Administration Fee – A non-refundable charge often used by letting agents. Most fees relating to tenancies are now prohibited under the Tenant Fees Act which came into force on 1st June 2019. 

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) – The most common type of tenancy agreement for student lettings, often referred to as a tenancy agreement. These will usually be for 12 months, but you may be able to find a 9 month contract if you look close to September. If you sign this type of agreement and you pay a deposit, it must be looked after properly by the landlord.

Carbon Monoxide Detector – A small device used to detect carbon monoxide which will alert occupants by making a noise if it is present. It is often placed around a boiler and is only required in any room used as living accommodaiton where a solid fuel is used. It should be tested by the tenants on a regular basis. If it is not working you must contact your landlord.

Common Areas – Areas that are shared between all of the tenants in the property such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom, hallway and garden. It will depend on the individual property and what facilities you will all share use of.

Council Tax – A tax payable per property to the local council, in this case Sheffield City Council. Full time students are exempt from paying the tax and must provide the required information to the council to confirm their status. For further information on Council Tax, please see our Council Tax page.

Deposit – Money that is paid, often at the same time as signing the contract, to cover any damage during the duration of your tenancy. It can also be used to cover unpaid bills or rent at the end of the tenancy. If everything is in order, you should get all of the money back. If you signed an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, your deposit must be lodged with a government approved scheme.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – A certificate showing how energy efficient a property is. It is a legal requirement for all properties where it is being let out as a whole. The full property must be let on a joint contract.

En-suite – A bathroom adjoining a bedroom that the occupier will have exclusive access to.

Gas Safety Certificate – A document required by law to confirm that the gas installation at a property is safe. It must be carried out by a gas safe registered engineer. You can find out more about Gas Safety here.

Guarantor – A guarantor is a UK based person, usually a family member but it does not need to be, who can pay the rent in the event that you are not able to. If you sign a joint and severally liable tenancy agreement, make sure that the agreement your guarantor signs states that they are only responsible for your share of the rent. The University of Sheffield has an Accommodation Guarantor Scheme for those who don't have a UK guarantor, however, the property in question must be a Smart Move Sheffield registered property AND students must meet all of their eligibility criteria.

Holding Deposit – Money that is paid to reserve a room/property. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 means there are rules about what the landlord/agent can charge and what happens with this money once you have entered into the agreement, this must be refunded.

Joint and Severally Liable also known as Joint Contract – This is where all of the tenants sign a single contract. It means that you are all equally responsible for the whole property, and if you have a guarantor so are they. This includes the rent, paying the bills and any damage. In reality what this means to you is if one person drops out of the property and does not pay their rent, the landlord can ask any person on the tenancy agreement (or any guarantor) to pay the missing share.

Letting Agent – A person or organisation who is not the landlord that is responsible for letting the property but not maintaining the property. They will often carry out viewings of the property and organise the tenancy agreement. They will often do this on behalf of a landlord.

Managing Agent – A person or organisation who is not the landlord responsible for looking after a property, including being contacted with issues and organising repairs. They can also be responsible for letting the property as a letting agent.

Resident Owner – Where the landlord, and possibly their family, live in the property and are offering a room to rent.

Smoke Alarm – A device powered either by a battery or mains electricity that is used to detect a fire by smoke and alert occupants by making a noise. It is often on the ceiling and should be tested by the tenants on a regular basis. If it is not working you must contact your landlord.

Studio – A self-contained property where the kitchen, living area and bedroom is all one room i.e. not separated with a door but may have some partitions. The bathroom will be separated from the main room.

Utility Bills – Where bills are not included in the rent, these must be paid for by the tenants. Utility bills include gas, electricity, water, internet, council tax (where applicable), sky/cable etc.