*NEWS* The teams in Student Services will be leaving the SIC and moving to Catalyst on 30th July (apart from Counselling who will be staying in Milton House).
The information on this page is for students living off campus, whether in Ormskirk or further afield. If you have any questions not answered here then get in touch with the team: email@example.com or 01695 584200.
Moving off campus for the first time is a big step which is why we’ve put together this section to help you find the right property and avoid potential pitfalls.
Finding Your Place
To access information on off-campus vacancies, please click on the button below:
- Please login with your network Student ID and password to the Student Homepage;
- Once logged in you will find the Student Accommodation Finder within the ‘Student Support’ panel;
- You can then click on Current Vacancies by clicking on the relevant town (self-catering vacancies);
- You will be able to find out more details about the property by clicking on the name of the property record.
For a list of our top tips for househunting, please click here. It is important to not panic into signing for the first property you see and to take time to evaluate all your options before committing to any contracts/agreements.
In order to register with us, landlords must supply the Accommodation Team with a current registration form, a valid gas safety certificate, and a copy of their contract.
The off campus housing list for the next academic year 2018/19 will be released at our Housing Fair on Tuesday 5th December 2017. For more information, visit our Housing Week page.
If you are a postgraduate student or you are an applicant wanting off-campus accommodation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance or view our postgraduate accommodation section.
Tenant Reference Letters
We are unable to provide a personal tenant reference direct to third parties due to data protection.
However, if you have lived in halls you can request a letter to confirm your accommodation fee payments are up to date. Please email our Halls Fees Team at email@example.com for more information.
Contracts, Deposits & Rents
Types of contract
In the private sector, you will come across different types of contracts. The main types of contract are:
• Shorthold tenancy agreement (individual contract for a fixed term period)
• Joint shorthold tenancy agreement (joint contract between all tenants for a fixed term period)
You should clarify with your landlord what type of contract they use for their property.
Please note that the University only registers properties that use an individual shorthold tenancy agreement rather than a joint tenancy. Joint tenancies usually mean that all tenants are liable for rent as a group rather than individually. This can create problems if one tenant was to withdraw from the contract, as the remaining tenants would be liable for the withdrawn tenant’s rent.
For more information on contracts, please visit the Shelter website.
Tenancy Deposit Schemes
Tenancy deposit protection (TDP) schemes guarantee that tenants will get their deposits back at the end of the tenancy, if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and do not damage the property. Landlords must protect their tenants’ deposits using a TDP scheme if they have let the property on an assured shorthold tenancy which started on or after 6 April 2007. If these conditions do not apply – for example, if the landlord lives in the property with the tenants – the landlord does not have to protect tenants’ deposits.
Landlords or agents must use one of the three approved TDP schemes to protect tenants’ deposits where these conditions apply. If any other scheme is used, deposits are not protected in law. The three approved schemes are:
• Deposit Protection Service (DPS): depositprotection.com
• MyDeposits: mydeposits.co.uk
• Tenancy Deposit Scheme: tenancydepositscheme.com
If a landlord fails to protect your deposit, they can be taken to court and made to repay your deposit plus between one and three times the amount of your deposit. Within thirty days of paying your deposit, your landlord must provide you with this information:
• The contact details of the tenancy deposit scheme
• The contact details of the landlord or agent
• The address of the rented property and the amount of deposit paid
• Name and contact details of any third party that has paid the deposit
• Items or services covered by the deposit
• The circumstances under which the landlord will be able to retain some or all of the deposit
• What to do if there is a dispute over how much deposit should be returned
• Your deposit should be paid back within ten days of the end of your tenancy.
If you break the terms of the tenancy agreement you and the landlord should agree on how much should be deducted from the deposit. If you are unhappy with the amount the landlord wants to deduct from the deposit or the landlord/agent refuses to engage in the deposit return process, you are entitled to raise the issue with the relevant tenancy deposit scheme.
For more information visit gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview.
As part of their contract, most landlords will ask for a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who agrees to vouch for a tenant’s ability to guarantee payment of all rent, as well as any damage that the tenant may cause. Should the tenant default on rent payments and/or fail to pay for any damage caused to the landlord’s property, the landlord may proceed against the guarantor for payment to be made.
The University are not able to act as a guarantor for any registered student.
Your landlord may ask for a summer retainer to reserve your room for you over the summer. It does not mean you can occupy the property unless otherwise agreed by your landlord. As a rule, retainers are not returnable and do not constitute payment of rent, usually half rent over the number of weeks prior to occupancy.
Rents & Bills
Make sure that you are clear as to how much your weekly rent is and if a deposit is payable. Your contract should state the total amount due over the course of the fixed term and how much is payable on which dates.
Landlords usually ask for rent to be paid in three instalments in September, January or April to coincide with student loan payments. However, most are flexible in altering the dates to suit your financial situation. Always retain proof of payments.
