Living in Leeds brings together advice and information on the practical aspects of being a resident of Leeds. From living in Halls and Private Accommodation, to waste and safety, these pages should help answer some of your questions.
Leeds University Union takes student safety extremely seriously. As well as providing help and advice through our Advice Centre, we also work closely with the University and their security teams to help you stay as safe as possible. This includes running a daily Night Bus from the Union building to your front door for £1, as well as working with Amber Cars help pay for your journey home if you run out of money.
Our safety work is largely coordinated through the Knowledge project: a partnership between the Universities, the Students’ Unions, the council and the police in Leeds. It provides students with useful advice on crime and crime prevention, as well as news, updates and listings of upcoming safety events. Click here to visit the Knowledge website.
For lots more information and tailored help around housing go to the Advice Pages.
When you collect the keys for your new house:
Take photos of every room, especially anything not in a good, clean condition. This is evidence of what the house was like when you collected the keys - you’ll need this later if you have problems getting your deposit back.
If there are any problems, inform the landlord or agent in writing. List exactly what’s wrong and give a deadline for it to be sorted. Emailing this is best so you have proof.
Check that your house has bins. You should have a black bin for household waste at the front or the back of your house. Make sure that it has your house number on it – if it doesn’t, paint it on. If you don’t have a bin, call Leeds City Council on 0113 222 4406. For more information visit the ‘waste’ section of this page, or visit Leave Leeds Tidy.
Remember to take meter readings on the day you collect the keys. Contact your gas and electricity providers to give them the meter reading and ask them to put the names of all the tenants on the bill, so you’re jointly responsible. ?If you don’t know who supplies your gas call Transco on 0870 608 1524 or to find out who supplied your electricity call Yorkshire Electricity on 0845 330 0889. If you don’t do this at the start of the tenancy you could be charged for energy used by the previous tenants, an expensive mistake. Also, check you’ve been given a Gas Safety Certificate. If you haven’t, ask your landlord for a copy - you have to have one legally.
Meet your neighbours. Just pop round and say hello. You’ll be living side by side for at least a year so it helps to get off to a good start.
Your landlord should have provided you with a checklist when you moved in detailing the condition of the property. Before you leave you can use this list to remind the landlord of anything that was in a poor/broken condition before you moved in. It’s also worth photographing your entire house when you leave, with the date set on the camera. This provides you with evidence of its condition, which can be used incase your landlord tries to charge you for any unnecessary repair or cleaning work.
At the start of the year your house deposit should have been put into a ‘tenancy deposit scheme.’ The schemes:
• Allow tenants to get all or part of their deposit back when they are entitled to it.
• Make any disputes easier to resolve.
• Encourage tenants and landlords to make a clear agreement from the start on the condition of the property.
There are two types of tenancy deposit protection scheme available for landlords and letting agents. All schemes provide a free dispute resolution service. If you’re unsure about who your deposit is protected with, just ask your landlord who should be happy to help.
For lots more information and tailored help around housing go to the Advice Pages.
Get the best deal when house hunting in Leeds. Here are some myths about house hunting that people get caught up by every year:
“You have to look early to get a house because there is a shortage of
good houses.” Simply put, this is rubbish. There are over 4000 empty beds in Hyde Park and Headingley alone! In fact, the later you leave it, the better chance you have of getting a lower rent because landlords start worrying that they won’t let a house.
“Rent is set by the landlord.” There is generally room to haggle with the price of your rent. The landlord or agent will set a rent but depending on how late in the season it is and what the house is like in reality, you may be able to negotiate a better price. They want their houses to be let as quickly as possible so you are in control to request any work that needs doing, scrutinise the contract and ask for the fairest deal.
“In addition to your deposit, you should pay signing fees or administration costs.” If you are asked for anything more than a deposit, and rent, do not worry about asking them to tell you what the money is for. Very often it is just a way of getting more money from a tenant so can be negotiated or even taken off. ?Be wary of landlords/agents who don’t want deposits but a one-off signing fee. With deposits you’re likely to get the money back, whereas with a signing fee you’ll never see that money again.
“All students live in Hyde Park and Headingley so I need to find a house there.” Headingley and Hyde Park may have a high concentration of students in but they also tend to have more expensive rents. Other areas such as Woodhouse, Burley, Kirkstall and Meanwood can be cheaper and closer to university. By thinking outside the box you just might find a better deal.
“If you see a house you like, you have to sign there and then.” There is always the chance that the house you have seen may be signed for by another group, but if you are not 100% sure, and if you haven’t had the chance to look at the contract and negotiate any repairs that need to be made properly, don’t feel that you should rush into signing. Remember it’s a myth that there is a shortage of houses so there is no rush!
Once you’ve found a house you like, University of Leeds students can get your contract checked at LUU Student Advice Centre before you sign! We can tell you about the legalities of the contract and tell you what we know about the landlord/agent. Click here to find the opening times and location for the LUU Student Advice Centre.
By recycling you can massively reduce the amount of waste that you produce for landfill. It takes no times at all – just get a second bin for your kitchen and put all the things on this list in there:
• Paper: junk mail, office paper, newspapers, magazines.
• Cardboard: brown card, glossy card, egg boxes, toilet roll tubes.
• Metal Cans: drink cans, food cans, pet food cans.
• Aluminum aerosols (must be empty): deodorant, cleaning sprays.
• Plastics, types 1, 2 and 4. These numbers can be found in a triangle on many plastic items.
For more information on waste and recycling in Leeds, including green initiatives the Union is involved with, visit Leave Leeds Tidy.
To check your bin day, visit the Leeds City Council website and put in your postcode.
Reducing energy consumption is good for both the environment and your wallet. Here are some really simple tips on how to save money by being green:
Tip 1 Make sure you are using the cheapest energy supplier. Energywatch can give advice over the phone (0845 906 0708), or visit Uswitch.com.
Tip 2 8-10% of an average home’s annual electricity bill is due to appliances being left on stand-by.
Tip 3 Setting your washing machine to 30°C instead of 60°C would save 40% of the electricity per typical wash.
Tip 4 Keep internal doors closed and draw your curtains at dusk to prevent heat from escaping.
Tip 5 Dry clothes on an airer rather than a radiator, which lowers the temperature of the room.
Tip 6 Try to do full-load washes to save energy and money - share a load with your housemate if you don’t have much washing.
Getting around Leeds can be quick and cheap. If you live on the way to Headingley then you can catch the 1, 6, 28 or 97 for just £1 from the Parkinson steps. If you live in Liberty Dock then travel to and from the University is also just £1. If you get the bus more than once a day you might want to consider investing in a student unlimited travel ticket.
Want to know when the next bus is near you? Check out the Metro website for real-time updates on when the next bus will arrive, as well as an interactive map of routes and bus stops.
The buses to and from Headingley run late into the night, but if you find yourself on campus late into the evening then you might want to think about getting the Nightbus. It'll take you directly to your door for just £1. Find out more here.
If you'd rather get around by bike then you might want to consider giving the University's bike hub a visit - you can hire a bike for any length of time, ranging from just a week to a whole year. They also do free self-help maintenance sessions and offer advice to make sure your bike is safe and fit to use. You can find them on campus near the E.C. Stoner building, or visit their website here.
If you experience any issues whilst using public transport or taxis in Leeds have a look at our page on how to make a complaint.