The Student Accommodation Code protects your rights to a safe, good quality place to live. It outlines everything you should expect from your university or college accommodation as well as your responsibilities as a tenant. This includes the following 6 key areas:
The Code makes sure that your accommodation is signed up to all necessary health and safety standards.Find out more
This section explains your rights to information on essential safety precautions; accommodation security; and details on what furniture and facilities should be provided.
2. Health and safety standards and procedures
2.1 Student residences and their contents as supplied by an establishment must meet the requirements of all relevant health and safety regulations and codes of practice. Certain special circumstances (e.g. legislation relating to listed buildings) may justify a partial relaxation of these requirements.
2.2 H/FEEs must make an analysis of the risk of such events as fire, outbreak of disease or major breakdown of services and equipment and develop procedures for dealing with them.
The analysis and the procedures must be documented (e.g. in risk registers) and should be readily available for inspection.
2.3 Students must be given clear advice and information on what action is to be taken in the event of an emergency e.g. how to access first aid provision, relevant contact details and mechanisms for reporting incidents and raising health and safety issues.
2.4 It must be a requirement in every tenancy or license agreement for the student to maintain a reasonably safe environment for the H/FEE‟s employees who may have to enter the premises e.g. ensuring that cables to personal electrical equipment are safe.
2A. Fire safety Prevention
2.5 Information and advice must be provided to students at the beginning of their period of occupation on such matters as:
• Their role in the avoidance of fire risks
• Cooking and the safe use of cooking equipment
• Electrical safety – particularly voltage differences
• The dangers of using candles or storing flammable material
• Disciplinary action that may be taken if fire alarms or fire fighting equipment is misused
Detection and alarm
2.6 Fire safety systems must be maintained in working order and regularly tested in accordance with regulations relating to each particular piece of equipment and each building type. The design and detail of systems in existing buildings will be determined in accordance with a fire safety risk assessment and in consultation with the fire authority or local authority as appropriate.
• Fire alarm systems must be tested weekly at pre-arranged times (but see paragraph
xxi) of this Code).
• A record of fire alarm testing and
inspection must be maintained.
• At the beginning of their period of
occupation students must be provided with information on fire safety and good
practice. Advice on action to be taken in case of fire including fire
containment procedures must be prominently displayed.
• Any fire extinguishing equipment provided must be properly maintained.
2.7 In order to ensure safe evacuation of properties in the event of fire, safe access and egress (means of escape) must be maintained – including corridors, landings, stairs and hallways. The means of fire escape – internal and external – must be maintained and be available at all times. The design and detail of systems in existing buildings will be determined in accordance with a fire safety risk assessment and in consultation with the fire authority or local authority as appropriate.
Safety systems including:
• Emergency lighting.
• Emergency secondary power supplies such as generators and battery back up systems.
• Fire door integrity including door closures.
• Automatic door release mechanisms.
• Emergency escape ironmongery such as push bars must be regularly tested in accordance with the appropriate British Standard.
2.8 Fire evacuation practices must be conducted at the beginning of each academic year in accordance with arrangements for particular buildings, fire detection systems and the local fire authority. A record must be maintained.
2.9 Once a student with a disability (including those with a temporary disability) is identified, the H/FEE must undertake an assessment and put in place any specific arrangements (e.g.personal evacuation plans) in case of fire or other emergency.
2B. Electricity and gas supplies
2.10 Except in the case of emergencies or essential maintenance, electricity and gas supplies and lighting must be maintained without interruption. Gas and electrical installations must be properly maintained and tested in accordance with statutory gas and electrical safety requirements and British Standards.
2.11 Where students need to operate controls for gas fired central heating, hot water systems, and / or fixed electrical room heaters or appliances, simple and precise instructions for their safe and efficient use must be available.
2.12 All gas supplies, distribution pipe work and gas fired appliances must comply with the relevant gas safety regulations.
2.13 All gas appliances must have an annual gas safety check undertaken by a Gas Safe registered gas installer. A copy of the safety certificate must be available in accordance with the regulations.
