NUstudenthomes PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICE A GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS

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1 NUstudenthomes PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICE A GUIDE FOR LANDLORDS NUstudenthomes Student Services Newcastle University King s Gate Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU Tel

2 WHAT IS THE NUstudenthomes PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICE? The NUstudenthomes Property Management Service within the Accommodation Service has been operating since 1978, when it was first introduced to improve both the quantity and quality of housing being made available to students at Newcastle University. Since then it has developed and expanded into a leading provider of student properties in the city, offering good quality, affordable accommodation to students, as well as providing a professional and understanding approach to landlord s needs and requirements. We believe our success has rested on the fact that the majority of students use our office as the first point of contact when beginning their search for accommodation. What is more, we have found that many students continue to live in our properties until they have completed their studies, while most of our landlords renew their properties with us year after year. There are many considerations to take into account when managing student properties in the private sector. Firstly, you need to market your property to students. Then there are the maintenance demands and necessary improvements to be organised, which contracts to use and what do they mean? What about cleaning the property, dealing with tenant damage and turning your property around at the end of the tenancy, ready for the next group of students? Finally, there is the all important collection of rent. These are some of the things that you need to think about when considering letting your property out to student tenants.

3 By managing the property for you, we will effectively become the landlord for the students, dealing with all the above issues on your behalf, as well as any other problems or situations which may arise during the period of tenancy. In short, we will take the stress out of student housing management, providing a service that will deal effectively and efficiently with your needs as a landlord. WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER NUstudenthomes PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICE? NUstudenthomes offers a full management service. This means that once we have let the property and the students have moved in, we will take care of any issues that may arise. With a lot of our landlords living outside the area and even abroad, we believe that this level of service is not only desirable but also essential. WHAT BENEFITS CAN YOU EXPECT FROM US? Guaranteed Rent Payments Quarterly in Advance: As soon as tenants have signed for and paid deposits against the property, subject to contract, the owner is assured of the rent for the contractual period. If there are any debts incurred by the students defaulting on their rent payments, these are automatically met by the University. Your income is not affected. Reparation for Avoidable Damage to Property: Damage deposits are collected from the students and held by the University. These deposits are used where necessary to make good any damage (with the exception of fair wear and tear) resulting from student action (e.g. neglect or accidental damage) so as to avoid financial loss to the owner. However, it is worth emphasising at this point that students coming into our properties are generally well

4 behaved and it is fair to say that we have relatively few incidences of damage. Efficient and Effective Management of the Property: We offer day to day management of the property. This includes regular inspections of the property, the reporting, organisation and inspection of repairs and the often demanding task of checking, cleaning and turning properties around between tenancies. Please note we will not undertake larger repairs or capital works on behalf of owners. Professional Advertising of your Property: Based in the heart of the University Campus and easily accessible to all our students, our office provides an excellent marketing opportunity for your property. This includes the publication of property lists, as well as professionally produced adverts (complete with photograph) displayed within our office. Students are also able to search for properties on line through our website. No Fees and Free Preparation of all Contracts: We charge no fees for finding you tenants. All contracts and related documents are also prepared free of charge. Guaranteed Return of the Property: When the lease expires, if for whatever reason you no longer want to let the property, you will be able to take it back. This is due to the fact that student tenants under the University do not have protection under the 1996 Housing Act. Experience Counts: As a team we all have many years of housing experience and specialist knowledge of the student letting market.

5 WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NOW? Get in Touch: If you want to find out more, or are interested in us managing your property, please phone us and we will arrange a time when we can call round to see your property. We must stress that we would only consider managing properties in the popular student areas. Property Visit: The Accommodation Service will carry out an initial inspection of the property to take full details and offer advice on furnishings, fittings, rent levels, contracts and other legal points. We will also discuss the various standards that must be complied with and answer any questions you may have about our service, or indeed the student letting market in general. Rent Offer: We will send you a detailed written rent offer (subject to contract) which will stipulate the amount of rent offered, the rental period (usually 12 months), as well as any repairs or improvements we believe need to be made to the property before the students move in. HOW DO YOU LET MY PROPERTY? Advertising and Marketing: Our office markets all properties on our office property display boards and online through our website. Properties advised via our management service receive better coverage, with larger, specially produced adverts giving extended property details along with supporting photographs. Our managed properties will also receive a higher profile on our website. Our team of experienced and qualified staff is always on hand to promote properties and offer much needed guidance to students who are beginning their search for properties. It is this combination of student approachability, professional advertising, along with our specialist

