Why rent from John Winter?
Quite simply, I provide the best houses and the best service at great prices.
I have built my reputation by offering high quality homes for university students for over 45 years and I strive to be the very best student housing provider. I’m proud to be the only one in Cardiff with my name above the door.
My houses are in the most attractive student locations and are refurbished to the highest standards, and because I’m not a letting agent — I own every house I let — my excellent team and I can provide you the best service. Ask any of our current or former tenants firsthand and they’ll tell you what living in a John Winter house is like!
I know the importance of a safe, secure and comfortable home whilst at university, and everything about my business, from the design of my houses to the way you’ll interact with my team, is focused on ensuring you have the best possible experience of student life in Cardiff.
I look forward to welcoming you in to one of my houses.
About our houses
We offer a range of fantastic houses, ranging in size for groups of up to 7 students
- All houses are on the best student streets, with their own front door (and garden!)
- Excellent value — we have properties to suit all budgets, with rents starting from just £340 per person per month.
- Super-fast broadband (350Mb/s), with wi-fi signal guaranteed in every room
- High quality fixtures and fittings — luxury memory foam mattresses in every bedroom
- Space to study — all bedrooms feature double beds, a desk, chair, wardrobe and shelving
- High quality kitchens and living rooms to relax and entertain in
- All houses have tumble driers, washing machines and dishwashers
- Safe and Secure
- Houses are in quiet streets and safe locations
- Front doors have specialist, high-security locks with a unique key system
- Houses are redecorated and repaired to the highest standards
- Every house is professionally cleaned before you move in
The best student locations in Cardiff
All John Winter houses are situated in the best student streets around Cathays in Cardiff. The majority are located in the famed ‘Golden Triangle’, a small area containing the most popular student streets in Cardiff.
You’ll be close to the University, the City Centre, transport connections and Cardiff’s parks. We do also have houses which are suitable for access to the Heath Hospital, Cardiff Met (Cyncoed and Llandaff) and others more suitable for USW ATRiuM too.
We have an excellent dedicated team
They will get to know you, and are always available to help out. From signing-up to the last day of your tenancy, we want your experience of living with your friends at university to be as great as it can possibly be.
Our Lettings Team
Based nearby at our Woodville Road offices, we can resolve any query or issue you have:
- Highly responsive service by phone, email and Facebook Messenger
- Easy lettings and straightforward viewings process
- Utilities accounts and council tax exemptions sorted for you
- Available to discuss personal issues
- A pre-tenancy meet-up 2 months before you move in, to check you are happy and run through any questions
Our Maintenance Team
- Ollie, our Maintenance Manager, is on hand to resolve any issues in your house
- Fast responses to any maintenance or house issues
- No problem is too small
- Free wall fixing service, so you can make your house your home
- A dedicated window cleaner, who attends regularly at no additional charge
- A dedicated gardener to maintain your garden, at no additional charge
Renting with us
You’ll find renting with us a lot easier and more straightforward than renting with an agent.
We’re different to everyone else in that we trust our tenants. This means:
- No damage deposit
- No holding deposit
- No agency, sign-up or tenancy renewal fees
- No guarantors required (for UK-based students)
- No inventory
- Simple contract, signable online
- Straightforward rental payments — you don’t pay a penny until you move in
Top tip: Many students need to pay over £500 per person in damage (not to mention holding) deposits to sign a contract, money which is frequently not returned at the end of the tenancy. Factoring this in means renting with other agents can cost the equivalent of up to £40/month more. We would always suggest reading reviews and speaking with current tenants before signing for a house.
Frequently Asked Questions
Renting with us
When are the houses available?
In Cardiff, as in most major university cities, the annual student rush for accommodation for the next academic year typically starts in late October, and extends into the new year.
Our houses, being the most sought-after, typically let in the earlier weeks of this period. It’s unusual for us to have more than a handful left by the start of the Christmas holidays, and in some years every house is taken by December.
How do we secure a house for next year?
