What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)?
An AST is a standard tenancy agreement which was created by the Housing Act 1988 (as amended). The main benefit for landlords is that they can recover possession of a property so long as any fixed term has expired and the proper form of notice has been served. An AST can be for any term; at Acoomco, all of our ASTs are initiated for a fixed period of 12 months.

Who is the Lead Tenant?
The 'Lead Tenant' generally remains the person who first contacted us. They are the first person we will call if we need to speak to you regarding the property and they will also sign to acknowledge your deposit has been protected. It is important to note that they have no greater or lesser responsibility for the property than any other tenant - all tenants are jointly and severally responsible for complying with the terms of the tenancy agreement.

What does "Joint and Several Liability" mean?
In simple terms this means that all tenants and their guarantors are equally liable for complying with the terms of the tenancy agreement. This means that, for example, if a tenant was to unexpectedly stop paying their share of rent, it would be the responsibility of the remaining tenants to make up the shortfall. Likewise, any damages or rental shortfalls would be shared equally between tenants if deductions were required from the deposit.

What is the Guarantor's Agreement for?
A completed guarantors agreement is required for each tenant who cannot provide three months payslips or equivalent proof of income. It provides Accomco with security in the event that a student tenant does not pay their rent by allowing us to claim it from your guarantor, if necessary by use of court proceedings.

Which Deposit Protection scheme do you use?
The Housing Act 2004 requires landlords who have received a property deposit to protect the deposit with an "authorised scheme" within 14 days. Accomco uses the myDeposits insurance backed scheme. Under this scheme, Accomco will retain your deposit but pay a premium to myDeposits.

What is the "Prescribed Information"?
This is information regarding the tenancy deposit protection scheme employed by Accomco, which we are obliged to make available to you. You will have the opportunity to read this information prior to signing your tenancy agreement by using the login area of this website. Upon signing, you confirm that you have had such an opportunity.

Something has broken, what should we do?
Full information regarding what to do in the event of accidents or incidents can be found at the login area. Information boards are also located in each property.

Damage has been caused to our property, what should we do?
Full information regarding what to do in the event of accidents or incidents can be found at the login area. Information boards are also located in each property.

I have paid my holding deposit, what must I do before the first of September?
Before the beginning of the rental year, you will need to complete the various requirements listed on your holding deposit receipt, sent to you earlier in the year. If you do not, you will risk losing your holding deposit. These are as follows: 1) Pay the remainder of the property deposit (as one sum) 2) Pay the first month's rent (as one sum, by 01 September) 3) Provide proof of good previous tenancy for all tenants 4) Provide proof of student status for all tenants (a photocopy of your student card will be fine) 5) Provide a completed guarantor's form, available from the downloads section of our website

I am moving from another Accomco property, do the pre move-in requirements apply to me?
Only points 1&2 apply. The remainder of your documents remain valid from previous years.

Do I need to pay the deposit and rent as one lump-sum in August?
No, but there's nothing to stop you doing that.

I want to move in later in September, is that OK?
Yes, you can move in at any time on or after 01 September - you must however start paying from the beginning of that month! You must also let us know as a group what your plans are before the end of August.

Do I have to pay Council Tax?
Full time students do not have to pay council tax. The fact that Accomco does not let to tenants who are not full-time students is clarified with Southampton City Council each September. However, it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary exemption form from your university and provide it to the Council. We will provide your details to the council at their request, so if you don't provide them the exemption form, they will chase you personally.

I have a problem with my course / have decided to live in Tasmania / fallen out with my housemates etc
Subject to the proviso that you have already entered into an agreement to let properties from us, if you have any problems we will do our best to help so please contact us at the earliest opportunity.

Can I bring my car to Southampton?
Southampton is not a particularly car-friendly city. On-street parking is regulated by permit throughout the city itself and a system of one-way streets and pedestrianised areas often means it's quicker to walk or take the bus. If you insist on bringing a car, some of our properties offer off-street parking at no charge (see the property page for details). Where this is not available, you will need to contact Southampton City Council to apply for a permit; the first is free - subsequent permits cost £60.00.

How far is it to the nearest...
All of our properties are very conveniently located for all the facilities a typical student will require. If you take a look at the individual property pages, we have listed the distance in metres to typical points of interest including university, local pubs, Uni-Link bus stops, shops etc. You can also take a look at our properties on a map.