It is important to carefully budget and plan your finances throughout the year so that you can be certain of covering your rent payments. You can access advice and support by contacting the Money Advice Team on 01695 657 250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit the team’s webpages at edgehill.ac.uk/moneyadvice for lots more information and advice.
Repairs and Maintenance
When reporting faults, it is a good idea to confirm any requests to your landlord via email or other written communication (text or letter).
Make sure that you clearly state the issue and ask that it is resolved within a reasonable period. If the issue is not resolved within the specified period, it is advisable that you send a formal signed letter.
It is a good idea to keep a copy of all emails, letters or other correspondence so that, if required, you can provide evidence that you have raised issues to your landlord. Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords are legally bound to keep the structure and exterior of the house in repair and in proper working order.
• Installation of water, gas and electricity supplies
• Repairs to the roof, floor, walls and windows
• Upkeep of the gutters, pipes and drains
• Repairs of plumbing and sanitary convenience, i.e. baths, showers, toilets, sinks
• Repair of electrical wiring, gas plumbing, fixed heaters, central heating and water heaters
• Repair of window frames, internal doors and glass frames
• Repairs to the bath, basins, boiler and pipework
In addition, landlords are expected to keep their property up to a standard fit for human habitation. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have the legal power to take court action against any landlord who provides poor living conditions.
Damp and Mould
Tenants often mistake a case of bad condensation for damp. Condensation will form readily in the winter months when it is cold outside but it is rarely a sign of an underlying damp issue and, unless left for a long period, will not provide harmful to health or do damage to the structure of the house.
If you do notice moisture forming on walls or windows, it is likely to be caused by condensation. There are measures you can take to decrease the prevalence of condensation, including:
• Ensuring that the heating is kept on when it is cold
• Ensuring that there is adequate ventilation of the property by regularly opening windows to allow air to circulate
• Not drying washing inside the house
In some cases, moisture in the property can be an indication that there is a more serious problem and that damp is getting into the structure of the building. In such cases, it is important that you make your landlord aware so that steps can be taken.
For more information about condensation and damp, take a look at the Damp and Mould Guide.
Your landlord has a responsibility for ensuring that your home is a safe and comfortable living environment.
If you are concerned that the landlord is not meeting his/her contractual obligations or if a problem develops that needs addressing, it is important that you highlight your concerns to your landlord as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by outlining the issue in an email or letter. This allows you to keep a record of correspondence and means you can refer back to a previous communication if needed.
You can contact the Environmental Health section at West Lancashire Borough Council if you feel that the situation requires their intervention (westlancs.gov.uk).
Fire Safety in the Private Sector
The chances of fire occurring are higher if you live in a shared student house. It is important that you make fire safety a priority when you move into your house off campus. Your landlord has a responsibility to ensure that the premises comply with fire safety legislation but it is a good idea to check that these basic points are being met:
- Smoke detectors: Ensure the property has mains wired or wireless smoke detectors and ask the landlord to carry out a test demonstration for you
- Fire blankets: These are particularly important in shared kitchens, so make a point of checking that one is present.
- Gas appliances: It is a legal requirement that gas appliances are 100% safe and this must be proven annually by a professional inspection – ask to see the gas safety certificate.
- Carbon monoxide: Whilst not strictly a fire safety issue, a landlord must ensure that carbon monoxide detectors have been fitted in areas containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire or wood burning stove). Even if the boiler has been safety checked things can sometimes go wrong – and leaking carbon monoxide poses a real threat to life – for more information – Carbon Monoxide Regulations.
- Plugs and wiring: Make sure that there are no trailing or exposed wires anywhere as they could potentially spark and cause an electrical fire. Also check that plug sockets are not excessively overloaded and that the sockets themselves are not cracked or loose – faulty electrics cause over 7000 house fires a year.
- Fireproof furnishings: When looking for a student house you will usually require it to be ready furnished. Make sure that the furnishings provided are fire resistant. Check this with the landlord.
- Escape route: The first thing you should do when you move into a new house is to make sure the escape route is pre-planned and everybody knows what it is. Have a phone available to call the Fire Service and your keys accessible so you can open the exits. Think about where a fire would be most likely to start and plan the escape route around that; make sure large objects like bicycles don’t end up blocking the planned escape route.
- Prevention and planning: Day-to-day fire safety is crucial, so regularly check your fire alarms, avoid using candles indoors, and close all interior doors during the night.
Please also read government advice about how you can protect yourself and your belongings from fire.
Legal Advice and Complaints
The Department of Law at Edge Hill University have free legal advice sessions available to all students and staff.
For more information, please visit edgehill.ac.uk/law/about/law-clinic.
Please note that the University are not able to represent students in legal matters, however we are able to act as an advisory body within our competency.
For other information, students are advised to book an appointment with the Edge Hill Students’ Union Advice Centre.
As the University does not have any legislative powers, you should report any malpractice in the private sector to the Private Sector Housing Team at West Lancashire Borough Council (email@example.com) who will be able to advise you further.