6 knowledge of our managed housing stock, that places us in a unique position when letting your property. While January through to early March is our busiest advertising period, we market properties throughout the year. During the summer months large numbers of Postgraduate students apply for accommodation through our office. We hold House Hunting weekends during the summer where Postgraduate students get the opportunity to view the properties we have on offer. These events have proved very successful in the past and have resulted in many properties being let. Viewing: The Accommodation Service will organise property viewing for prospective tenants, mainly via accompanied viewings. Signing up Tenants: Once we have found a group of students we will discuss the conditions of the contract with them, get them to sign for the property, and collect damage deposits from each member. WHAT HAPPENS ONCE MY PROPERTY IS LET? Owner s Contract: We will forward you a contract that needs to be signed and returned to us as soon as possible. Upon receipt of this we will return to you a signed copy for your records. If you have any queries about the contract you are welcome to contact us to discuss it. Student Contract: Once we receive your completed contract we invite the students in to sign their contract with us. We go through the terms of the contract with them and run through what is expected of them as our tenants. This is outlined in the Conditions of Tenancy Booklet which each group is issued with.

7 Inventory of Property: Just prior to the tenants moving in we will carry out an in depth property inspection at which time a detailed inventory will be drawn up. Décor, carpets, fittings and all furnishings will be noted along with a description of their condition. One copy is given to the owner and another to the tenants at the start of the tenancy. Both parties are advised to check the inventory thoroughly and if no comments are made at this stage it is accepted as an accurate record to be referred to throughout the tenancy. At the end of the tenancy the inventory is checked and an assessment made of likely cleaning or possible tenant damage, and fair wear and tear.

8 WHAT ABOUT THE DAY TO DAY MANAGEMENT OF MY PROPERTY? We offer: Termly Inspections: We carry out termly inspections of each property noting any repairs which may need attending to, ensuring that the students are looking after the property, and generally making sure everything is of a satisfactory nature. We keep you informed of our findings from these visits. Utilities: The Accommodation Service advises new tenants of the need to register for gas, electricity and telephone liabilities and goes on to offer guidance on how to organise this. As the properties are let to full time students they are exempt from Council Tax. You as the owner retain full responsibility for all water rate charges during the tenancy. Rent Payments: We arrange for your rent to be promptly paid quarterly in advance directly into your bank account. Day to Day Queries: Our office handles all day to day queries and requests that come in from students, landlords or outside agencies. We deal with all correspondence and call outs that are required to ensure our service runs smoothly. Emergency Call Out: The Accommodation Service has an emergency call out procedure which involves central University Precinct Services staff being available out of office hours to deal with emergencies which may arise. An example of this could be a student getting locked out of the property. We also have an emergency contractor on call 24 hours a day to deal with any urgent repair (e.g. burst pipe

9 or break in) which happens when the office is closed. The cost of these repairs would be passed on to you. End of Tenancy Turnaround: Once the students have gone and the keys have been handed in we carry out the final inspection. We ensure that the house is cleaned and made ready for the next group of tenants. With your prior notification, we also organise any repairs or improvement works that may be necessary. We also assess and rectify any student damage we may find, passing this cost onto the tenants. HOW ARE REPAIRS CARRIED OUT? All outstanding repairs on the property must be rectified before the start date of the contract. If any are identified at the initial visit to the property, you will be notified of these and informed in your rent offer letter. We strongly encourage all new owners using our service to allow us to arrange all repairs from the start of tenancy. This is part of the Management Service and minimises the disturbance in time and money to the landlord. We operate a comprehensive repairs service with a full range of specialist, reasonably priced contractors at our disposal. We also employ a handyman who carries out a whole range of smaller repair work, helping to further reduce your maintenance costs. Landlords on the Scheme will be charged a small annual charge towards the cost of employing this member of staff. Repairs representing immediate risk to tenant s health or safety e.g. gas, electricity, water or sanitation should be attended to within 24 hours. Defects which cause loss of facility or are likely to cause further deterioration to the structure/fabric of the building should be rectified within 7 to 14 days.