2.14 All new electrical installations including fixed equipment must be installed and all existing installations maintained in accordance with the most recent version of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) Regulations.
2.15 All building electrical installations must be inspected and tested in accordance with statutory requirements, and the results recorded in an appropriate register.
2.16 Lighting must be provided in accordance with the Chartered Institution of Building
Services Engineers (CIBSE) recommendations. In study bedrooms the recommended level of illumination may be achieved by the use of local task lighting.
Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)
2.17 All portable appliances supplied by an H/FEE, or used in the premises by H/FEE staff, must be inspected and maintained in accordance with an establishment‟s PAT policy.
Where arrangements exist for the testing of students‟ personal electrical equipment these should be set down in the PAT policy. The H/FEE must make students aware of the PAT policy, and any procedure for having students‟ personal electrical equipment tested.
2.18 There must be a procedure for dealing with any potentially dangerous personal electrical equipment. This might include labelling as unsafe, an instruction to remove, or in extreme cases (subject to the terms of the licence or tenancy), for example if there is a risk of fire or electrocution, removal to safe keeping or disabling. The students must be made aware of the procedure and the action implemented.
2.19 All premises must be provided with hot and cold water to appropriately marked taps. Any cold water supply that is not drinkable should be clearly identified.
2.20 All waste water must be removed via an appropriate trapped connection to the sewerage system.
2.21 Hot and cold water services must be installed, monitored and maintained in accordance with HSE and statutory public health requirements including Legionella testing.
Building and room security
2.22 H/FEE managed accommodation must be securable against intrusion. All registered buildings must be subject to local security risk assessments,with particular attention being paid to access control, surveillance of site perimeter and securing ground and basement windows.
2.23 All main entrances and individual bedroom doors must be lockable, the main entrance door being accessible by all student tenants of the building and bedroom doors accessible only by the student occupant.
2.24 All basement, ground and first floor windows must be securable by the student in order to deter theft and intrusion in student bedrooms.
2.25 All members of staff (including contractors) must be readily identifiable whilst on the premises. There must be a record kept of staff accessing bedrooms in the absence of the student.
2.26 Staff must be subject to vetting / checks in accordance to the institution‟s policy formulated under the relevant legislation. Such policy to include reference to contractors.
2.27 The procedures regarding the issuing of keys/access cards [including the replacement of lost keys] must be clear and transparent and arrangements for access in the event of lost keys etc must be set out in the students' welcome pack or equivalent.. (see 5.6)
Emergency contacts/ procedures
2.28 Establishments must advise students of the procedure to follow in the event of an emergency e.g. bomb alert, summoning an ambulance, reporting a crime or suspicious behaviour.
2.29 Wherever student residences are monitored by CCTV this must be advised in the foyer or on the external entrance to the building. Installation and operation must be in accordance with the relevant legislation.
2D Kitchen facilities, food storage, washing facilities, furnishing, and other matters
Kitchen facilities and cooking equipment
2.30 Where provided, all kitchen facilities must be maintained in good order and repair with all equipment supplied in good working order. Facilities for the preparation, cooking and storage of food must be appropriate to the number of students using the facilities in accordance with local authority published standards.
Users’ instructions must be available.
2.31 Cold storage provision must be made available within self-catering properties.
Bathroom, toilet and shower areas
2.32 These areas must be provided with adequate ventilation and slip-resistant flooring. All sanitary ware must be in good working order and free from cracks and breaks. All toilets must be provided with fitted toilet seat. Shower curtains or screens must be provided as appropriate.
2.33 Décor and furnishings should be provided and maintained in reasonable condition. All furnishings provided must conform to the relevant regulations.
2.34 All bedrooms must be fitted as a minimum with bed, mattress, worktop or study desk, chair, curtains/blind, drawers/shelving, wardrobe and waste receptacle.
Post and Mail
2.35 The H/FEE must put in place suitable arrangements for the receipt and distribution of student mail. The arrangements should be set out in the students’ welcome pack or similar induction material. Distribution and collection details should be made available.
Students should be advised of any arrangements for forwarding or redirecting mail after the end of the tenancy/license period.
