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Residential Info

Residential Info


People looking for residential lets are usually in it for the long run. At Digs we like to make sure you're happy - we keep in direct contact with you not just throughout the initial transaction but during your entire stay in the property to ensure that everything is running smoothly for you.

The term 'residential' or 'professional' let refers to letting a property that is neither student nor commercial.

We have a vast range of residential property in our portfolio of varying builds and size across Oxford and the surrounding areas. It's always worth keeping an eye on our website for when property becomes available to ensure you get the perfect property for you.

Renting can seem a daunting prospect raising lots of seemingly impossible questions if you have never done it before - but don't panic! Digs are here to help! We keep it simple so you don't have to worry. You will find lots of useful information on our 'Guide to Tenants' page including a breakdown of our lettings process and sample contracts. Lots of our tenants have also found our Affordability Calculator extraordinarily helpful to guide them in the right direction of how much to budget for their let.

And don't forget - you can always contact us for further help and guidance.



The Lettings Cycle


Student accommodation comes available months in advance of move in but this is certainly not the case for residential lettings. Properties in this category usually come on the market 1-2 months before the available move in date and can go very quickly - so it's always worth coming back to our website and looking again on a regular basis so you don't miss out.

To ensure that you get the property you want in the location that's perfect for you then contact us as soon as the property is released to arrange a viewing. All of our properties are listed on Rightmove and Zoopla and are also available to view right here on our own website. You can search by price, location and number of rooms and view photo's, floor plans and full descriptions of the properties - then click right through to let us know you are interested. We will then get back in touch with you to answer any questions you may have and arrange a viewing of the property at the earliest possible opportunity.

The length of the tenancy can vary depending on the property - usually either a 6 month or 12 month tenancy period is available. The contract length will be clearly stated on the listing for the property so you know it's available when you need it.



Useful Info - Residential Letting

If you are have never lived away from home before now the chances are you won't have considered many of these points - and even if you have there will likely be some extra points of consideration! Either way, there are costs and details involved in running a home that unfortunately some don't even think of before moving day. In this section, you'll find help, guidance and useful links to prepare you for independent living.



Choosing the right property ...

Where to start when finding the right property for you.


Who to live with

One of the first questions on any property listing is 'how many bedrooms would you like?'. If you are moving with family, this is pretty obvious! But if you are sharing, make sure you choose people you like and who you could live with. Maybe have a trial run for a week to see if anyone has any habits you just can't stand, or anyone who you know would just make living with them a constant party! Choose wisely - what's important to you in a housemate? Who will make a fun house mate but understand at times need your space? You're tying yourself into a long time with them, so this is the first big decision to make.



Travel time to work? Nearest train station or bus stop? Parking? Local shops? Night life? Where will your friends be living? Whichever is most important to you, make sure you check out the location you want to be in before looking for a property - and not just on Google Maps! Go there, take a walk and get to know the area. There are so many properties on the market it can overwhelm you - narrow your search further by looking in a location or street that you will be happy with.



There are a lot of factors that can affect the price you can afford. Be realistic - if anything it is better to slightly underestimate your expected annual income to avoid any potential problems with rent payments.  You then have your utilities to consider - not forgetting Council Tax. Check a properties tax banding here. Below you will find some helpful reminders of which utilities you need to think about. You then have food, social activities and personal expenditure to throw into the mix. Be realistic with what you can afford and get the right balance for you between cost, property and location. Our Affordability Calculator can be really useful too.

There are lots of websites you can go to help you budget - spend some time online or taking advice so you can be sure you will need overstretch yourself.


The RIGHT Landlord or Agent

You will probably have seen that there are a number of horror stories floating around of landlords and agents who 'run off' with tenant's rental money or deposits. It is a scary fact that agents do not have to register with any independent regulation agencies, are not regulated and do not have to go through any training in order to call themselves an Agent.

