Help and advice for student tenants. Frequently asked questions regarding renting a property through Bricks & Mortar.
What are the fees?
All student tenants pay a Reservation Fee of £150 inc VAT. The fee is non-refundable and covers the cost of tenancy set-up, reference and guarantor checks.
Do you offer a bills-inclusive option?
Yes, some properties are offered on a bills-inclusive basis. Please call us to discuss what options we have available.
What is a guarantor?
You’ll need a guarantor to ensure that any monthly fees are paid. If for some reason you can’t pay bills, your guarantor will be held accountable. For your guarantor to be accepted, they’ll need to have a monthly net income that is triple your monthly rent payments.
What happens if I, or my guarantor fail referencing?
If you fail referencing, you will have to explain why you have failed in order that your landlord can decide whether or not to offer you the tenancy. This is on the basis that your guarantor has passed referencing. If your guarantor fails referencing, you will either have to find another guarantor or pay your rent in advance.
When do I pay my deposit and rent?
The tenancy deposit is an amount – usually equivalent to one month’s rent – to protect against any breaches of the tenancy agreement including damage or rent arrears. The money is repaid at the end of the tenancy, subject to an inspection. The deposit is due 30 days before the tenancy begins. You will usually be asked to pay your first month's rent in advance of the tenancy start date and then you will usually pay monthly once your tenancy beings, depending on what is outlined in your Tenancy.
How do I pay my rent?
Your rent payments are always paid in advance on a fixed day each month, usually the same day your tenancy started. Most tenants pay rent by monthly standing order. A standing order is simply a written instruction from you to your bank, stating how much, how often and for how long a certain amount of money needs to be paid from your bank to our bank or the landlord’s account. It is your responsibility to ensure the standing order is set up. Just because you have a standing order in place it doesn’t automatically mean that the money arrives on time.
I’m an international student, how do this affect my rent payments?
If you cannot provide a UK based guarantor, you must pay rent in advance. This is usually for the full term of your tenancy, but can be negotiable. Please contact the team to discuss your alternative options.
What happens if I pay my rent late?
Late payment of rent is a breach of your tenancy agreement. Notice letters of late payments sent will results in a £30 inc VAT administration fee, which will be added to your rent arrears. If you are aware you may be paying your rent late, please contact us before this as we are here to help and support you. Rent payment must still be paid but we may be able to come up with an arrangement that makes it easier for you to manage your finances.
Am I allowed a pet?
This is dependent on the landlord. If pets are agreed upon it is usually subject to extra rent, deposit or you may have to sign a pet addendum. The latter allows you to have a specific pet for an agreed period of time under certain conditions.
Do I have to get my own insurance?
Yes. Your contents are not covered by the landlord’s property insurance so we strongly recommend you take out contents insurance. We also suggest you extend the insurance to cover damage to the landlord’s furniture and fittings as you are responsible for those during your tenancy.
What are the additional costs when renting?
Renting accommodation means paying monthly rent but it also means paying fees and deposits as well as utility bills. You’ll need to budget for these costs. Remember if you are a full-time student you are exempt from council tax. You should also budget for contents insurance which helps you against damage and theft.
Do I need a TV licence?
If you plan on watching television in any live format you will need a TV licence, which costs £145.50 annually. You will not need a TV licence if you are only using your TV to watch content after it has been shown on TV with on-demand services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. For more information, please visit the TV Licensing website here.
Do I have to pay council tax?
Full time students are exempt from council tax. You will need to provide proof that you’re in full-time education which you can usually get from your University administration departments here. If you are working check with Newcastle City Council to see if you qualify for any exemptions or reductions. If is your responsibility to inform the council of your tenancy.
I don’t want to move into the property, can I cancel?
If you have signed a tenancy agreement, you are legally bound by it. However, there are some options: you might be able to find another tenant. Until you have found a replacement you are responsible for the rent payments. Please be absolutely sure you want to rent the property before you sign the tenancy agreement to avoid any difficulties.
What happens when my tenancy begins? How do I move in?
Providing all payments have been made and paperwork completed, you simply come into the office to collect the keys. If your property is let only, your landlord may have a different check in procedure that will be explained to you.
Do I have to let other people view my property when I live there?
There are occasions when we or your landlord need access. Usually this is to show around prospective tenants, to carry out regular inspections or maintenance. This is written in your tenancy agreement. You will always be given at least 24 hours’ notice – usually we contact the head tenant.
Can I leave the tenancy early?
If you are in a fixed-term tenancy agreement with a clear start and end date, neither you or the landlord can force the agreement to end early. A tenancy agreement is legally binding which makes it difficult to leave any tenancy before end date. Although all cases are different and sometimes a replacement can be found, but there is a penalty fee and your contract is still binding until or unless anyone is found.
If I leave before my housemate, am I still responsible for the state of the property when the tenancy ends?
Yes. You are in a joint and several tenancy which means you are all responsible for the state and condition of the property when you leave.
My housemate isn’t paying their rent, what can I do?
If you are renting the same property with a group of people, the tenancy agreement is usually joint and several – meaning all tenants are liable for the total rent. Therefore, if one tenant does not pay rent all tenants are equally liable for the missing payment. Discuss with all housemates why the person hasn’t paid and make it clear that they have a legal responsibility, along with the rest of you to pay the rent. If not paid you all are in breach of the tenancy agreement. If you need further advice, please contact our finance team.
How do I renew my tenancy?
We contact tenants in the October of the tenancy term, alternatively you can contact us directly as soon as you decide to renew. Landlords have the option to agree to renewals, therefore it isn’t always guaranteed that they will approve. There may also be a change in tenancy terms or rent.