What about insurance?
Accomco insures the fabric of our properties as well as the furniture and fittings that we provide. It is very important to note that Accomco does not provide contents insurance of any kind. It is very important to note that it is your responsibility to take out sufficient insurance to protect your personal possessions whilst they remain at an Accomco property.

What is a Holding Deposit?

A holding deposit is a sum of money lodged with Accomco by prospective tenants enabling us to take further action in the knowledge that the group is serious and fully committed to taking-on the property in the following academic year.

The amount varies between houses, being one third of the property deposit. It is payable as one sum and is non-refundable if tenants do not take the property for reasons under their control. On move in, the holding deposit automatically becomes one third of the property deposit.

What is a Property Deposit?

A Property deposit is a sum of money lodged with Accomco and protected under the myDeposits insurance backed scheme. The amount varies between houses but is generally eight weeks rent. It is designed to deter tenants from causing damage to properties and to incentivise an orderly end to tenancies.

Deductions may only be made in accordance with the terms of the tenancy agreement. 

Finally, it it very important to note that property deposits do not cover your last month's rent.

When will my property deposit be returned?

Property deposits, minus any deductions, will be returned to a single account via BACS within 14 days of the contract end-date. You must provide us with the account details for where you would like the monies returned.

Typically, you will be reminded of your obligations under the Tenancy Agreement in early August, after which a property inspection will take place prior to the completion of the contractual period. You will then be given an opportunity to rectify any discrepancies. If these remain on the day following the end of your contractual period, they will be rectified at your cost.

When can I pick up the keys?

You can pick up the keys, by arrangement, any time on or after 01 September. Only one representative from your group needs to do this.

We will be on hand on the 01 September move-in day to help you. If you want to move in later than this, please let us know as special arrangements will need to be made.

When do we sign the tenancy agreement?

Once the majority of tenants have moved in during September a date will be agreed. Every tenant must then be present on the Contract Signing Day. On that day, one of our personnel and an independent witness will visit each of your homes an a pre-arranged time to explain the contract, answer any questions and sign the document. This process normally occurs on a Thursday evening in early October.

How much should we budget for utilities?

This of course depends on how frugal you are in their use! It also depends on how much providers are charging for their services and your selection of the most cost effective provider. As a general rule, and based on actual 2010/11 figures, a three bedroom house could expect to spend:

An average of £90.00pcm on gas and electricity

Approximately £25.00pcm on broadband

Approximately £10.00pcm on a telephone line

An average of £55.00pcm on water and sewerage charges

Where can I find your Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)?

EPCs, which include some detail regarding the energy efficiency of a given property, can be downloaded in full from individual property pages. They are also available to tenants via the login area and a hard copy is displayed in all properties on the information board.

How do I work out the monthly rent?

On our website, rents are shown per week (pw) and per calendar month (pcm). To convert between the two, use the following simple calculation:

Rent per month = Rent per week x 52 (weeks in a year) ÷ 12 (months in a year)

What about utilities at the property (gas/water/electricity/broadband/ telephone/satellite TV)?

Unless you are moving into one of our all-inclusive houses, utilities are entirely your business. Preceding tenants will have been informed to let their current suppliers know that they are moving out at the end of August, so it's simply a case of letting your chosen supplier know you will be moving in at the beginning of September. 

As you probably know, you can pick whichever gas and electricity supplier you like (we recommend Ovo) but you might want to try your 'favourite' comparison site to check the latest deals, such as Gocompare or Moneysupermarket. Water and sewerage are supplied by Southern Water, unfortunately you can't pick anyone else because this is not yet a deregulated market. Telephone/broadband connections are also your responsibility - houses are all connected to the BT and/or Virgin media networks, so it's simply a case of picking your preferred supplier, letting them know you'd like their services from 01 September and moving in - often this process can take up to four weeks to complete.

Most houses are also fitted for the reception of satellite TV. If you wish to subscribe, please make use of the existing infrastructure and simply plug in your Sky+.

Finally, even if you have no inclination to change suppliers, it is a very good idea to inform suppliers of the 'opening' meter readings, where applicable, as soon as you move in. Please note also that, apart from all inclusive properties, you are liable for paying any standing charges throughout your contract period.