Your university or college is responsible for ensuring your accommodation (including outside areas) is in a good state of repair and that you know how to report a problem.Find out more
This section explains what repair and maintenance work is the responsibility of your university or college, and the timescales for emergency or planned maintenance work.
3. Repair and Maintenance management
3.1 Where an H/FEE is directly responsible for repairs and maintenance these must be carried out by appropriately identified H/FEE employed staff or external approved contractors.
Fault / Defect notification and rectification
3.2 The H/FEE must provide students with information on how to report a defect or fault, including out of office hours procedure and expected response times from the service provider.
3.3 The information should set down response times in the published categories – the usual terminology will be: emergency, urgent and non urgent. If response times are different for different locations this should be made clear. Students should be kept informed of progress in rectifying any reported defect and in particular any delay in meeting defined response times e.g. if an initial visit is diagnostic or if batching of works occurs.
3.4 Where repairs or maintenance work is necessary due to damage caused by residents or their guests, the residents should be notified of the total costs and charges for the repair as soon as practicably possible.
3.5 All maintenance works should be undertaken so as to minimise inconvenience to residents. This will not always be possible with unplanned (reactive) maintenance. For planned maintenance 7 days notice should normally be given to residents; endeavours should be made to avoid sensitive periods such as examinations. For urgent work the minimum notice should be 24 hours unless an emergency requires immediate action.
3.6 All planting and fences around residences should be maintained to minimise opportunities for concealment of intruders. Principal pathways and car parks must be hard paved (or have another suitable surface) and must be illuminated appropriately for the environment.
3.7 Grounds should be cleared of rubbish and litter on a regular basis and kept tidy.
Students should be encouraged to avoid causing, or adding to, litter. Particular care should be taken to provide adequate and appropriately located cigarette disposal bins.
Snow and ice clearance policies
3.8 Policies on snow and ice clearance should specify expected clearance times and should be displayed in a communal area and/or on the appropriate web site where residences are part of a campus environment. Residences in urban areas should display advice regarding the Local Authority's responsibilities.
Your accommodation should offer good heating, lighting, hot water and ventilation – all that goes without saying.Find out more
This section explains the services you can expect in your accommodation. Including heating and lighting; rubbish and recycling collection; and bicycle and car parking.
4. Environmental Quality
4.1 Adequate heating, lighting, hot water and ventilation must be provided, as appropriate, for each bedroom, social space, kitchen, circulation space (e.g. corridors, stair cases, entrance lobbies) and shower/bath room.
4.2 H/FEE‟s must be able to demonstrate how they encourage residents and staff to be environmentally responsible in their consumption of energy and water.
4.3 Provision must be made for the collection of all domestic refuse generated from residences. Details should be communicated to students and notices on collection arrangements should be placed in appropriate common areas.
4.4 Arrangements for reporting infestations should be made clear together with the anticipated response times.
4.5 Where local authority or private recycling/reuse schemes exist, and where it is viable to do so, the H/FEE should encourage residents to take advantage of this provision. Details of recycling arrangements, including the location of recycling stations should be communicated to students and contained in the H/FEE‟s environmental policy.
Transport and Travel
4.6 Residents must be advised of any car parking arrangements. The information provided must also refer to the availability of bicycle and motor cycle parking.
4.7 Residents should be provided with details of access to public transport and any designated safe walking routes.
As a tenant, you should have a formal contract with your university or college, as your landlord.
Find out more
This section explains the information you can legally request including rent payment schedules, cleaning schedules, and details on how to raise an issue.
5. Landlord and tenant relationship
5.1 H/FEEs must have a clear and coherent statement in place outlining the relationship between the H/FEE, as landlord, and the student, as tenant or licensee.
5.2 A written contract must exist between the H/FEE and student for the provision of residential accommodation prior to the commencement of the tenancy. This must be provided by the H/FEE and include reference to any contractual terms and responsibilities of both the H/FEE and the student. The H/FEE must provide the student with a copy of this residential contract.
