In the next week or two, the new academic year gets underway. Most students will already be at their accommodation for the year and settled in ahead of their first, second or third academic year of their degree, or the place they are living while studying postgraduate qualifications. For most students, it is the first time living in a property owned by someone other than their parents. Living in an HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) is vastly different from living in halls. You have certain responsibilities.
While the landlord will do everything they can to make the property secure, it is a collective responsibility to maintain the security of the property by using locks and alarms where present. That means ensuring windows are closed before you go out, locking doors and not leaving easy access points for potential burglars. Secure the garage or shed and use deadlocks where available. Make sure you close and lock any back gate at the end of every night. Follow any specific security instructions that the property owner requests.
Duty of Care
It is your responsibility to leave the property in the same condition it was at the tenancy’s start. That means taking extreme care not to damage anything and to treat the property with respect. However, accidents will happen. Repairing, replacing or otherwise owning up to damage that you caused will ensure a continuing good relationship with the property owners and with fellow students. Offering to pay for damage so that the group isn’t penalised will also maintain good household relationships.
Pay Bills in a Timely Fashion
It’s much easier today to ensure that bills (utilities, internet, television license) are paid on time. Consider setting up a direct debit from one of your accounts while the others transfer their share the day before. Maybe choose one responsible person for paying the bills and collecting the share from everyone else. Do whichever works best for you; the most important thing is that you are not late paying the bills. Losing services for non-payment of bills could lead to that service being cut off for the other students too. It could also reflect badly on the landlord-tenant relationship.
Be a Good Neighbour
It’s easy for groups of students to get carried away with living away from home. In most cases, you will be living in a residential area. That means surrounded by working families, families with children, and older people. Students have a bad reputation for noise and partying all night, especially during the autumn at the start of the year and summer at the end. Some residents oppose the presence of students because of the noise nuisance. Nobody wants to stop you having fun, but your duty as a tenant is to be a good neighbour and exercise common sense.