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FAQs

At Ridley Properties, we have been there as students ourselves and we understand there are many questions and queries about letting a property.

With our experience we have compiled a number of frequently asked questions below that will hopefully cover most of your concerns. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, we will be happy to talk to you and help in any way possible.

General

OFFICE OPENING HOURS:

Monday - Friday: 10am - 4pm 

Christmas Opening Times:
Our offices will close for the Christmas Holidays.

COMPLAINTS

Students wishing to lodge a complaint should do so in writing to Ridley Properties 27 Ridley Place, Newcastle upon Tyne.  NE1 8JN 

WHAT IS ON MY ONLINE ACCONT?

An online account has been made for every tenant. Here you can access details about your property and the following important documents.

-         Signed Tenancy Agreement

-         The Property Handbook

-         The Property’s Inventory

-         Ridley Property’s Bank Details 

HOW DO I LOG INTO MY ONLINE ACCOUNT?

Before your tenancy starts you will be sent your log in details to your online account on http://www.ridleyproperties.com via email. If you have forgotten your log in details, just email us and we shall send them to you again.

Information About Your Tenancy

WHAT WILL I NEED IN ORDER TO SIGN UP FOR A PROPERTY?

• Your 1st month's rent. This is calculated by taking the weekly rental amount per person, multiplying by 52 (weeks in a year) then divided by 12 (months in a year) e.g. £65 per week x 52 = £3,380 divided by 12 = £281.67 per person per month.
Your 1st months rent is payable when you sign the tenancy agreement by cash, debit or credit card. 

Please note debit card payments incur a 69p administration charge, and credit cards incur a 2.9% administration charge

• Your damage deposit - equivalent to 1 months rent rounded up to the nearest £10 e.g. £281.67 rent = £290 deposit.
Your deposit is payable on or before the term of your tenancy agreement begins. e.g. 1st July 2014 by cash, debit, credit card or bank transfer.

 - Students living outside of the UK will need to pay their last 6 months rent upfront before the tenancy commences unless paying rent in full

•Your application fee in the sum of £100 plus VAT per person

• Your student ID card

• Bank Account details so you can set-up a standing order for your future rental payments

• Passport or proof of residence for staying in the UK.

• You and your guarantor will also need to complete a guarantor form which will be sent via Docusign.

WHAT IS THE GUARANTOR FORM FOR?

This is signed by the tenant, the letting agency and the tenant’s guarantor. The guarantor, usually the parent or guardian, must be resident in the UK and signs to agree that in the eventuality of the tenant being unable to pay rent or any outstanding amounts on their account the tenant’s guarantor will pay on their behalf. We cannot give out any keys until we receive all of these forms completed. If you cannot provide a UK based guarantor you would be required to pay your last 6 months rent before to moving in. 

WHAT IS THE DEPOSIT FOR?

The deposit you pay is used to cover the cost of repairs for any damages done to the property whilst you are living there. This is a standard practice undertaken by all letting agents; it is sometimes referred to as a bond.

Your deposit is returned to you at the end of your tenancy agreement once we have inspected the property and we are happy that it is in the same condition as when you moved in.

HOW MUCH IS THE DEPOSIT?

The deposit is the equivalent of 1 calendar months rent. This is rounded up to the nearest £10. 1 calendar month's rent is worked out by this simple calculation: The weekly rent PPPW x 52 (weeks) ÷ 12 (months). The deposit is payable by each individual tenant.

WHERE IS THE DEPOSIT HELD?

The deposit is held by Ridley Properties under The Tenancy Deposit Scheme. https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com

HOW LONG IS THE CONTRACT?

The majority of contracts last for 12 months.  Please check your tenancy agreement.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT WANT TO STAY FOR THE FULL CONTRACT PERIOD?

Under the terms of the contract you are bound to pay for the full period.  In order to leave the contract you will need to find an alternative student/professional to take your place whom both Ridley Properties and your fellow flatmates approve. (Approval from flatmates must be in written form and signed by all other members of the contract - Please ask Ridley Properties for this document).  Our administration fee for dealing with this is £120 plus VAT. If you are able to find a suitable tenant that your flatmates are happy with in order to get your deposit back we would require the following:

 New tenants deposit

 New tenants 1st calendar month rent

• Signed confirmation from all the remaining tenants in the property confirming that you have caused no damage and that you have paid your share of the utility bills up to date.  (Please ask Ridley Properties for this document)

 All your rents to be paid up to the date of you leaving the contact

I DO NOT WANT TO STAY IN THE PROPERTY FOR THE FULL CONTRACT PERIOD; CAN A NON-STUDENT TAKE MY PLACE IN MY TENANCY?

