First and foremost, congratulations on finding your perfect student home! In order to make the booking process as smooth as possible, we have summarised a few of the key booking questions for you. Please do read them before booking.
1. Room types & other key info
Make sure to check all the apartment information with your consultant before booking. Make sure you check the apartment name, room type, lease type, price and number of rooms as well as any other apartment-specific information. If you have roommate or floor preferences, tell your consultant prior to booking and they will help you discuss them with the apartment. If possible they will help you arrange your preferences. However, because the apartment often retains the right to change your room for one of the same type, we cannot 100% guarantee you will get your choices. As an example, last year one apartment changed a student from a four room apartment to a six room apartment. Under the terms of the contract, an apartment is completely within it’s rights to do this. If something like this happens, contact your consultant as soon as possible and we will try to arrange something directly with the apartment.Buildings in Australia and New Zealand are very different from China, they do not directly face North, South, East or West. Because roads and buildings developed naturally – without very organised urban planning – buildings simply face the way the road is, regardless of its direction. As such, student apartments in Australia and New Zealand do not even define which way a room faces, and you cannot select a room facing in a certain direction. However, apartments do try to maximise the available light so you will have a nice, bright room.Please be aware that apartments will not release information on the race or nationality of the students living there. This is to avoid any potential questions of discrimination. Your consultant may be able to tell you some information on your potential roommates - their gender for example. However, you must remember that the apartment may change or move rooms at their own discretion so this information can change.Apartment photos on uhomes are provided by the apartment themselves. In order to make the apartment look as nice as possible, many providers will organise a professional photographer to take the photos. They may also prepare nice furniture, pictures, flowers or other decorations to create a favourable impression of the room. Please bare this in mind when you are looking at the rooms. The bed, wardrobe, desk and chair are provided. The bed will also have a mattress but no sheets. Make sure you buy bedding before moving in to the room.
2. The contract
The contract: Nearly all apartments use electronic contracts these days (very few will require you to return the contract by fax). That means you can complete the entire process online - from booking to paying your rent. Read the contract carefully before signing, check all the information is correct, and that you understand the cooling off period and all other conditions. Once you have signed the contract, you are bound by its terms.Some apartments provide the contract after the deposit. Although you have not signed the contract, you have paid the deposit which can be viewed as consideration of your agreement. If you do have any queries about any term in the contract once you receive it, make sure to speak to your consultant as soon as possible.Your consultant is not a lawyer. They will provide you with help as well as they are able to, drawing on their own overseas study experience and understanding of the apartment rules. However, they cannot translate the contract terms, or provide you with professional-level advice on the legal rammifications of the contract. Our consultants views do not represent the exact views of the apartment provider. If you do have serious concerns about some terms of a contract, you will need to hire a lawyer to give you professional advice.Admin: After you have paid the deposit and signed the contract, there may still be admin to complete for the apartment. For example: your guardian information (normally a parent who will be contacted in cases of emergency); passport information or copies; address or proof of address; etc. All this information is mandatory. Your consultant will be able to help you complete it if you get stuck, but you must complete it and return it to the apartment or they can cancel your booking.
3. The deposit
Damage Deposit: Outside of London, this is between £50 – 300 (normally £250). It will be returned to you when you move out, provided that there is no damage to the room. If you paid the damage deposit by credit card, you will be charged £1 - 6 (1.5 – 3%) in exchange rate fees, charged directly by your bank.Upon fee: Used to book the room, this fee is usually £300. This money will not be returned to you when you move out, but is deducted from your rent.Note: The apartment will email you 20 working days after you pay the deposit to inform you that the money is being held by a third party under the Deposit Protection Scheme. You must keep a copy of this email to make sure the deposit is returned to you when you move out. If you paid the deposit by card, it should be returned to that same card. Contact the apartment as soon as possible if it is no longer possible to return the deposit to the same card used to pay, or you would like to change the payment card. The deposit should be returned 15 working days after you move out.You may notice that the returned amount is not exactly the same as the deposit amount. This may be because your bank will have deducted a service charge. In addition, the exchange rate will have changed over the course of your tenancy, so the amount may differ when it is returned.Do not panic if your deposit takes some time to be returned. As long as you have the email chain and the room remains in its original condition, the money will be returned to you. If you want to try and expedite its return, you can try speaking to the apartment management team.
4. The cooling off period
The cooling off period is a space of time (up to 14 days from the point of deposit payment) within which you can cancel your booking at still receive your deposit back. The process is long and complicated, so we do not recommend using the cooling off period as a “book first, ask questions later” technique. Once the cooling off period is over, you will not be able to get your deposit back. In fact, at this point, the apartment may require you to pay your rent in full or find someone to take your place in the apartment. Failure to pay may result in charges being brought against you at worst, or your credit rating being downgraded at best. If you need to cancel because your visa was refused or your school application was denied, the apartment will require to see proof in order to allow you to cancel the booking.
