Frequently Asked Questions
How can I find a house?
There is a lot of housing available in Bristol so don’t panic and you don’t need to rush your decision into finding housemates. Check out the UWE find a flatmate group or the number of accommodation agencies in the city.
We have found a house and the landlord wants us to pay a £300 deposit each and sign the contract by tomorrow to guarantee the house is ours. Is this normal practice?
You should not pay a deposit until a tenancy agreement has been signed and we would recommend that you always get your contract checked prior to signing. Remember – as soon as you sign a tenancy or licence agreement you are entering into a legally binding document and therefore you should make sure you fully understand the terms of the agreement. If the landlord won’t let you take the contract away or give you time to get it checked then you should think twice. A good landlord should be happy for you to seek advice before signing anything. We offer a free contract checking service to all students so please bring your tenancy agreement to us and we will take a copy for you and read it!
My landlord has asked for a UK guarantor but I'm an international student - what should I do?
There is an organisation called UK Guarantor which can act as a guarantor for you, for a small fee. Check out their website for more information.
My landlord has said that I need to show him my passport before I sign a tenancy, is this ok?
Yes! From 1st Feb 2016 all prospective tenants will be required to provide evidence to show that they are legally entitled to live in the UK. All students will be asked to show their passport/residence permit, which the landlord/agent will take a copy a copy of while you are there. You should not leave your documents with a landlord/agent.
I’ve been in my house for a few months now but am really not getting along with some of the other housemates. I’m desperate to move out, can I just go?
Before we can advise on your specific situation, we would need to see your tenancy agreement so please come and see us in the Advice Centre. Generally though, most students have fixed term tenancies, often between 9 - 12 months, and once signed you do have a rent liability for that whole period whether you live there or not. The effects of this on your other housemates will differ depending on whether it is a joint or individual agreement and we can explain this to you when we see you. Some landlords may allow you to find a replacement tenant to take your place but again, you need to make sure this is done properly so do come and see us for advice before you move out and stop paying your rent!
We have lots of disrepair in our house and have rung the landlord but he is not doing anything about it. What would you recommend?
It would be useful for you to come into the Advice Centre with your tenancy agreement so that we can discuss your specific situation in more detail. As a general guide, we advise all students to communicate with their landlord in writing as this gives you a paper-trail of evidence, clearly showing when requests were made. By law, your landlord has a duty to repair certain things, regardless of whether these are expressly stated in your contract or not, so do come and see us so that we can assist you.
Do I need to pay council tax?
As a full-time student you will be exempt from council tax payments for the period of your course. The University sends a list of all full time registered students to the council, so you shouldn't get a bill, but sometimes mistakes happen. You might have to prove to the council that you are a full time student and that you don't have to pay - to do this you all the full time students in the property need to get a letter confirming their student status from your faculty/school reception. This needs to be sent to the Council Tax department of Bristol City Council.
Students living in UWE managed Halls of Residence are automatically exempt from Council Tax. The rules for part-time students are different so we recommend you come and see us if you are part-time so that we can advise on your specific situation. If you live with non-students but are a full-time student yourself, you will not be liable for council tax but your housemates are likely to be, but don’t panic, the council will only pursue the non-students for the council tax liability, not the students.
The Advice Centre produce leaflets on various aspects of accommodation, which you can find online. These provide short, useful sections of key information.