It’s easy! Start by booking a viewing via our online form, email or phone. We then meet at our office and have a friendly chat to get to know you and discuss your needs and wants. We can advise you on your budget, talk about the best types of houses and locations for your group and show you a selection of houses
Once you’ve decided on a house, let us know and we can draw up our straightforward, one-sheet-A4-equivalent electronic contract. This can be signed at our office or remotely on any internet-connected device, which is great if one or more group members can’t make it (e.g. they’re on placement overseas).
How long is the contract for?
Like all reputable student housing providers, we let on full twelve month tenancies starting July to end June.
This allows those with summertime placements, research projects, late/resit examinations or paid employment to live in their university city over the summer months. For most students, the independence of having‘their own place’ during the holidays is a vital part of their university experience.
What are the upfront costs?
There are none. No deposits, no fees, just a signature to secure a John Winter house.
What type of tenancy are the houses let on?
We let houses to established groups of friends for 12-month periods on joint Assured Shorthold Tenancies
When are the rent payments due?
Rent is paid quarterly in July, October, January and April, with an option for monthly payments from July to September. Most tenants find that quarterly payment is beneficial when budgeting their student loan, and we defer term-time rental payments until the week after the loan payment date for that period.
What if I want/need to leave?
We’ll be sorry to see you go, but understand that sometimes groups don’t work out. We assist tenants to find a replacement for themselves in any way we can. The only thing we require is that the rest of your group are happy living with the new person.
If you’re having personal or financial difficulties our Lettings Manager is always on-hand to offer confidential advice; we often find an informal chat can resolve the problems and keep you in a house you love.
Can I stay for more than one year?
Absolutely! Groups typically stay with us for as long as their degree courses will allow; we have even had groups on longer-than-average courses stay for four or five years.
Groups staying on typically benefit from their rent remaining fixed, and are always given continuous or overlapping tenancies even if moving from one house to another. Many agencies will insist on a gap of a week or more between tenancies, which means transporting belongings home or paying costly storage fees.
Do you offer ‘bills included’?
No.‘Bills included’ sounds attractive but is always a bad deal for tenants. In practice it means either unreasonably low usage caps with high excess charges, or grossly inflated rent so the landlord isn’t out of pocket if you leave the heating on.
When renting with us you are free to choose any utility supplier you like. As standard we will set you up with the cheapest reputable mainstream energy and water suppliers, but we do not make any commission or profit on this; our only goal to to get you the best tariff. We are also approved to help you resolve disputes with utility companies and will close the contracts for you at the end of the tenancy.
We would typically suggest allowing for £40-£50 per month to cover water, electricity, gas and internet.
Are the houses safe and secure?
Safety and security are our top priority:
- High-security exterior door locks with unique, restricted-profile keys which cannot be copied by commercial locksmiths — ours are the safest front doors in Cardiff!
- All houses have been intentionally acquired in locations that are known to be safe, well-lit at night, and give direct access to university, town and local shops without having to take unsafe routes.
- Hard-wired, interlinked smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detection systems in every house.
- Very few houses have rear lane access. The few which back on to gated alleys have additional security measures in place.
- Rear gardens are enclosed. Many of our houses are clustered together in consecutive runs or back-to-back blocks all owned by us. All your neighbours could be John Winter tenants too!
- Windows are all recently-upgraded uPVC or aluminium double-glazed with secure locking mechanisms, locked ventilation settings and restrictors where required. Many also function as ‘tilt-and-turn’ fire escape windows according to fire risk assessment.
- Annual gas safety certification is carried out by our Gas Safe-registered engineer, and up-to-date electrical certification is performed by our NICEIC-registered electrical contractor.
Are the houses modern and well-maintained?
All houses are refurbished to a contemporary style, with modern kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and appliances. Many have been upgraded to exceptionally stylish finishes not normally found in student accommodation — many tenants say their house in Cardiff is better than home (sorry, Mum & Dad!).
We routinely redecorate all walls for the start of each tenancy, redecorate any ceilings and woodwork as required and maintain a rolling programme of upgrades to carpets, furniture, fitted kitchens and bathroom suites.
