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. H/FEE's must be able to demonstrate appropriate risk assessments and management actions for such areas where any of the requirements of the Code are not adhered to in full.
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
Fire Risk Assessment
2.5 All H/FEE's should have a formal policy that ensures that a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is conducted by a competent person for all residential accommodation covered by the Code. The FRA and significant outcomes must be recorded in a formal report. Copies of the FRA should be made available to external agencies upon request.
A suitable management system must be in place to ensure that the policy is subject to a regular formal review in order for the FRA to remain current and relevant. More frequent reviews should be initiated and recorded in response to any change of use, refurbishment, remodeling or other alteration that will materially affect the fire safety management systems and procedures.
All physical works and other management actions identified within the most recent FRA must be completed or have demonstrable mitigating actions in place, in accordance with the allocated priority and proposed timescales.
Detection and alarm
2.6 Information and advice must be provided to students at the beginning of their period of occupation on such matters as:
2.6.1 Their role in the avoidance of fire risks
2.6.2 Cooking and the safe use of cooking equipment
2.6.3 Electrical safety – particularly voltage differences
2.6.4 The dangers of using candles or storing flammable material
2.6.5 Disciplinary action that may be taken if fire alarms or firefighting equipment is misused
Fire Detection and Alarm
2.7 All equipment relating to fire detection and alarm must be designed, installed and maintained in accordance with the relevant British Standard and the FRA.
2.7.1 Fire alarm systems must be tested regularly at pre-arranged times (but see paragraph xix of this Code).
2.7.2 Records relating to maintenance, servicing and testing must be retained and made available for inspection upon request.
Evacuation Routes (Means of Escape)
2.8 In order to ensure safe and effective evacuation from residential accommodation in the event of a fire or other emergency, the designated Evacuation Route must be maintained in a safe and accessible condition at all times – including corridors, landings, stairs (inc. stairwells) and hallways.
The maintenance and servicing of specific equipment and building infrastructure within the Evacuation Routes must be carried out in accordance with relevant British Standards and the FRA, including:
2.8.1 Emergency lighting systems
2.8.2 Fire safety notices and evacuation signs
2.8.3 Fire doors (including door closers, push bars, vision panels and ironmongery)
2.8.4 Automatic door release mechanisms
2.8.5 Fire extinguishers and fire blankets
Fire Evacuation Drills
2.9 Fire evacuation practices must be conducted at least once 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.
2.10 Once a student with a disability (including those with a temporary disability) is identified, the H/FEE must undertake an assessment in consultation with the student and put in place any specific arrangements (e.g. personal emergency evacuation plans PEEP) in case of fire or other emergency.
2B. Electricity and gas supplies
2.11 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.
2.12 Where students need to operate controls for gas and electrical appliances, simple and precise instructions for their safe and efficient use must be available.
2.13 All gas supplies, distribution pipe work and gas fired appliances must comply with the relevant gas safety regulations.
2.14 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.
2.15 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.
2.16 All building electrical installations must be inspected and tested in accordance with statutory requirements, and the results recorded in an appropriate register.
2.17 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)
2.18 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.
2.19 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.
2.20 All premises must be provided with hot and cold water to appropriately marked taps. Any cold-water supply that is not drinking water must be clearly identified.
2.21 All waste water must be removed via an appropriate trapped connection to the sewerage system.
2.22 Hot and cold-water services must be installed, monitored and maintained in accordance with The Health &Safety Executive and statutory public health requirements including Legionella testing.
Building and room security
2.23 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.
2.24 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.
2.25 All basement, ground and first floor windows must be securable by the student in order to deter theft and intrusion in student bedrooms.
2.26 All members of staff (including contractors) must be badged whilst on the premises. There must be a record kept of staff accessing bedrooms in the absence of the student.
2.27 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.
2.28 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 5.8).
Emergency contacts / procedures
2.29 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.
2.30 Wherever student residences are monitored by CCTV this must be advised in the foyer or on the external entrance to the building, through the use of Statutory CCTV warning signs. 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
2.31 Where provided, all kitchen facilities must be maintained in good order and repair with all equipment supplied in good working order. Within self-catering properties, 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.
2.32 Cold storage provision must be made available within self-catering properties.
Bathroom, toilet and shower areas
2.33 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.
2.34 Décor and furnishings should be provided and maintained in reasonable condition. All furnishings provided must conform to the relevant regulations.
2.35 All bedrooms must be fitted as a minimum with bed, mattress, worktop or study desk and chair, curtains/blind, drawers/shelving, wardrobe and recycling and/or waste receptacle.
Post and Mail
2.36 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 Repairs and maintenance must be carried out by appropriately qualified and badged H/FEE employed staff or 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.
Planned and Reactive Maintenance
3.5 When undertaking planned works, consideration should be given to the potential impact on residents and inconvenience / disturbance should be kept to a minimum at all times. Planned works should normally avoid sensitive periods, such as exams, and a minimum period of 7 days’ notice given to residents. For any urgent works, a minimum of 24 hours’ notice should be given unless the circumstances require an immediate response.
3.6 All planting and fences around residences should be well maintained and designed to minimise opportunities for concealment of intruders. Principal pathways and car parks should 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. Consideration should be given to the provision of waste / recycling and cigarette disposal facilities.