10 If the repair is identified during the tenancy, this office would confirm the fault and instruct the required contractor to proceed. After the work is completed the contractor would forward the bill to the University who would then settle the invoice before deducting the amount from your next rent payment. If owners choose to use their own contractors, the work must be carried out to a high standard. If the above response rates are not followed, the University reserves the right to arrange for the work to be carried out and charge the owner. WHAT STANDARDS DOES MY PROPERTY HAVE TO MEET? What Students Expect: The days of students living in substandard, cramped accommodation have long gone. Students expectations continue to rise in respect of quality, comfort and facilities and they expect value for money. What is more, even with the gradual increase in student numbers that we have experienced over the past few years, there is still a surplus of student properties in Newcastle. It is in your best interest to have your property furnished and decorated to a high standard, not only to benefit the students, but to increase your chances of letting your property. Central heating, telephone points, washing machine, fridgefreezer, burglar alarm and shower facilities are all amenities that students expect to have. Students are also increasingly looking at the condition of the decoration, carpets and furnishings of properties, as well as the quality of the kitchens and bathrooms before making their choice of where to live. The study bedroom is also very important and therefore there is a need for study and facilities over and above that which is provided in non student accommodation. For further details of what should be

11 provided see enclosed Suggested Fixtures & Fittings Checklist. Gas Safety All gas appliances and pipework must be checked annually by a Gas Safe registered installer in accordance with the Gas Safety Regulations. A safety certificate (CP12 or equivalent) must be provided to us confirming this has been carried out. Security Measures Landlords must ensure that the following security measures are installed at their property:- The front door must have a good quality 5 lever mortice lock fitted with viewer and chain. The rear door must have a 5 lever mortice lock fitted with a barrel bolt (200mm minimum) and hinge bolts to outward opening doors. Ideally all external doors should be made of a satisfactory hardwood. UPVC doors with multi point locking are acceptable. Frame to frame window locks must be fitted to the ground floor and vulnerable first floor windows. Electrical Safety Landlords must ensure that a suitable test of electrical safety is carried out by either an NICEIC, ECA, BRE, BSI, NAPIT or Elecsa approved contractor. A certificate confirming electrical safety must be submitted with proof that any defects itemised as 1 or 2 have been rectified by an NICEIC, ECA, BRE, BSI, NAPIT or Elecsa approved contractor. This test must be repeated every 5 years. In addition a visual inspection of all socket outlets, switches, lamp holders, distribution boards and safety devices prior to commencement of each academic year is

12 needed and if any defects are discovered they must be remedied. Energy Performance Certificate As from 1 st October 2008 where a property is being let an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required. These must be carried out by a qualified and licensed Domestic Energy Assessor. An EPC will give the property an Energy Efficiency Rating and recommendations on how to improve its performance. For letting purposes the EPC is valid for 10 years. For further information go to or contact Newcastle City Council Public Health Department on Please do not carry out any work until you have spoken to them. Fire Safety It is important to take measures in the home to guard and warn against fire. The standard relies upon early detection and warning in the event of fire by means of interlinked mains wired smoke and heat detectors, with self closing doors in the risk areas of smaller properties and to most rooms in larger properties. (For further details of where to site the smoke detectors and door closers please contact the Accommodation Service). Amenities The Amenity Standards are designed to minimise serious inconvenience to tenants and to ensure that proper standards of personal hygiene can be maintained. All properties must have at least one of the following with properties for 7 or more persons containing 2 of each: Gas or electric cooker with minimum of four burners/hobs, oven and grill. If two means of cooking are required in a larger property, one cooker and one microwave is acceptable. Toilet

13 Hand basin with hot and cold water supply Bath or shower with hot and cold water supply HMO LICENSING From April 2006 any property which is three storeys or more with five or more occupants is subject to mandatory licensing requirements. The three storeys include any attic or basement accommodation within the property as well as entrance lobby/reception area. A five bedroomed maisonette would therefore be included. For further details about mandatory licensing please contact Newcastle City Council Public Health Department on or look on their website: Information on HMO Licensing can also be found at

14 As owners of properties on the NUstudenthomes Property Management Scheme we recognise that you will expect us to make prompt rent payments and look after the property in a professional manner without making unreasonable maintenance demands. We aim to act as a model landlord to our students by providing good quality affordable accommodation as well as providing a swift and responsive repairs and advice service. If you are interested in letting your property via NUstudenthomes please do not hesitate to contact us.

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