As responsible agents, and indeed honest people, Digs are members of The Property Ombudsman and have years of experience in all aspects of property renting, buying, selling and development - so you can rest assured you are in safe hands with us.

It is a matter of law, under the Housing Act 2007, that any deposit paid by a tenant to any landlord or agent must be protected by a Government approved scheme. There are several out there and Digs choose to be members of the DPS - Deposit Protection Scheme. As tenants of Digs, you will be provided with full details of your deposit payment being protected by them.

Most agents or landlords will charge for checking references, inventory preparation, drawing up agreements and admin costs, etc. It is a legal requirement for an agent to clearly state their fee structure on their website - so make sure you do your homework on what costs you will pay. We keep our fee structure very simple - you can find full details here - Guide to Tenants.

Whichever property you decide, make sure you do your research on the Agent or Landlord before you decide to take on their property.



Before you move in ...

Once you have chosen your property and finalised paperwork for next year there are still some points you should address with your future housemates before move in day.


Room allocation (shared accommodation) - Who will be in which room? How much space will you have? Who shares which bathroom?

In order to help decide which bedroom goes to whom, we have floor plans available for most of our properties. This can help you know how much space is available in each room and how many bathrooms there are and where. It's definitely worth working out before move in day who's got space where. You may not all move in on the same day. You don't all have to be present on Check-In day to meet our representative at the property and collect keys - but at least one of you will need to be. Don't worry, we will agree a date and time together in advance so you don't haveto 'fit in' with our timetable! We are here for you.

But how can you allocate rooms? Well - there are a few options.

1 - Size - Practically, there may be some of you who need more space than others. If one of you is studying architecture they may need the room with the biggest desk to spread out. If there is one of you who is notorious for the amount of clothes and accessories they have, maybe they need the big room. Be open and honest with your house mates, make sure they know what is important to you and be ready to compromise on something if you really, really want the biggest room.

2 - Leg work - Some students have previously decided to allocate rooms based on who did most of the leg work when finding the property - who dealt with the agent, who passed on any messages, who organized all the viewings. Utility bills will also need to be organised for the duration of the tenancy so it's a good idea to assign someone to be the main contact for all the utilities. The person heading all this up could get first pick of the rooms and work it down from there.

3 - Who's best suited? - Do you have a house mate who can't handle their drink so well? Or who has regular night time bathroom visits? It would be worth placing them right next to a bathroom. Has one of your house mates got a long-term partner or likes to 'play' around all parts of the campus? Then ground floor would probably be a good idea for these guys. What about someone who regularly carries in/out heavy instruments/equipment for their studies - it would be worth being on ground floor for ease of access and to save scratching walls up and down stairs.

4 - Rent split - Floor plans and room measurements can help you split how much rent is paid per person based on available floor space in each room.

5 - Pot luck - How about a card game? Names or room numbers pulled out of a hat? Draw straws? Roll a dice? You can just see what happens and who fate decides should be in each room!


Parking Permits

As with any major UK City, Oxford has strict parking regulations throughout. If you have a car that you want kept with you at University it is a must for you to look up where and when you can park, with and without a parking permit. Oxford City Council has clear guidelines on their website - OCC Parking.


Travel Expenses

It is advisable to travel your regular journeys at the time of day you will be travelling before you move in to your property so you can gauge the time it will take and any costs incurred. Many Oxford residents decide to walk or cycle most of the time, but if cars or public transport are required then always check timetables carefully and allow time for traffic and heavy commuting times.

For further travel advice, take a look at the Oxford City Council website here.

Consider also where you would store a bike in the property so it is safe and secure and not an inconvenience to the rest of the house. Taking bikes up and down stairs can cause scuff marks to walls that would not be classed as fair wear and tear when it comes to check out time.



No utilities will need to be paid before you move in, but this does not mean that you can't get quotes in, set up accounts and organise who will head up paying bills during your stay. If you are sharing a property, it may be a good idea to set up a house bank account that everyone pays into each month - making sure that you have plenty in there when needed to pay all the bills. One email address that everyone has access to would be a good idea as well and use this to register on any household accounts.

