Agents fee

From the 1st June 2019 landlords and agents will not be able charge tenants fees to start or renew tenancy agreements that began after 1st June 2019.  There will be some limited times when a landlord or agents can charge a tenant a fee in connection with the tenants breach of the agreement (i.e. to provide replacement keys etc), if the tenant request an adjustment to an existing agreement (i.e. change a joint tenant) or if the tenant instructs an agent to carry out a task such as a property find.

If a landlord or agent does charge a fee they will be unable to use a Section 21 to end the tenancy until the money is returned to the tenant.  Find out more about the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

Holding deposits

In addition you might be asked to pay a holding deposit once you have seen a property you want to rent but before you sign the tenancy agreement. This is to allow the agents time to carry out any checks while giving you protection that the property will not be offered to someone else and the landlord protection that you will just change your mind about renting the property.  The holding fee should not be more than the value of one weeks rent.

You should find out before handing over any money in what situation the money will be handed back to you and when it could be retained by the landlord. This should be given to you in writing and you should consider asking for information about fees, holding deposits, deposits and rent in advance when you first approach the agent so you know what will be expected from you if you decide to rent a property from them.

Usually when you finally agree to sign a tenancy agreement a holding deposit will be topped up and turned into a deposit.

Deposits

The deposit is a returnable amount that remains the property of the tenant throughout the tenancy but can be withheld by the landlord at the end of the tenancy for damage or rent arrears. The landlord should provide you with an inventory of the content and condition of the property at the start of the tenancy.  This document is important as it will help settle any disputes about damage or condition of the property at the end of the tenancy.

The deposit should be no more than a maximum of five weeks rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000 or six weeks rent where the annual rent is more than £50,000

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy agreement than a landlord must protect any deposit taken in one of the three government approved schemes.

Council Tax

If you are a qualifying (full time) student living with other qualifying students you will be exempt from paying council tax. You will need to provide the council with your Student Certificate to receive your exemption. This is available from your University and you should ask for a copy when you start your course.

If you have a break in your studies but are still enrolled and intend to return to your studies (i.e. due to illness) you can still be considered exempt but you will need to provide evidence to the council.

If someone lives with you and they are not a full time student you might get a council tax bill but a discount may apply, you should contact Newcastle Council for more information. The responsibility for the bills lies with the non-student and they should ask you to contribute if you are exempt.

When your course comes to an end you will start to be liable to pay council tax, if you live alone or are claiming certain benefits you might receive a discount or help to pay the council tax, you should contact Newcastle City Council for more information.

If you are going on to study again after your course ends you will need to provide evidence of status between the two courses to be applicable for an exemption. If you are not exempt you will have to pay council tax for that period.