Technically this is fine however if a non-student is a tenant in a student house this removes the house’s exemption from Council Tax. All tenants would then be responsible for paying the council tax which is a minimum of approximately £1000 per year. This is an important factor to discuss with your housemates if you are considering a professional or non-student to take your place in the tenancy. It would also be at the discretion of the landlord to agree or disagree to a non-student tenant.

DO WE NEED A HEAD TENANT?

Yes, you will need to inform us when you sign up for your property who will be your head tenant. This tenant will be the spokesperson for your house; we will require them to speak on behalf of the all the tenants when reporting maintenance and in any other discussion with us. They must also ensure they communicate with the other tenants. This is the most efficient way of communication. 

Rent

PAYING YOUR RENT

Payment is due monthly or quarterly in advance. The first month’s rent is payable upon signing the contract. All students or professionals should provide us with confirmation that they have set up a standing order with the bank prior to the tenancy commencing.  Keys will not be handed out until all tenants have done this.  Rent will be cashed on the agreed date every month; this date is stated in your tenancy agreement. 

WHAT REFERENCE SHOULD I PUT ON MY RENT PAYMENTS?

Please reference all payments like this: House Number and Shortened Road Name/Second Name. For example: 27Ridley/Smith. It is very important for you to put a reference on your payments so that we can process them correctly.

WHAT IS A STANDING ORDER?

A standing order is different to a direct debit. We ask the tenants to set up a standing order with their bank; this asks the bank to send Ridley Properties the agreed amount of rent on the same date of every month. Ridley Properties cannot set up standing orders; this is the tenant’s responsibility.

WHERE CAN I FIND RIDLEY PROPERTY’S BANK DETAILS?

There is a document on your online account which gives the sort code and account number of Ridley Properties. This is the account you should pay all payments into.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY RENT IS LATE?

We would remind you that there is a charge of £30 for every cheque that is returned to us by our bank or every time your rent is not received in time.  For each subsequent letter that is sent out, due to non payment of rent, Ridley Properties reserves the right to levy a £20 administrative fee.  

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM UNABLE TO PAY MY RENT?

Please contact us as soon as possible to explain why you cannot pay the rent; we shall discuss the matter with you and agree on an alternative date that the rent will be paid. 

Moving In

WHEN CAN i COLLECT MY KEYS?

As long as all tenants have paid their deposits and handed in their guarantor forms you are able to collect your keys from the first day of your tenancy. Our office is open Monday – Friday; you may collect keys between 10am -4pm on those days. Please email us with a time that you expect to come in to ensure there is someone in as we often need to pop out to carry out inspections. Please note – you cannot pick up key at the weekend or bank holidays; however you are welcome to send a friend to pick up the keys on your behalf. 

CAN MY FRIEND COLLECT MY KEYS FOR ME?

A friend or relative can collect keys for you but you must email ahead to confirm that you are happy for this to go ahead and provide the name of the person collecting your keys. This is a matter of security.

FILLING IN THE INVENTORY

You will be sent an email once your inventory has been uploaded to your online account. You must then fill it out and return it to our office within 14 days. It is a detailed report of the contents and state of the house when you move in. It is your responsibility to check that it is a correct representation of the property; we shall use this as a reference when calculating your deposit returns.

CAN I PUT UP SHELVES, POSTERS OR PUT NAILS IN THE WALLS?

You must not put up anything on your walls that will alter the paintwork or plaster in any way. Any damage or alterations to the walls will be charged for at the end of the tenancy

I HAVE BROUGHT MY CAR TO UNIVERSITY WITH ME, DO I NEED A PARKING PERMIT?

Please refer to this webpage.

http://www.newcastle.gov.uk/parking-roads-and-transport/parking/parking-permits/resident-parking-permits

It details which streets require parking permits and how to apply for one. We strongly recommend you apply for a permit if you need one before moving into your property to avoid receiving a parking fine.

DOES RIDLEY PROPERTIES SUPPLY MICROWAVES?

We don’t supply microwaves in the majority of our kitchens; however they are cheap to buy from any large supermarket. 

Moving Out

WHEN DO I HAVE TO MOVE OUT?

