Students Off Campus

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: accommodation@edgehill.ac.uk or 01695 584200.

Moving off campus for the first time is a big step which is why we’ve put together an Off-Campus Guide to help you find the right property whilst avoiding potential pitfalls.

Once you’ve moved, the Streetwise booklet offers advice on how to make the most of living off campus, while at the same time getting on with your neighbours, staying safe and having respect for the environment around you.

For new students looking for accommodation for the next academic year, we will be running Househunting Workshops in conjunction with the Students’ Union towards the end of November 2017. More details will be emailed to you during your first term.

The Accommodation Team liaises with local property owners to compile a list of vacancies for students each academic year. For the following September, the vacancies are released at our annual Housing Fair held in December. We advise that you wait until this list is released before looking at off campus accommodation.

To access information on off-campus vacancies, please click on the button below:

Please login with your network Student ID and password to view what is available. Once logged in you will find the ‘Student Accommodation Finder’ within the ‘Student Support’ panel. You will be able to find out more details about the property by clicking on the name of the property record.

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.

If you are a postgraduate student or you are an applicant wanting off-campus accommodation, please email accommodation@edgehill.ac.uk for further guidance.

Looking For a House – Useful Tips

1. Off-campus housing list – wait until the list of registered properties is released in December. This will provide you with more choice and you can be sure that the house you select is registered by the Accommodation Team.

2. Don’t panic – allow yourself plenty of time. Don’t take the first house you see.

3. Be prepared – take a notepad and a pen or use your phone to take notes at each house you visit as well as any discussions you have with the landlord. There is also a checklist available on the SU Advice Centre webpages

4. Rent – ensure you have a clear idea of how much deposit and how much weekly rent you can afford to pay. Average Ormskirk rents are £80.00-£100.00 per week.

5. Bills – check your contract to see if your rent includes payment of bills.

6. Be patient – don’t let your fellow house hunters rush you just because they don’t want to look anymore.

7. Support – if possible, take a parent or relative with you to look around properties. Their experience may prove extremely useful.

8. Read all the information – make sure you thoroughly read all information provided by the Accommodation Team prior to visiting properties. If you are unsure of anything, contact us as soon as possible for advice.

9. Ask questions – don’t be afraid to seek clarification from the landlord about any issues of which you are unsure. This is particularly important with regard to the contract.

10. Put everything in writing – ask the landlord to put everything in writing to avoid any misunderstandings later.

11. Request or make an inventory of all items in the property – make sure you get a comprehensive inventory of the property’s contents and that you check things in the presence of the landlord. Only sign and date it, together with the landlord, when you both agree that the inventory is correct.

12. Summer retainers – clarify with the landlord whether you have to pay a summer retainer. This is a reduced rent that you pay for June to September to reserve the house but it does not mean that you can live there during the summer (this is usually for contracts under 52 weeks).

13. Be sure before you sign a tenancy agreement (contract) – finally, don’t sign a contract unless you have viewed the property first and you are 100% sure! Please remember, any contract you sign is a legally binding agreement between you (the tenant) and the landlord and does not involve Edge Hill University.

14. Ask for a copy of your signed contract – make sure you obtain a copy of the contract after you have signed it. You are legally entitled to a copy of your signed contract for your records.

For more information, please read our Off-Campus Guide.

Deposits and Contracts

Landlords, who charge a deposit, are legally required to lodge a deposit payment with a Tenancy Deposit Scheme – for more information on the different schemes, please refer to our Off-Campus Guide (page 16).

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. If you have any queries regarding contracts, please call in to speak with the Accommodation Team along with a copy of the agreement.

There is more information on types of contract in the Off-Campus Guide (page 14-15).

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 hallfees@edgehill.ac.uk for more information.

Please note the University is not able to act as a guarantor – please refer to our Off-Campus Guide for more information (page 17).

Fire Safety

Kitchen Fire 5The chances of fire occurring are higher if you live in a shared student house. As, the photograph shows, the effects of fire can be devastating.
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.

For more advice and guidance about fire safety click here

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 time frame. If the issue is not resolved within the specified time frame it is advisable that you send a formal, signed letter. For further advice on this, please contact the Accommodation Team (accommodation@edgehill.ac.uk).

For more information, please refer to our Off-Campus Guide (page 19).

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 that this is being caused by condensation.There are measures you can take to drastically 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, see this guide – Damp and Mould

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.

If you need guidance about how best to approach an issue with your landlord please call into the Accommodation Office so we can advise you accordingly.

We can also put you in touch with the Environmental Health section of West Lancashire Borough Council if we feel that the situation requires their intervention.

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 (privatesectorhousing@westlancs.gov.uk) who will be able to advise you further. However, if the landlord is registered with the University, please contact us at accommodation@edgehill.ac.uk to make us aware.

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