Finding a house
For those of you who do not want to live in university-owned accommodation, there is a wide range of private accommodation available in Wrexham.
Here are some tips for finding the right house:
- When looking at private accommodation you must ensure that you are agreeing to live in a property which is safe, secure and well managed.
- Glyndŵr University’s accommodation team maintain an online web register called Student Pad where you can search for suitable properties to rent in and around the Wrexham area.
- Glyndwr University will only advertise properties through Student Pad where the Landlord has Registered with Rent Smart Wales and the manager is also Rent Smart Wales Licenced. It is a criminal offence for a landlord to have not registered and have a licenced manager. Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) also require a separate licence.
- Glyndwr’s accommodation team is available to offer advice and guidance to students who decide to live in private accommodation but it is important to remember that when students rent a property, the tenancy contract is between the student and the landlord. Therefore, students should seek to resolve issues directly with their landlord or the council.
- Please check your contract carefully and pay particular attention to contracts lengths and utility costs. Some Landlords place a cap on the “included” utility charges.
There is a variety of accommodation available for you whilst here at Glyndwr. Please follow this link to Glyndwr University’s website for more information here
There are many different types of accommodation available however most fall into two basic categories – single occupancy (this includes living with a family as a lodger), and multiple occupancy (where you share with two or more friends and/or people you don’t know - HMOs).
Viewing a House
Viewing houses is exciting but you really must go along prepared with questions, such as
- What is the rent for each room? Or are you renting the whole house as a group? If you rent as a group and someone leaves the remaining tenants will usually be responsible for the difference in the rent.
- If every occupant is a full-time student then there is an exemption from paying council tax. If one occupant stops being a student (or becomes a part-time student) then that occupant becomes legally liable for the council tax for the whole property.
- Are bills included in the rental price? If so, which bills, and is there a cap?
- How long is the rental term?
- What furniture comes with the house?
- How much is the deposit? Which scheme does the landlord use? If a deposit is taken the landlord must place it in one of the three custodial schemes.
- Does the property have a mains wired automatic fire detection and alarm system or just battery detectors, or worse still, nothing at all.
You also need to know if the property is licenced as a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) with the local council. It is a criminal offence to have not obtained a licence. The list of licensed HMOs in Wrexham can be found here. If the property is not on the list email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org who can check to see if the licence is in progress.
WE CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO ASK QUESTIONS. IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE GETTING BEFORE YOU SIGN ANYTHING!
Don’t forget that Tenancy Agreements are LEGAL DOCUMENTS. Once you sign, you and every person named on the contract is liable for the rent.
It is also important to look at more than one property before you commit. Don’t feel pressurised into handing over money or signing on the dotted line.
For further information on accommodation check out the NUS Website here:
Your landlord is legally obliged to have all gas appliances checked annually. They must provide you with a copy of the gas safety record or it may be displayed in a prominent position within the property. For more information on your Landlords obligations and gas safety info take a look at www.gassaferegister.co.uk or contact the Gas Safety advice line on 0800 300 363.
Electrical supply and equipment.
Your landlord has a responsibility to ensure that the property and any electrical appliances provided are safe. This includes heaters, cookers, kettles, and any other electrical goods.
It is a legal requirement that the electrical supply within a HMO is checked at least every 5 years. The certificate issued is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) and it must state that the installation is “SATISFACTORY”. Wrexham County Borough Council requires that single occupancy dwellings also have a check at least every five years as recommended by the electrical safety council.
Mains wired interlinked smoke alarms are required in all rented accommodation. These can range from a simple two detector system in a single occupancy house to a mixed system in larger shared dwellings (HMOs).
A safe means of escape in the event of a fire is also required – smaller properties would need solid close fitting doors on the escape route, larger properties need fire doors.
Your new home should have locks on front and rear doors. In a HMO the front door and sometimes the rear door must have a lock that will allow the door to be opened without the use of a key so people can escape easily if the was a fire, but it must also ensure that the house is secure. Window locks on the ground floor and other accessible windows are a deterrent to burglars. Make sure doors are locked and windows are shut when you go out, and do not leave valuables such as laptop computers in view. Most burglaries occur in properties where access is easily obtained through open windows or unlocked doors.
Living with Friends
Before you commit to a tenancy agreement you need to consider that once you sign you are also committing to living with your fellow housemates for the length of the tenancy.
It is a good idea to establish ground rules for your new home. Here are a few things you should consider:
- A cleaning rota
- Is smoking allowed within the property?
- A kitty for household essentials like loo roll and cleaning products.
- Are you sharing food or buying separately?
- Are you making use of separate cupboard space?
- Can fellow housemates access your room when you are not there?
- How will you manage your bills?
- How will conflict within the house be resolved?
There may be times when you and your housemates do not see eye to eye, this is inevitable. Treat your housemates as you would like to be treated and have respect for each other. Establishing ground rules and respecting each other throughout your tenancy should lead to a happy home. Please also have consideration for your neighbours and restrict the playing of loud music at unsociable times.
Remember, if you have any problems or questions, let us know!