The last day of the tenancy this is stated clearly on your Tenancy Agreement.  Please check with us if you are unsure of your contract end date. Please note you must vacate the accommodation by 10am on the last day of your contract.

HOW DO I RETURN MY KEYS?

·        Keys must be returned to our office by 12pm on the last day of the contract. Any keys received after this time will be deemed late and charged £20.

·        If you need to return your keys by post please include ONLY your name with the key DO NOT include the property address.

·        If you believe you have lost your keys and will not be able to return them on the last day of the tenancy please let us know as soon as possible so we organise keys for the next tenants. You will be charged £20 for replacing these.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I LEAVE PERSONAL BELONGINGS BEHIND AT THE END OF TENANCY?

This is not the responsibility of Ridley Properties.  Any items left behind at the end of the tenancy will be discarded; you will be charged a minimum of £50 plus VAT if we have to do this. Please ensure you take all of your belongings with you at the end of your tenancy as you will not be granted access to the property after the last day of your tenancy

WHEN WILL I GET MY DEPOSIT BACK AT THE END OF THE TENANCY?

Once all tenants have vacated the property we will conduct final inspection, making notes on condition of property in terms of decoration, damages and cleanliness comparing these to your initial inventory that you completed. (Please refer to your property handbook and previous emails regarding cleaning your property)

 

If any maintenance works, decoration or cleaning is required we will instruct for these to be done and await final invoices to obtain the cost of these works.

We will email you within 10 days of receiving all keys (subject to receiving all final invoices for works), with a report of proposed deductions (if any) based on our final inspection.

 

  • Once the report has been sent all tenants must email us confirming agreement or disagreement to the report of proposed deductions.

 

  • You must also send evidence that final bills have been settled. Tenants can provide proof via a final bill showing £0 balance in the form of a paper bill scanned in, or a screen shot of online account. Or via final bill showing the amount to be paid, and a satisfactory receipt showing it has been paid, i.e. screen shot of account or a scanned receipt from post office.

 

  • If tenants agree with the proposed deductions please send an email confirming both your agreement and your bank details; you will then receive your deposit within 2 weeks. We must receive agreement from all tenants before we can return any deposits.

 

WHAT IF I DO NOT AGREE WITH THE PROPOSED DEDUCTIONS

If you do not agree to these deductions, please send an email that states your reasons for any disagreement and the amount you deem to be fair. We shall forward all disagreements on to the landlord for their consideration. We will then try to seek an amicable agreement between tenant and landlord.

 

If an agreement cannot be made or you have further disputations, either the tenant or the landlord can raise a dispute with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme where we register all deposits (https://www.tds.gb.com/) The Tenancy Deposit Scheme will ask for evidence from the tenants and the landlord in order to make an independent judgement on who should receive what. They will instruct us accordingly and we will make the appropriate refund via bank transfer.  

 

Please note: if there are disputations the deposit return process could take up to a month. 

Utilities

GAS, ELECTRICITY AND WATER CHARGES

We would like to remind you that these charges are not included in your rent and as joint tenants of a property you are required to pay the relevant charges. These are usually on a quarterly basis.  Once you have moved in, it is important that at least one tenant in the household registers their full name with the appropriate utility companies so you can begin paying for your utilities. However we would recommend that all tenants living in the property should register their names with the appropriate companies (where possible) to avoid any problems later in the tenancy. 

METER READINGS

You will find detailed instructions of how to read gas and electric meters in your Property Handbook that you will find on your online account on http://www.ridleyproperties.com.

It is important to take a gas and electricity meter reading as soon as you have moved in and submit the reading to the relevant companies to avoid paying any extra charges.  This also must be done when you move out of the property so you can settle your final bill. 

WHO IS MY GAS AND/OR ELECTRIC SUPPLIER?

If you are not sure who is currently supplying gas and/or electricity to your property then you should:

 Review any recent bills that may have been sent to the property

• For Gas contact the meter number help-line on 0870 608 1524 and they will tell you who your current supplier is.  

• For Electricity contact C E Electric on 0845 601 3268

• Your water board is Northumbrian Water and there should be a registration card in the post.  If there is not then please give them a ring on 0845 717 1100 to register your details.      

