uk/DocumentStorage/Covid%20flowchart%20and%20clauses.pdf
– London Property Licensing: http://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/
– Email contracts to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Do utility bills tend to include broadband, or is this something I would have to look into myself and pay externally?
Unless otherwise stated in your contact, rent will usually only be for living in the property itself. If broadband is included in your rent it should be specified in your contract by the landlord.
Some landlords may offer internet that is up and running and is included as part of the rent. This is very attractive in one respect – you don’t have to wait in for an engineer to arrive and you don’t have to wait a week or more until it is finally set up. However, this is not a legal requirement. In fact, telephone, television and Internet connections are all things that a landlord doesn’t necessarily need to provide you with.
2. What if my landlord doesn’t offer the provider or the broadband package that I want?
If you use multiple devices, are working from home a lot or do a lot of online gaming or streaming, then you may require a faster service.
If you are considering moving into a property where the internet is included as part of the rent, you need to be clear about what package and provider you’re going to use and whether it is appropriate for you.
Have this conversation with your landlord before you sign the tenancy agreement. Many landlords will allow you to switch provider once you move in, but it might take a few weeks for the new internet router to arrive and start running. However, if you are not happy with the existing package and the landlord will not allow you to switch provider, then you need to think carefully about whether this is a deal breaker for you.
3. When signing a tenancy agreement, how can I be sure that I’m protected if I am unable to move in due to the pandemic or if I have to move out due to the pandemic?
We are aware of some accommodation providers who are offering ‘free-cancellation’ promises but these are often restricted to very specific circumstances and not always related to the current situation. At the moment we are advising students not to rush into signing legally binding contracts.
Make sure you get any verbal promises in writing; your contract needs to have explicit terms (written in it) to manage the risks presented by the virus. We have created a list of clauses which your Agent/Landlord can add as a special clause or addendum to your agreement.
We recommend you discuss this with your Agent/Landlord and agree on suitable clauses that offer you protection. You may not wish to add all the suggested clauses, for example, if you are currently living in London and have already viewed the property in person, then you wouldn’t need to add the flexible tenancy clause. If you already live in London, then you may not necessarily need a travel restrictions clause.
We have created a flowchart to help you decide which clauses might be right for you. You must be happy with the clauses; do not sign anything you do not understand or are uncomfortable with. Speak to your landlord and make sure you think about the possible eventualities and that you thoroughly understand what’s covered and what’s not.
Read the contract thoroughly and get it checked by the Student Hub team by emailing a copy of the contact to email@example.com together with your questions.
4. We’re a group of 5 students that want to live together, the Agent has said that they’ll let us live together but will only put 4 of us on the contract. What should we do?
You can have 4 people on the contract but you should get a letter from the Agent stating that the 5th person within the group can be a permitted occupier and that they will be bound by same terms and conditions of the main tenancy as the other 4 tenants on the contract. It is important to get this confirmed in writing, otherwise, if the 5th tenant leaves, the other 4 tenants could be liable to pay for the 5th tenant’s share of the rent.
Please also remember that if you are living in a House of Multiple Occupancy (where three or more unrelated people share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom.), your landlord may require a licence.
Some councils have introduced additional licencing requirements for HMO properties, you can go to the website: http://www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/ and it will tell you the rules for each different London borough.