Student Blog

Your essential guide to the start of your tenancy

Your essential guide to the start of your tenancy

The first day in your student accommodation

Aside from your birthday, it’s the most exciting day of the year. You get to collect the keys for your new student accommodation. Woo woo!

Aside from deciding which wall gets the honour of wearing your Banksy poster, there’s lots of things to think about.

Here’s a super-simple run through of everything, so you’re prepared.

Before you arrive

Make sure you’ve signed your contract, paid your deposit and set up your rent payment.

If you’ve not done these things, we won’t be able to release your keys.

Our new online system means that, if you signed your tenancy in November 2018, you can relax. You’re all over it.

If you’ve only just signed up for your accommodation, you’ll need to make sure everything’s done in time. You can pay your first rent instalment at the branch, but it’s much more hassle than making sure you’ve sorted everything before time.

Check the office open hours, too. We don’t want you to turn up to find a locked door.


You’ll need to bring some with you, or else we won’t be able to release your keys. Your student ID will be fine, or your passport or driver’s licence.

Where to go


If your landlord manages the property themselves, they will make arrangements with you for collecting your keys.

The majority of tenants will need to come to their local branch of Purple Frog. You can find the address and contact numbers, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/contact-us/.

When to arrive


Your tenancy begins at midday on the first date shown on your tenancy agreement.

We can’t let you collect your keys and move in earlier than that time and date. For a start, there will probably be old tenants or cleaners there.

Unfortunately, we can’t let you ‘just drop a couple of things off’, either. As the properties are meant to be totally empty, there’s always the risk that the cleaners will think your stuff has been left by the old tenants and throw it away.

We can’t look after your possessions in the branch either. There’s barely enough space for us, as it is.

You will have to find storage. Fortunately, lots of the storage companies will do student discounts.

What to expect


Some move in days are really busy. The 1st July one being the busiest.

That means there might be queues. While we try to process everything as quickly as possible, it might be that you arrive at the same time as lots of people. We work on a first come, first served basis.

Our Selly Oak office always has some refreshments ready for everyone in the queue. You can enjoy some free grub while you’re waiting, but you can’t jump the queue.

That also means that, if you’ve got a pressing engagement somewhere else, make sure you leave ample time for doing both.


You can ask someone else to collect the keys for you.

You will need to tell us in writing who that person will be – an email is best. They will also need to bring photo ID.

If you want to do this, please let us know before the day. All of the team are busy and we might not have seen your email.

You can find lots of information about moving in on our website, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/movingin/.

Once you’ve got your keys


You can move in and start deciding, which fridge shelf is yours, where to hang the fairy lights and the best comfy chair for Xbox marathons.

We inspect and, if necessary, try to ensure all the properties are cleaned and repaired before all our new tenants move in.

As hard as our contractors work, they can’t always get to every house in time – they have 24 hours between old tenants moving out and new tenants moving in.

We call as many of our new tenants as possible to check their moving in plans. We then try to work our cleaning schedule around these plans. Imagine us pushing little plastic models of cleaners around a huge map of the area – it’s sort of like that.

Sometimes it’s not possible to ensure only the later moves are cleaned after move in day.

If that’s the case, we’ll tell you when you collect your keys. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to clean the property. In fact, we’ll give you a timescale for when the cleaners will visit. Please bear with us.

Sometimes, we make mistakes and you might go to your house and find that it’s not been cleaned.

Sorry if that happens. It’s totally unintentional.

If you do find the cleaners haven’t been, tell us. (https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/maintenance/)

We will instruct the cleaners to come back and finish the cleaning.  You don’t have to clean the house yourself.

Jobs will be prioritised. We want you to be happy in your new student home, but we also need to make decisions based on the urgency of the jobs that need to be done. Please bear with us. We’re not trying to upset you or palm you off.

Home-making – deposits

We get asked lots of questions about deposits. Which is fair enough, we realise that making sure you get your deposit back is a priority.

We have loads of information on deposit returns on our website (https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/howtokeepyourdeposit/). But the York Notes version is:

  • Take time-stamped photos when you move in
  • Don’t use Blu-Tack or things that will mark the walls
  • Keep the place clean
  • Report maintenance when things break or wear out: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/maintenance/
  • Read and sign your inventory

We’ll make sure you are fully prepared when it’s time to move out, but there’s nothing wrong with starting off with a clear idea of what’s expected.

Home-making – bills

If you’ve not got bills included in your rent, you will need to set these up yourself. We have some information about what you ned to do, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/utilities/.

One of our student bloggers has also written an excellent article about how to sort bills: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/blog/student-accommodation-bills-explained/. This is well worth a read.

If you’re a tenant in Birmingham or Bristol and you’re on the same contract as your housemates, you’ll need to tell the council that you’re students.

As long as you’re a full-time student, you’re exempt from council tax. But, you need to tell the council that you’re exempt.

It’s useful to do this because you

  • Won’t get demands for money from the council
  • Don’t have to sort it out, in a panic, when you leave

There’s information on sorting out council tax, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/movingin/counciltax/.

Home-making – DIY

There are somethings that you will need to be able to do in your student house. And also some common issues, which most households experience, that are super simple to fix.

You can find answers to some questions like ‘why have the lights gone out’ (fuse box) and ‘WTF is happening to boiler’ (pressure) on our maintenance pages: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/maintenance/how-to-guides/.

Also, make sure you check out what you need to do yourself and what we’ll come and do for you: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/maintenance/who-should-fix-it/.

Your complete guide

If you have a question about your tenancy, you can probably find it in our eHandbook. This covers everything from keeping safe and secure (https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/ehandbook/security/) to stopping mould appearing (https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/maintenance/condensation-and-mould/).

You can find this complete guide, here: https://www.purplefrogproperty.com/students/ehandbook/.

The most important thing in the world

Enjoy moving in day and your tenancy!

How do you feel about Purple Frog?