WE HAVE RECEIVED BILLS FOR THE PREVIOUS TENANTS - WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Ridley Properties are not responsible for any utility bills in our properties. You are also not responsible for any utility charges made before your tenancy start date. We suggest you contact the utility company as soon as possible to inform them of your new tenancy. You should supply them with the dates your tenancy started and will finish and the meter readings you took when you arrived at the house. You can also use the meter readings on your inventory that were taken before you moved in. It is the utility company’s responsibility to charge the appropriate tenants for their utility use.

COUNCIL TAX

It is important that once you have moved in that all tenants in the property notify the city council that you are students and therefore exempt from paying council tax. If you receive a bill simply fill out an Exemption Form here. https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-council-tax-discount

WHERE DO I GO TO NOTIFY THE COUNCIL?

This must be done in person at the civic centre customer service centre.  They will require some form of proof that you are a student.  You should receive a document from your university when you enrol which will suffice.  The customer service centre is located over the road from Northumbria University on the corner of St Mary’s Place and Sandyford Road.  If you do not notify the city council of your student status then you will still be liable to pay council tax.    

TELEVISION LICENSES

Students and Professionals are reminded that it is your responsibility to obtain a TV licence even if the property is supplied with a TV.  Only 1 licence is required per household as long as everybody is on the same lease/contract.  

REFUSE COLLECTION

All residences are required to dispose of rubbish regularly in the wheelie bins that are located at the front or back of the property. It is essential that rear yards are kept free of litter.

WHEN IS THE RUBBISH COLLECTED?

There may be a sticker on your wheelie bin indicating the day your rubbish is collected. If you're in any doubt you should check on the council website by filling in your property details here https://community2.newcastle.gov.uk/my-neighbourhood/

WHAT IF I HAVE LARGER ITEMS TO DISPOSE OF?

You can find out the collection days of larger items that don’t fit in the wheelie bins by filling in your property details here https://community2.newcastle.gov.uk/my-neighbourhood/

Maintenance

WHAT DO I DO IF SOMETHING BREAKS OR NEEDS REPAIRING IN MY PROPERTY?

All maintenance issues/repairs must be reported to us via our online maintenance system. This is the most efficient way of ensuring your problem will be dealt with. It can be accessed easily in 3 ways:

1) Direct link: https://ridley-properties.fixflo.com,

2) On our home page in the top right hand corner click on the orange button 'report maintenance'.

3) When you are logged in to your online account, under your tenancy agreement and document downloads click on the big orange button 'report maintenance'

Our online maintenance system allows for easy and precise communication of any repairs required and goes directly to our maintenance team to ensure the quickest possible response time. Where possible please always include photos which will help our team to understand the problem. We endeavour to have non-urgent maintenance problems rectified within five working days under normal circumstances

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY?

Emergency situations include the following: major floods, gas leaks, and lack of power. 

In the event of an emergency please email info@ridleyproperties.co.uk with ‘EMERGENCY’ in the title of the email. 

We have 2 staff members that pick up emails on their mobiles at all times, this is the easiest and quickest way to report any issues as it enables us to gain a full understanding of the problem and to forward any issues directly to maintenance teams with no mixup in communication. 

Please use this sensibly and wait until normal office hours wherever possible.  The landlord has reserved the right to charge for unwarranted call out following previous experience and these charges will be levied where they are appropriate.   Ridley Properties will respond to emergency situations as soon as possible.  Normally this will involve sending our own handyman or in certain circumstances an independent contractor will be called out.

WHAT IF I HAVE AN URGENT PROBLEM?

Urgent responses include fire equipment problems; Broken cooker/fridge/freezer; doors that cannot open or lock that may be a potential security / safety risk; minor flooding; heating problems; or other problems considered to be a health and safety hazard. For example: where there is no alternative facility (e.g. light, toilet, bath or shower) in an area, the problem may be classified as urgent.
Please report all urgent situations IN WRITING by email with pictures if possible.  Problems discovered during weekends or holiday periods will be attended to the next working day.  

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR ROUTINE REPAIRS?

All other repairs will be classified as routine and will be addressed again according to their urgency.

WHAT IS THE COST OF DAMAGE?

Student and Professional tenants are jointly responsible for the condition of communal areas in the property and individuals are responsible for the condition of their rooms.  Any damage to paint work etc caused by putting up decorations and posters etc. will be charged to the tenant and taken from his/her deposit. 

Health and Safety

HOW DO I KEEP MY STUDENT/PROFESSIONAL PROPERTY SECURE?

