Council Tax is a property-based tax paid to the local authority where the accommodation is based, and all full-time students are exempt from paying it. However, you must make sure that your local authority knows you are exempt otherwise they will charge you and non-payment could lead to prosecution!
Getting along with your neighbours
If you are moving into accommodation in a residential area, spare a thought for your non-student neighbours. For you, a new year and new accommodation should be a time of excitement and optimism - however, your non-student neighbours may fear the start of each academic year (“new students, new problems”)!
Remember, your neighbours know nothing about you - if your predecessors have caused problems by making lots of noise, leaving rubbish outside the house and generally disregarding their neighbours, you may be viewed with hostility. It is up to you to make a good impression and reassure them that this year they have tenants who are going to be thoughtful and considerate.
When you first move in, we would recommend that you introduce yourself to your neighbours - you can do this by going round and knocking on the door or by putting a card through their letterbox, letting them know who you are and that you want to get along.
- If you or others in the house have cars, try to park considerately.
- Don’t store rubbish - put your bins out at the correct times and take them in afterwards.
- Take pride in the front of the property so that it doesn’t ‘stand out’ as a student house.
- Think about the noise you make, particularly late at night. Does your neighbour work shifts? Have they got young children? Try to be considerate to those living around you.
- Private house parties often have problems and complications, if at all possible arrange your party in a private function room in a pub or club, the venue will often not charge you for this.
While getting along with our neighbours may seem obvious, if they feel they can talk to you when they have a problem, they may be more likely to do this rather than report you to the Council or Police.
For information about what can happen if your neighbour complains about you, see our page Neighbourhood Complaints against Students.
Television (TV) Licence information
You will need a TV licence to:
- Watch or record programs as they’re being shown on TV, or live on an online TV service.
- Download or watch BBC programs on iPlayer.
This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.
If you are all listed on one tenancy agreement (joint & several liability), then you will only need one licence for the house.
If you have individual tenancies, you will each need a licence.
For information about TV licences and where to get one, see the TV Licencing website.
If you do not need a licence (for example, if you only watch programmes on DVD or via a subscription service such as Netflix), you should inform TV Licencing of this.
Gas Safety Certificate
It is the landlord’s legal responsibility to organise an annual gas safety check by a specialised engineer, which should result in a Gas Safety Certificate. They are also obliged to (a) issue a copy of the certificate to any existing tenant after a check, and (b) issue a copy to any new tenants before they move in.
If a landlord doesn't do this, contact the local HSE office (0800 300 363) - failure to follow gas safety requirements is a criminal offence, and the HSE have the option of prosecuting your landlord if they don’t comply –. For more information about regulations on gas safety, see our housing safety page.
Gas Safe Register
Any engineer wanting to legally work on gas appliances and installations (e.g. a gas boiler) in a tenancy must be on the "Gas Safe Register". Any Gas Safe Registered engineer should have a special card, which you should ask to see.
Carrying out gas work with a non-Gas Safe Registered engineer is not a good idea for your landlord - breaching the Gas Safety Regulations is a criminal offence, with the Health & Safety Executive empowered to bring proceedings against the landlord/agent responsible. The standard penalty is a £6000 fine per item and/or 6 months’ imprisonment. Your landlord could also invalidate their insurance cover.
If this is a problem that has affected you, contact either the Health & Safety Executive on 0800 300 363, or get in touch with the SU Advice Centre.