Bear in mind - it is illegal to make a profit on utilities without a licence, so you must ensure that at the end of the tenancy, once all final bills are paid, that any balance remaining in a kitty is split between everyone that contributed.

Bills to consider:

- Water

- Electricity

- Gas (where applicable)

- TV Licence

- Phone / Wi-Fi

- Contents Insurance

- Council Tax

CONTENTS INSURANCE - Your landlord or agent insures the property on your behalf but you will need to insure your own contents. It is advisable to have this arranged BEFORE you move in, to start on your move in date, so you can be sure you are covered from the start. Insurance can be a tricky thing if you have never organised it before - ask around for help from friends and family and make sure that you read your policy in full to make sure it covers everything you need it to and that you don't get caught out.


Household Provisions

The provisions in your house will vary depending on whether the property is offered furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. What comes with the property can completely depend on what the landlord has provided and will vary property to property. As a general rule, you can expect.



White goods

Window coverings (curtains, blinds or nets)



As unfurnished, but in addition you will find a few basic items of furnishing but again exactly what is included can vary depending on the property.



In addition to the unfurnished items there will be a more comprehensive set of basic furniture in each of the rooms.


The size and look of all items of furniture throughout the property may vary - for example the chances are not all wardrobes in the property will look the same. The property is going to be your home for the duration of the tenancy and as such you will want to feel as at home as possible. If you would like to replace any existing items with your own, this is not usually a problem but you MUST obtain written permission for the property manager. It will then be mutually agreed whether the property manager will arrange safe removal and storage of the item(s) or whether you would arrange this and the conditions of its storage.

The following household items are NOT usually provided for you when you move in:

- Bed & table linen

- Towels

- Cleaning products

- Cutlery, crockery or glassware

- Television

Family and friends at home are usually very good to help out with items you need - but bear in mind you will then need to transport these from your previous home. Social media can be a great tool to find items for sale or sometimes even free.

There are plenty of places throughout Oxford where you can buy all the essentials you need, whatever your requirements and budget may be.


Check In

At least one of the occupants will need to be present at the property at a prearranged time and date to obtain keys and sign the inventory on behalf of all the tenants. The date of the check in does not have to be the same as the start date of the tenancy if you can't make it - we will contact you in advance to arrange a mutually agreeable time and date for the check in any time after the tenancy has started.

We will provide 1 set of keys for each tenant over 18 at this check in appointment but please bear in mind - if not all tenants are present at the check in, that person(s) is responsible for all keys on behalf of the other tenants.


Deposit and pre-tenancy rental payments

You can find details of how and when these payments fall due on our Guide to Tenants page.



You're in ...

Congratulations! And welcome to your new home! This section gives you some guidance on what to expect, what your responsibilities are as tenants and some ideas on how to ensure smooth running of the house.


Property Manager

Throughout your tenancy you will always have someone you can get in touch with any queries. We have 3 services that we provide to our landlords - Tenant Find, Rent Collect and Fully Managed (further details here). The service your landlord has signed up to with us denotes whether we are your Property Manager, or the landlord is your Property Manager. This will be clearly laid out, with their contact details and emergency number, in your Tenancy Agreement and will usually be listed again inside the property itself.

In case of any emergencies, it is your responsibility to contact any Emergency Services by dialling 999 and contact your Property Manager at the earliest safe opportunity.

Even if we don't manage your property, there may be times you require assistance - maybe you can't get in touch with your landlord or you need some advice - please do get in touch, we are here to help.