5. Advanced check in & extending your lease
It is not normally possible to move in early because apartments have 51 week leases with 1 week between leases to clean and renovate the building. There is therefore no leeway to move in early. Uhomes can ask on your behalf if you do want to move in early, but the chances are slim. Speak to the apartment as soon as possible if you want to extend your lease. They can then organise a room for you or put your name on the waiting list. Each apartment will have their own rules on advanced check in or extending the lease, make sure to follow those rules.
6. About the rent
The rent should be paid as per the terms of the contract. Remember that international transfers can take some time to be processed, and they must arrive in the destination account by the agreed date. Failure to pay on time can result in: rent being deducted from your deposit, additional arears charges being added, or even the termination of the contract. Most apartments request payment before 1 August, whilst some may accept payment between August and the middle of September. Futhermore, some apartments offer discounts on full year payments before August.Payments can be made online or in your local bank.Online payments: Your apartment will provide you with a log in and password once you complete the application. Once you are logged in, you should be able to find the payment page and use a visa or master card to make your payment. English cards can also be used. Remember, credit card transfers will be subject to a 2-3% service charge.Bank transfer: Because this is a large transfer, you are reminded to check the apartment’s bank details carefully. You must also provide a reference number or your Booking ID with the transfer. This allows the apartment to immediately identify your payment. Because the payment policy may vary from year to year, we recommend you speak to a uhomes consultant before making your payment. It is their job to know the specific payment details for each apartment each year. Keep any record of your payment to guard against any unforeseen issues in the future.
Bills include: water, electricity, gas, and internet bills. These are normally included within the rent of your apartment. Some apartments may set a quota on these amenities, for example $200. This quota is designed to discourage reckless use of the apartment facilities. With normal use, you should not exceed the allowance and will not be charged additional fees.
8. Exchanging rooms
The room number is set within the contract. You will need to approach the apartment directly if you want to change the room, but the apartment may refuse your request. If you are looking to upgrade the room choice, you will need to pay the difference in price.
9. Cancelling or Subletting
Once the cooling off period is over, you will not be able to get your deposit back. In fact, at this point, the apartment may require you to pay your rent in full or find someone to take your place in the apartment. Failure to pay may result in charges being brought against you at worst, or your credit rating being downgraded at best.If you are able to find someone to take over your room, the rental price is the price on that day, not the original rental price when you made your reservation. This is important to remember as it may be higher than the price you paid. Your consultant is available to offer support in your search for a new tenant, but they are not responsible for finding one.
10. Check in
The move in date and address are included within the contract. We recommend you check in between 9-5. If you need to check in outside of office hours, email the apartment as soon as possible to confirm (there may be a small charge to check in outside of office hours).Some apartments may email you prior to check in to check your arrival time. Reply as soon as possible so as not to delay the check in process. Take your passport and a copy of your contract when you arrive to speed up the check in process.
11. Inventory checklist
Getting your hands on your keys is not quite the final step in the process. Your apartment should give you an inventory checklist. Check the furniture and room very carefully, making a note on your checklist of any damage, stains or other imperfections. If you are not sure, note it down! It is better to be safe than sorry. And an apartment can charge you for any damage to the room, no matter how small.
12. General maintenance
Do not waste water, electricity or gas. Your apartment may reserve the right to fine you for excessive or unnecessary use. You will receive a warning if you break apartment rules, and risk being ejected from the apartment for repeated warnings. You may also receive fines for damaging the room or its furniture: treat it with care and attention!
13. Check out
Clean the room and kitchen thoroughly when you leave and return your keys within the agreed timeframe. Let the apartment know as soon as possible so they can begin the process of returning your deposit via the holding account. You will receive an email letting you know when the funds are available to be released. The apartment will deduct cleaning or maintenance fees if you do not clean the room or leave it damaged. If you feel you have been unfairly deducted money from your deposit, raise your query with the apartment as soon as possible, and check it against your original inventory.
14. New builds
Some apartments that are still under construction may still take advance bookings. This should be a promise from the developer to finish before the move in date. If they are unable to finish construction before the move in date, the apartment should take appropriate measures to remedy this issue, for example: organise a hotel to stay at until work is completed. You should always be aware that this is a possibility, whenever you book an apartment that is still under construction.
15. Other important information
The apartment will take responsibility for, and appropriate action against, any unforeseen mishap or accident. For example, if a water pipe bursts and your room is unliveable, the apartment should take measures to accommodate you until your room is returned to the expected standard.Contact reception as soon as possible if any of the facilities in your room do not work as they should. The apartment’s maintenance team will come to fix the situation as quickly as possible.Note: The most common form of contact from your apartment will be via email. Check your emails regularly to make sure you do not miss out on any important information.
Thank you again for choosing uhomes! All that’s left to do is to wish you a pleasant stay, a wonderful student life in Australia or New Zealand, and enjoyable studies at your chosen university!