Staying Safe in the Community
Whilst living in the local community, it is important that you take all steps to keep yourself safe. Students can be targeted by thieves, especially during the first few weeks of a new academic year. Here is some important guidance to help keep you safe.
You can minimise the risk of becoming a victim of crime by:
- Ensuring that you lock doors and windows whenever you go out, even if it is only for a few minutes.
- Keeping valuables such as laptops, mobile phones and music equipment locked up and out of sight.
- Marking your property with an ultra violet pen.
- Making the property look lived in, even when you are out. Use timer switches for lights.
- Ensuring windows and doors are secured before going to sleep.
- Not leaving valuable portable items within easy reach of the window.
When Out and About
- Whenever possible, avoid walking or cycling after dark in poorly lit areas, especially if alone.
- Try to avoid walking alone at night. Take a friend with you if you have to go out. Always let someone know where you are going and what time you may be back.
- After a night out, try to get a lift from a friend who hasn’t been drinking or use public transport. Wait with a friend; do not accept lifts from strangers. Do not get into an unknown vehicle.
- If you suspect you are being followed or feel your safety is endangered, head for a public place and seek assistance.
- Take particular care when withdrawing money from cash points. Be aware that you are vulnerable when handling your cash and card. Do not use cash points at night, think ahead and withdraw any cash during the day.
- Keep a £1 coin and 20p in your pocket – useful if your purse/wallet or mobile telephone is stolen.
- Carry a personal attack alarm.
- It’s local – updates are specific to the area where you live or work.
- Choose the topics interest you – from community safety to rural crime and volunteering opportunities.
- Find out what’s really happening in your area – receive regular crime updates and learn about what your local neighbourhood policing team is doing.
- Information you can trust – get the real facts from a reliable source.
- Help us to help your community – find out who in your community is subject to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, let us know if they break them and help identify suspected or wanted criminals.
- Get involved – learn about community groups, events or meetings happening in your area.
- Get updates for your workplace or a friend or relative – you can register multiple addresses to receive updates on more than one area.
- It’s completely free to sign up – you won’t have to pay a penny to subscribe to the service.
- You’re in control – choose whether you receive updates by SMS text, email or voice message.
- Manage your account online – you can change what information you receive, when and how, at any time by logging into your account on this website. It’s quick and easy to do.
- Let us know how we’ve been doing – you will be able to reply to emails and text messages you receive and give your views on what issues your local neighbourhood policing team should be addressing in your area.
Please note: This service is not monitored out of office hours and is not for reporting crimes or incidents. To report these please contact Lancashire Police on 101.
To register for regular updates, please visit stayintheknow.co.uk.
Be a Good Neighbour
While you are living in the community, it is important to introduce yourself to your neighbours. This will help to create a positive relationship and they will appreciate the effort.
Here are some useful tips to help you:
- Noise levels – When you are living in a house of multiple occupation, more people can lead to higher noise levels. Remember to be considerate of your neighbours whilst living off campus, especially if you are playing music. Under the Student Code of Behaviour, the University does act if there are any noise complaints about your property and disciplinary sanctions may be issued once an investigation has been completed. Extreme cases can result in a fine of up to £5000 from West Lancashire Borough Council and any belongings such as stereos can be confiscated.
- Parking – Parking can be a problem in the local area, so don’t bring your car unless you have to and have adequate parking at your property. Alternatively, you can use public transport links from Ormskirk linking to nearby cities such as Liverpool or Preston. You can also use the Edgelink Bus Service free of charge with your unicard.
Local tenant and residents groups
- New Ormskirk Residents Group (NORG) – local residents group who meet monthly to discuss a large range of topics affecting the local community. They are contactable by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ormskirk Community Partnership (OCP) – an organisation established by local residents to promote Ormskirk and to discuss local issues relevant to Ormskirk and the immediate area. For more information, please visit ormskirkcp.org.uk.
Refuse & Recycling
What you need to know
West Lancashire Borough Council has alternative collections:
- One week it is for Green Wheelie Bins for garden rubbish and Blue Wheelie Bins for glass bottles and jars, tins and cans and plastic bottles only.
- The next week is for Grey Wheelie Bins filled with other household rubbish.
- Paper and cardboard is to be presented separately in the blue bags provided.
Put your wheelie bin out before 7.00am for collection and make sure you bring it back in at night. Don’t forget, the collectors will only take rubbish in your bin. They will not take rubbish in bags left on the top of, or beside your bin. You should also check with neighbours to see where your bin should be left.
Failure to comply with these instructions could result in a £60 fixed penalty fine being issued by West Lancashire Borough Council.
For more information and to check local arrangements for rubbish collection, you can visit the West Lancashire Borough Council website (westlancs.gov.uk), or telephone 01695 577177.
If there are 6 or more people living in your household, you are entitled to an extra grey bin. You can apply for this by telephoning West Lancs Council on 01695 577177.
Don’t forget to recycle your waste when you’re on campus as well… recycle at home, recycle at University. For more information about recycling go to edgehill.ac.uk/sustainability.