3.8 Policies on snow and ice clearance should be made available for residents in appropriate locations and should specify expected clearance times, including any different timings for different locations. Where residences are adjacent to the public highway, they 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 Heating in all residential areas should meet the minimum requirements defined in the relevant H/FEE Policy. Adequate lighting, hot water and ventilation must be provided, as appropriate for all residential areas including; 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 Adequate 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 The H/FEE is expected to ensure that as far as possible residential areas are kept free from pests and properties are well maintained to deter any potential infestation. Arrangements for reporting infestations must be made clear together with the anticipated response times.
4.5 The H/FEE should provide schemes for reuse / recycling in conjunction with waste contractors / local authorities. Where implemented, schemes must be clearly explained to residents and participation encouraged. 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 recommended pedestrian 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 within its contractual documentation 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 the student for the provision of residential accommodation prior to the commencement of occupation. The contract documentation must be made available either in electronic format or as a hard copy 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 the residential contract once entered into.
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 a contractual relationship for residential accommodation.
5.4 Where an H/FEE requires payment of a (damage) deposit (or similar) for the duration of the period of occupation, the H/FEE must indicate clearly what the deposit is to be used for, the amount to be paid, and how the scheme is administered. H/FEE should endeavour to return any deposit balances due, within 28 days of the end of the contracted period, including details of all deductions from the initial amount paid.
5.5 The H/FEE must make available the following information:
5.5.1. The relevant procedures for application and allocation of residential accommodation including any application eligibility criteria.
5.5.2. The total number of rooms available by type (i.e. single, twin, studio, ensuite and self-catering).
5.5.3. The fees and charges for each type of available accommodation.
5.5.4. The length of the contract period for each room type.
5.5.5. Availability, if any, of parking facilities and/or cycle storage.
5.5.6. Credit control arrangements including payment schedules and options for payment, any additional costs that may be incurred by a resident (e.g. lost keys or access cards, damage charging, late payment charges, debt pursuance charges, debt arrears penalties etc.) and any bursaries or discounts that may be available and the terms under which these are offered.
5.5.7. The terms under which a student or H/FEE is able to terminate or cancel a residential contract.
5.5.8. The procedure for lodging a complaint about the residential accommodation or management of the property, or ancillary services provided by an H/FEE.
5.5.9. Information concerning management’s right of access to a study bedroom or shared facilities.
5.5.10. The procedure for reporting a defect or requesting maintenance: including who to contact.
5.5.11. .Service level statements (SLS’s) or equivalent should be made available and set out schedules and expected response times for any reactive (i.e. maintenance) services which are provided in each establishment.
5.5.12. Arrangements for access in the event of lost keys or access control devices.
5.5.13. Any cleaning schedules appertaining to the property, including communal areas and study bedroom accommodation. This 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 (or similar) if applicable. All rooms and facilities must be prepared for the start of the occupancy period in a clean and habitable condition.
5.6 Laundry facilities where provided, must be maintained in good working condition. Instructions, including fault reporting and emergency procedures, must be made available.
5.7 Information regarding the internet service must be provided. If an internet service is not provided, this must be made clear.
5.8 H/FEEs must either hold an induction briefing, and/or provide relevant information to students by way of welcome literature or offer an e-induction process prior to, or at the beginning of occupation. This must advise students that their accommodation is covered by this Code. It must also include specific advice on issues such as health, safety (e.g. fire evacuation procedures), well-being matters, conduct and behaviour and guidance on communal living. It must also provide details on the sources of information, advice and guidance offered by the University and Student’s Union.
Management contact details
5.9 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.
5.10 H/FEEs must provide a statement outlining the extent of its own insurance liabilities in respect of a student’s belongings and personal items, and details of any specific insurance cover that is contained within the accommodation fee.
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 student support services (which may include but not be limited to wellbeing, financial and disability support) and how to access them. The information provided must include reference to services provided by the University, the Students’ Union and other appropriate or relevant agencies.
6.2 H/FEEs must ensure that residents have information on how to access emergency support (both during usual working hours but also outside of these hours) including contact details and procedures to follow.
6.3 H/FEEs must provide information on how to register with one or more local GP practices or their own medical services and encourage all residents to register as soon as possible.
6.4 H/FEEs must have in place appropriate policies and procedures to support residents that are experiencing health or wellbeing issues, which include encouraging students to access relevant support services, and procedures to ensure the relevant organisations are contacted if a resident is thought to be at risk, including Police, NHS, and the University officer/department (where there are data protection and confidentiality legislation concerns, data sharing agreements should be sought with the university).
6.5 Staff should be trained on, or will have sufficient knowledge of, the procedures in place to support students experiencing a health or wellbeing issue.
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 occupants and/or their guests and visitors.
Conduct & behaviour
7.2 The H/FEE should demonstrate how it encourages 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.
7.3 The H/FEE must make residents aware of the H/FEE’s code of behaviour and disciplinary procedures (or similar), and how it deals with any incidents of reported inappropriate conduct or behaviour.
* The term anti-social behaviour is used here in a general and not a specific statutory sense.