All students or professionals in our properties are required to keep the accommodation safe and secure; this includes:

-          Using the bottom lock on front doors if you have one

-         • Keeping windows and doors locked at all possible times to minimise theft

-          Not inviting anyone into a residence unless you know them well and are able to take responsibility for their actions

HOW DO I REPORT A BURGLARY?

-         Report any burglaries to the police as soon as possible. Call 101 to get in contact with Northumbria Police or text 07786 200 815. Only use these numbers in a non emergency. If there is an emergency always ring 999. We would strongly advise you to take out personal belongings/contents insurance

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I LOSE MY KEY?

 If you lose your key you must inform us as soon as possible and we will arrange for a replacement key. Please note that replacement of lost keys will cost £20 per key

MY BEDROOM DOESN'T HAVE A LOCK, CAN I GET ONE?

Not all bedrooms have locks and the landlord is not required to provide them.  If you require a lock on your bedroom door there is a charge of £50 plus vat.  You are not allowed to fit your own lock as the lock has to be of a certain type in order to comply with H.M.O Licensing and Accreditation Legislation. 

PETS AND ANIMALS

Pets and animals are not to be kept in any part of the property.

FIRE SAFETY

We undertake regular fire inspections of your property on a quarterly basis. This is in keeping with fire regulations and ensures all smoke alarms and fire equipment are in full working order. You will be notified 24hrs before these inspections take place

SMOKING POLICY

Smoking is not permitted in any part of the property. If at any point during your tenancy we discover this policy has been ignored then Ridley Properties reserves the right to make good any rooms that have been affected.  This may include redecorating or the need for new fixtures and fittings. The cost of this will then be deducted from your damage deposit. PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS POLICY

SMOKE ALARMS

There are smoke alarms located in all communal areas of the properties and in all bedrooms, which will be triggered to alert you if there is a fire. You should never tamper with the smoke alarms.

THE SMOKE ALARM KEEPS BEEPING, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If the battery is low the smoke alarms will usually sound a beep every so often to alert you.  If you suspect the battery is low then please inform us and we will replace them for you, do not attempt to do this yourself as you may damage the alarm.

CAN I REMOVE MY DOOR CLOSER?

Door closers are not to be removed from the doors.  These are there for a reason and required by law in keeping with fire regulations.  There will be a charge if they are found to have been removed by any tenants. 

COOKING IN YOUR PROPERTY

Cooking in any form is not permitted in bedrooms Please ensure that, when cooking, you close the kitchen door and open the window to avoid setting off the smoke alarms that are located in the property.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE?

If a fire breaks out in the property:

• Evacuate everyone from the property, leaving all your personal belongings

 • Do no re-enter the property under any circumstance until told it is safe to do so.

• Dial 999 immediately - it's free from any phone

Other things to remember include:

• If possible, close all doors behind you as you get out - this will delay the spread of fire

• If you need to open a closed door, check to see whether it feels hot first - if it does, there may be fire behind it so don't open it

 If there's a lot of smoke, stay as low to the ground as you can and cover your nose and mouth with a cloth

• If you need to break a window to get out, cover the edges with a cloth so you don't cut yourself when you climb out. If possible, throw soft things like bedding out to cushion your fall.

 

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR STUDENTS IN THE COMMUNITY

All tenants, students or professionals, are expected to behave with mutual respect and consideration for one another and for your neighbours.  It is recognised that students have a right to enjoy themselves and this equally applies to those living nearby who wish to enjoy their time in peace and quiet.

It is extremely important that you do not do anything that may cause or become a nuisance to the landlord, tenants or occupiers of any adjoining premises and that nothing is committed which may increase the ordinary premium for the insurance of the property.

You must make sure that those who live with you or visit you do not harass annoy or cause a nuisance to:

• Anybody, because of his or her race or ethnic background.

• Anybody who lives or works in the local area.

• Any of the landlord's employees, the landlord themselves or people acting on behalf of the landlord.

You must make sure that you are not convicted of, and make reasonable effort to ensure that your visitors or members of the family are not convicted of:

• Using or allowing the use of the premises for immoral or illegal purposes.

• Any serious or illegal offence committee in the local area.

·        Using controlled drugs or other controlled substances.  

CLEANLINESS

We would advise tenants to keep the property in a clean and tidy condition - communal areas are the responsibility of all tenants. We would like to remind tenants that when the tenancy is over, the property must be left in exactly the same clean and tidy condition in which it was in when you moved in, failure to do so may result in deductions from your damage deposit.