It's a very good idea, if you haven't already, to set up a house bank account to pay all your bills. Again, it's a good idea to set up a house email account for all your online accounts with any correspondence from various suppliers. Either allocate one person in the house to manage these for you, or give everyone equal levels or responsibility but make sure your decisions are clear to, and agreed by, everyone before setting them up. The easiest way to ensure everything is paid on time is to set up standing orders on or around the same date for all suppliers and standing orders from each individuals bank account to the house account a week before the first bill of the month is due. This way you have a week to check that there is enough money in the account for everything to be covered, so to avoid late payment charges from your suppliers and overdraft fees from your bank.

A credit card could be another option - but this will be another monthly cost to consider.



You could do the same with your rent as with your bills - have it all come from one bank account at the same time, but this is not what we would advise. To be clear - each tenant over the age of 18 will sign their own tenancy agreement and each of you is responsible for your own element of the rent. However you are all jointly and severally liable for the whole monthly rental amount, so if one person doesn't pay then the rest of you would be liable for their share.

We do have a fee for late payment, which would be chargeable to whoever's rent is late.


Day to Day living costs

Food, cleaning products, drink's - it's vital to agree between you all whether you will each buy and store your own or share them. Why not have a cash kitty kept somewhere safe, when it gets low everyone put in the same amount to top it up? Again, it's really important to agree with everyone what the rules are on what can be paid for from the kitty.


Household Chores

Cleaning and gardening will be down you, the tenants, so it would be worth setting up a rota of who's responsible for what. We can provide contacts if you want to outsource these services, but there will be a cost involved. Simple tasks such as changing lightbulbs are also your responsibility. If ever you have any maintenance issues - for example a leak, then you need to contact the Property Manager for them to arrange a maintenance team to come and attend at the earliest possible opportunity. The bills for general maintenance are chargeable to the landlord, unless they are down to neglect on your part. Further details can be found in your contract, or sample contracts can be found here.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - the property manager will provide you with a 24 hour emergency contact number. However please note, if the property manager or their representative attends the property for an 'emergency' and it turns out not to be, there will be a charge for unnecessary call out.


Care of the property

All tenants are obligated to take reasonable care of the property they rent. Ensuring that entrance doors are locked when unoccupied, taking reasonable care to avoid stains and damage, ventilating the property regularly to avoid damp residing are good examples of general care. This is your home - we ask you to take care of it as such.


Preparing to move out ....

Can you believe it - it's time to move out! There are some key points to highlight for you when it is nearing the end of your tenancy.


Refresh yourself on your agreement

It's always a good idea to reread your tenancy agreement at the end of your tenancy to make sure you that you have everything covered that you have agreed to and to remind yourself what to expect. It would be a good idea to come back to our website and get yourself clued up on the key points noted here too.


Check your original inventory

It would be wise to check the property carefully against your original inventory. This way you can start to get an idea of what to expect we will point out when we come to the check our appointment.

You can check what is deemed as fair wear and tear, and indeed much more, with the AIIC.

If you spot any work required that you know you have definitely caused, then you can get it professionally repaired or indeed replaced for like with like, but your Property Manager needs to be informed in either of these instances. We are more than happy to work together with you before the end of your tenancy and put you in touch with a network of maintenance teams for any job required.

Alternatively, any work necessary at the point of check out would be arranged by your Property Manager and any costs incurred for anything about fair wear and tear would be deducted for your deposit.



As with the Check In, we will be in touch to arrange a mutually agreeable time to come to the property, receive back all keys and produce an inventory. At this point we will look at and discuss any work required.

You must ensure that the property is left in the clean condition you received it in - either by cleaning it yourself or hiring in cleaners. If, at the point you check out, it is not at the standard it should be we will arrange for it to be cleaned and deduct the cost from your deposit.


Deposit Return

We aim to return your deposit within 48 hours of your check out, assuming there are no necessary deductions.

If any deductions are required, we aim to return your deposit within 48 hours of the latter of all work having been successfully completed and all invoices having been received from suppliers.



We're here to help...


Still got questions? Don't fret! You can always take a look at our 'Guide to Tenants' page for further detail or indeed, get in touch!