Our reactive maintenance is second-to-none; we proactively encourage maintenance reports from tenants and virtually 100% of ordinary maintenance tasks are completed within hours. For more complex problems our specialist contractors normally resolve the issue within 24 hours and we have established contingency measures in place for the rarer, more difficult issues. For example, we have a stock of spare appliances ready to deploy should yours develop a fault.
We also operate a year-round programme of preventative maintenance, ranging from checks on such things as boiler pressures, locks and lightbulbs, to inspecting roofing, guttering, drainage and exterior brickwork. Exterior paintwork is automatically refreshed on a rolling programme also, and our busy team are always out looking for things to be repaired, updated and renewed!
Do the houses include a garden, and who is responsible for its upkeep?
All houses have a good-sized back garden, maintained at no added cost by our professional gardening team who visit least twice monthly. Many houses also have front gardens and internal courtyards, which bring in natural light and provide secure spaces for bicycles and refuse bins.
All gardens have washing lines, as an eco-friendly alternative to the tumble dryers fitted in every house (should the Cardiff weather permit).
Am I allowed to stick things on my walls?
We encourage all tenants to make their house feel like home. To help with this, we uniquely offer a free-of-charge wall fixings service; our maintenance team will put up any picture hooks, noticeboards, mirrors and even LCD TV brackets that you may have. We’ll also accommodate most requests to remove items of our furniture to storage, for instance, should you want your own desk or chair.
When the annual redecoration of walls takes place at the start of your tenancy, we can also request our decorating contractors use a tin of your own paint for a coloured feature wall in your bedroom at no extra charge!
What comes with the house and what will I need to buy?
All houses are furnished to the following minimum specification:
- All large electrical appliances — fridge/freezer (mainly American-style), electric oven, gas hob, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer.
- Top-quality sofas in Italian leather or mixed leather/fabric to seat all housemates
- Dining table and chairs, or breakfast bar and stools
- Queen-sized modern bed frame with top-quality memory-foam mattress
- Study desk with chair
- Shelving for course books and folders
- Blackout blinds at all windows
- Curtain poles
We also provide all houses which don’t have Council wheelie bins with heavy-duty, velcro-closure gull-proof sacks for storing general waste and recycling bags between collections.
Most students acquire other necessary items from home (ask parents to check their loft or garage for things they no longer want); other groups often purchase the other essentials jointly to spread the cost. You will need to provide any small electrical appliances you may need (kettle, toaster, iron, vacuum), your crockery, cutlery and kitchenware, bed linens and towels, and we recommend a 2/3‑section bin for the kitchen which allows for segregation of recycling and general waste.
A full list of recommended items is provided in our Handbook and in the pre-move in advice given to all new tenants.
Living with us
All tenancies start on July 3rd, when you’ll be able to collect your keys from our office. Your house will have undergone a full professional clean, including high-temperature carpet cleaning.
You’ll have already seen your house in the run-up to your tenancy however — uniquely, we invite all new tenants back to the house in May to meet with the Lettings and Maintenance Managers. Aside from refreshing your memory on what’s included, and helping you plan how you’ll make the house your own, this visit gives a chance to chat with us about any upgrades and refurbishments we’re planning for the house during the summer. We can also advise you how to plan a successful, organised move-in so you can enjoy the house fully from day one.
Who will we deal with during our tenancy?
Our dedicated team has three core members, working full time to respond promptly to any request:
- Our Lettings Manager (Rich) and Lettings Assistant (Izzy), who manage all day-to-day contact
- Our Maintenance Manager (Ollie), who you can contact directly to resolve any maintenance issue by either fixing it himself or arranging a specialist contractor
How do we get in contact with them?
Our team is based at our office on Woodville Road, in the heart of the main student area. We’re open to call up or call in every weekday, most weekends and often keep late hours in line with our tenants! You can drop in to discuss matters in passing or even collect extra rolls of Council recycling bags.
When you sign up you will be given the team’s personal phone numbers and email addresses. We will also set up a Facebook Messenger Group Chat, to allow round the clock communication between yourselves and the Lettings Team.