5.3 The terms of any contractual relationship and information on the respective roles and responsibilities of the H/FEE and the student must be made available to all prospective residents in advance of students entering into a contractual relationship for residential accommodation.
5.4 Establishments should return deposits held within 28 days of the end of the tenancy.
5.5 The H/FEE must make available the following information:
5.5.1. Students must be advised of any cleaning schedules. These must include which areas are cleaned, the frequency of cleaning, and any student responsibility for cleaning of facilities in accordance with a service level statement if applicable. All rooms must be prepared for the start of occupancy in a clean and habitable condition.
5.5.2. Laundry facilities where provided, must be in maintained in good working condition. Instructions, including fault reporting and emergency procedures, must be made available.
5.5.3. The relevant procedures for application and allocation of residential accommodation including any application eligibility criteria.
5.5.4. The total number of rooms available by type (i.e. single, en suite and self catering).
5.5.5. The fees and charges for each type of available accommodation.
5.5.6. The length of the contract period for each room type.
5.5.7. Availability, if any, of parking facilities and/or cycle storage.
5.5.8. Payment schedules and options for payment, including any additional costs that may be incurred by a resident (e.g. late payment charges, debt pursuance charges, debt arrears penalties) and any discounts that may be available and the terms under which these are offered.
5.5.9. Damage deposits / caution fees: how any scheme operated by the H/FEE is administered and specifically: how much is to be paid, what the money is to be used for, and when/how balances are to be returned.
5.5.10. The terms under which a student or H/FEE is able to terminate or cancel a residential contract.
5.5.11. The procedure for lodging a complaint about the residential accommodation or management of the property, or ancillary services provided by an H/FEE.
5.5.12. Information concerning management’s right of access to a study bedroom.
5.5.13. Service level statements (SLS‟s) or equivalent: should set out schedules and response times for any services which are required in each establishment.
5.5.14. The procedure for reporting a defect or requesting maintenance: including who to contact.
5.6 Arrangements for access in the event of lost keys etc must be set out in the students' welcome pack or equivalent.
5.7 H/FEEs must hold an induction briefing, and/or provide relevant information to students by way of welcome literature or other e-induction processes at the beginning of occupation. This must advise students that their accommodation is covered by this Code. It should also include specific advice on issues such as health, safety (e.g. fire evacuation procedures) welfare matters, conduct and behaviour and guidance on communal living.
Management contact details
5.8 At the commencement of occupancy H/FEEs must provide students with relevant contact details of duty officers / wardens / security staff, student representatives etc and also, as appropriate, any central accommodation office, maintenance office or halls office.
5.9 H/FEEs must provide a statement outlining the extent of their own insurance liabilities in respect of a student’s belongings and personal items.
It can be tough living away from home, so it's good to know that your residence will provide information about the support services available.Find out more
This section explains the requirements for your accommodation to provide information on where to find welfare support, medical help, financial advice and counselling services
6. Health and Wellbeing
6.1 H/FEEs must provide information to students in respect of its provision of welfare support, financial advice and counselling services, particularly to the provision of accommodation. The information provided must also include reference to services provided by the students‟ union.
6.2 H/FEEs must ensure that residents have information on and access to out of hours emergency support including contact details and procedures to follow.
6.3 H/FEEs must encourage registration with the local health service or a local GP or, where these exist, with their own medical services.
No one likes anti-social behaviour, and your residence should have procedures in place to help make sure everyone is treated with respect.Find out more
This section explains the measures that universities and colleges should take to help encourage a happy and respectful environment in your accommodation.
7. Anti Social Behaviour and Disciplinary Procedures
7.1 The H/FEE must demonstrate procedures to minimise and, deal with, any anti-social behaviour by tenants or their visitors.
Conduct & behaviour
7.2 The H/FEE should encourage residents to act in a fit and proper manner at all times, treat both the property and neighbours - fellow students, staff and members of the local community – with due respect, regard and consideration.
7 The term anti social behaviour is used here in a general and not a specific statutory sense.
7.3 The H/FEE must make residents aware of the H/FEE‟s code of behaviour and disciplinary procedures, and how it deals with any inappropriate conduct or behaviour.