Heading to university is probably the most equally exciting and daunting thing you can do. For me, the most exciting thing of all was moving out of my family home and living with my friends! I love my parents, but there’s nothing better than finally having your own freedom and space. However, with the freedom comes a lot of responsibility.
One big thing that catches a lot of students out is that you can end up getting stung by rogue landlords. If you don’t know exactly what your rights are as a student tenant you can be taken advantage of by landlords that spot vulnerable young students a mile of!
This is why it’s so important to know your tenancy rights and you them to your advantage – the law is there to protect you after all!
This is our brief but essential guide to helping students everywhere avoid these undesirable landlords, ensuring you have the best time at University possible!
1. Health and Safety First!
Your landlord is required by law to carry out numerous checks on the property that you are renting to meet certain requirements in order to ensure the safety of you and your fellow house mates. A few essential things you need to make sure are in place include:
- At least one fire alarm per floor. Remember also in student halls each bedroom is classed as a different property, there should be a working fire alarm in each room.
- If you have gas powered appliances, they must be checked every year and signed off as safe. This need to be carried out by a plumber that is qualified. Ask your landlord to see the gas safety certificate and if possible, have it stored in the property.
- Look for any obvious safety hazards i.e. broken or look stair bannisters or loose tiles. If there is anything that could potentially cause an accident or injury, you really need to notify your landlord immediately.
Should they fail to meet any of these standards and you are out in danger as a result, you have the right to take legal action against them.
Hopefully this will never be an issue for you, but just in case! With most students struggling with monetary issues, balancing part-time work and study for example, being evicted is literally the last thing that anyone wants! It’s important to remember that maintaining a good relationship with your landlord works both ways, so if you don’t hold up your end of the contract, your landlord has the right to evict you from the property. Reasons for evictions breaching the terms of your rental agreement, could include rent arrears, allowing the house to fall into disrepair or being involved in illegal activity.
An important thing to remember is that this is your landlord’s property and you must respect it. I always say if you wouldn’t do something in your parents’ home – don’t do it in your student property!
If you do fall into such a situation, your landlord cannot simply remove your belongings from the property and change the locks. You must be given a written notice by your landlord, and when this happens its advised that you seek legal advice from a dispute resolution solicitor.
The notice will need to provide you with a specific date by which you need to move out and the reason that you are being evicted.
3. Pest Control
Student homes have been known to attract infestations of various unwanted guests! Be it mice, bedbugs, rats or flies – it is your landlord’s responsibility to clear any pesky visitors.
If you discover that you have an infestation of any kind you need to contact your landlord immediately. If your landlord fails to deal with this problem effectively and in good time, you have every right to leave the property or withhold your rent payments.
4. Prying Landlords
It’s often not known my many renters, never mind student renters, that your landlord does not have the authority to drop in and out of your home whenever they want to. Should they need to access the property for any reason, by it making repairs or even an inspection, then they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice beforehand.
It’s very important that although you may not feel like a fully-fledged adult yet, while you’re a student you need to be clued up on your student rights. We would hate for you to fall victim and allow these rouge landlords ruin your University experience!