Housing matters

The following information highlights some common concerns and addresses how to deal with them.

Rent arrears

It is always best to keep your landlord informed if there is going to be any delay in paying rent. You can also get some advice from the Student Finance and Welfare team about how to approach your landlord if you have problems either with rent or your tenancy.

Are you being asked to leave your property? If an agreement cannot be reached with a landlord over rent arrears payments, the landlord may threaten eviction. The landlord must serve a ‘Notice to Quit’ on the tenant giving a time scale. If the tenant does not comply with this, the landlord may then go to court to apply for a ‘Notice Seeking Possession’. There will be a time scale on this for the tenant. If the tenant does not comply with this notice, the landlord can go to court to obtain an ‘Eviction Order’. An eviction cannot legally take place unless the above process is followed. Attempting to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent without a court order is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

If you need advice regarding eviction, please contact a Welfare Officer:

T: (0116) 257 7595, option 3, then option 4

E: sfw@dmu.ac.uk

Council Tax

Full-time students are eligible to claim Council Tax exemption from your local Council, proof of your student status is required. In most cases your Council will automatically be notified by DMU of your eligibility, therefore there is no need for you to request a certificate. Twice a year; end of October, end of March, DMU’s Student Funding team produces a list of all full-time students to the following Councils to notify them of eligible students living in their local authority area:

  • Hinckley and Bosworth District Council

  • Market Harborough District Council

  • Oadby and Wigston Borough Council

  • North West Leicester District Council

  • Leicester City Council.

If you DO NOT live in one of the above areas, you should request a Council Tax Exemption Certificate from the Student Gateway, either in person, over the phone or via email; where it can then be posted or emailed directly to you or your Council. 

Please note: it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that we hold your current full postal address. If your address is incorrect on the University’s records, the documentation we provide will not reflect your current address details; therefore it is likely that you will not be automatically exempt from Council Tax. You are able to update your address via myDMU at any time.

Some Landlords/Letting Agents may request a certificate in advance of you moving into a property. Please make your request via one of the methods stated above. We are only able to provide certificates for students who are enrolled. First Year students will need to provide the Offer Letter and then provide a Council Tax Exemption Certificate once they have enrolled.

The following students are not exempt from Council Tax but you might be eligible for a reduction if you are on a low income:

  • Part-time students

  • Students living with non-students (the student is exempt but the property is liable).

If you are from one of the following groups, please contact us to determine if you are eligible: 

  • Distance Learning students

  • Writing-up students.

For households where there is only one 'non-student adult', apply for Single-Occupancy Discount. Parents/Partner looking to attain the Single Occupancy Discount can request a Council Tax Certificate for these purposes.

Contact us via:

Student Gateway, Gateway House

T: 0116 257 7595 (option 3, then option 1)

E: studentgateway@dmu.ac.uk

Household bills

Energy bills: rose sharply in April 2022. Energy suppliers can't cut you off if you are struggling to pay, they need to discuss a payment plan. Have a look at the information from the following organisations: Citizens AdviceTurn2Us, StepChange and OFGEM.

On 26th May 2022, the Chancellor scrapped the initial 'Energy Bills Rebate' scheme (£200 was to be deducted then £40 repaid annually over 5 years) in favour of a discount for all households of £400, to be deducted from bills in October 2022. Direct debit and credit customers will have the money credited to their accounts, while customers with pre-payment meters will have the money applied to their meter or paid via a voucher.

Households on means-tested benefits will also get a payment of £650 to help with the cost of living on top of the £400 discount (£1,050 support in total). The £650 will be paid directly into bank accounts in two lump sums, the first instalment of £326 should be paid at the end of July 2022 (marked as 'DWP Cost of Living'), the remaining £324 in Autumn 2022.

There will be separate one-off payment of £300 to pensioner households.
There will be separate one-off payment of £150 to individuals receiving disability benefits.

 

Council Tax: households in Council Tax bands A to D will receive a one-off rebate of £150 on your Council Tax bill in April 2022, it does not need to be repaid. A recent government update states that people who pay Council Tax by direct debit, will see the cash go directly into their bank accounts from April 2022. Those who do not pay by direct debit, will be contacted by their council and invited to make a claim. If you don't qualify, please check with your local authority, as some councils in England might provide a discretionary fund.

Other forms of support:

  • Act on Energy encourages energy conservation by providing free and impartial advice on energy bills, fuel debt, tariff switching, grant availability, etc, to households in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and surrounding local areas.

  • British Gas Energy Trust: you don't have to be a British Gas customer, but you do need to follow their process of seeking advice before applying for a grant.

  • Broadband: BT Home Essentials and Virgin Media Essentials £15 a month broadband for those on certain benefits. Talk Talk are offering 6 months free broadband for those on JSA, the Jobcentre Plus work coach will assess your eligibility and, if approved, will supply a referral code for you to contact Talk Talk to arrange installation.

  • Cold Weather Payment: for those on certain benefits. Runs from 1st Nov 2021 to 31st March 2022.

  • Coventry City Council cost of living website has lots of information, including the Household Support Fund for those struggling with buying food, paying energy and water bills.

  • Leicester City Council: provides help with a fuel arrears voucher scheme and a Household Support Scheme - deadline to be referred is 4th September 2022.

  • National Energy Action: a charity set up to increase support for the most vulnerable people with energy bills. Martin Lewis has donated £100,000 for the charity to set up a web chat.

  • Save Water Save Money: put your postcode in to see what freebies you can get.

  • Warm Home Discount: mainly for those on Pension Credit but the government is looking to widen eligibility to those on other benefits. Currently £140 but will increase to £150 from October 2022. 

  • Winter Fuel Payment: between £100 to £300 towards heating bills. Deadline to claim for this winter (if aged 66 and over) is 31st March 2022.

Help with food costs:

  • Healthy Start: iIf you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Your benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.

  • Coventry food help for families: has a link to their Household Support Fund (deadline to apply is 30th September 2022), along with links to social supermarkets and food banks. Your child may be eligible for free school meals.

  • Leicester City Council: buy food at heavily discounted prices, join a cook club  - kids eat free at the Stocking Farm Community Shop, buy food at deeply discounted prices, join a cook club  - kids eat free. Your child may be eligible for free school meals.  

TV Licence

Students who watch any programmes live or on demand, without a TV Licence, risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. This includes watching programmes on devices such as your laptop, PC, mobile phone, games console, digital box, DVD recorder or anything else. Your hall's licence won’t cover you, and you may not be covered by your parents’ licence. Don’t get caught out! Visit the TV Licensing website to find out if you need a licence.

Getting a refund: if you move out of your term-time address for the summer months, you can request a refund for the cost of the licence for that time, which could be around £37. As long as your licence is still valid for at least three full calendar months and you don’t need it again before it expires.