Over our 45 year history, we’ve taken pride ensuring every property is very well maintained. Houses are repainted annually (with exteriors painted every four years), and all are regularly inspected to ensure all aspects of the property are maintained to the highest standard.
Do I have to pay Council Tax?
No. All undergraduate students on full-time courses are exempt from paying Council Tax, and we have a special arrangement with Cardiff Council to directly register you as exempt. A small number of vocational courses involving paid work may not be exempt, but your course administrator can give clarification.
How do the bills work? How much are they?
We do not include utility bills in the rent. We would typically suggest budgeting between £40-£50 per person per month to cover internet, water, electricity and gas bills.
Many students find the marketing efforts of ‘bills-splitting’ and ‘all-inclusive’ bills package companies quite attractive, and often initially look for houses advertised as ‘bills-included’.
Such offers never represent good value for money; even packages advertised as ‘unlimited’ have unreasonably low usage caps and very high excess charges. These are usualy third-party products resold to the tenant, with big commission built-in to make the package profitable for the parties arranging the deal.
Where bills are included by a landlord in the rent, the price is calibrated to allow for grossly wasteful usage so the landlord isn’t out-of-pocket; any reasonable ‘bills-inclusive’ rent is a clear indication of a much lower-grade property than it might otherwise appear.
When renting with us you are free to choose any utility supplier you like, and as standard we will set you up with the cheapest reputable mainstream energy supplier as well as Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru). We do not make any commission or profit on this, and our only goal to to get you the tariff with the best balance of unit price and standing charge for students. We are approved to help you resolve any disputes with either water or energy companies and will also close the contracts for you at the end of the tenancy.
How does the internet work?
All houses are supplied with an incoming 350Mb/s super-fast fibre-optic broadband supply. This speed is usually reserved for large business premises, and ensures you can all stream or game with no slowdown or buffering.
We know that wi-fi signal can be patchy in Cathays houses if you only have a standard wireless router, so we have also invested in commercial-grade wireless mesh hotspots to guarantee wifi connectivity in every room.
We supply the broadband service at cost price, which is £30 per house per month (no other fees) and is added to your rent. However, if you would rather choose a different supplier you are free to do so.
Can I bring a pet?
As with most matters in a shared house we are normally happy for small pets to be kept, provided:
- All housemates are happy with the arrangement
- The person responsible for the animal ensure it is well cared-for, kept contained, and cleans up after it
- The welfare of the pet is assured
- The type of pet is appropriate for a shared house and normal student lifestyle
We would not normally consider cats or dogs appropriate – our typical pets would be fish in tanks, hamsters and gerbils, but we have, over the years, had various lizards, snakes, and even a tarantula named Kevin!
Do we need to clean the house when I leave?
No. We arrange a professional clean between every tenancy at no added cost .
We do ask you for a minimum level of cleanliness, but otherwise departing from your John Winter house couldn’t be easier – simply return your key, say goodbye, and off you go!
The minimum standard is a short list intended to avoid health and safety issues and make the work of our professional cleaners easier:
- Remove all belongings
- Ensure all refuse is collected or removed from the property
- Leave the oven to a normal domestically-cleaned standard
- Defrost the fridge/freezer ready for cleaning
Can I keep a car in Cardiff?
Yes! A car normally isn’t necessary for getting around — almost all our houses are under 20 minutes’ walk of anywhere you’d need to go — but every house can keep one or more vehicles.
Cardiff Council will grant two Residents’ Parking Permits per household and one Visitor Permit. These are priced at £7.50 for the first permit, £30 each for further permits. A permit lasts for 12 months and shorter durations are available with pro-rata pricing.
For temporary parking — e.g. for moving in/out — all streets have some limited unrestricted parking. Some houses are also situated on streets where there are no restrictions to parking; check with the Lettings Manager in the run-up to your tenancy.
Any other questions?
Feel free to contact us — we’re available on the phone, by email, through social media, or arrange to meet us at our office where we can talk you through everything.