Heading off to Uni is an unbelievably exciting time for young people, but it’s also a daunting time! One of the most exciting aspects of heading off to university is getting your own place. Moving in with your friends – what could be better! However, if you don’t know exactly what your rights are, you can end up getting stung by rogue landlords. While we all wish everyone in the world was genuine, some landlords can spot vulnerable young students a mile of and they will abuse you!
This is why it’s so important to know your tenancy rights, and take advantage of them. The law is there to protect you after all.
This is our brief guide to helping you avoid this rogue landlords, ensuring you have the best time at Uni possible!
Health and Safety!
By law your landlord is required to carry out a number of different checks to meet certain requirements in order to protect the safety of you and your house mates. A few things you need to make sure are in place include:
- At least one fire alarm per floor. If you live in student halls where each bedroom is classed as a different property, you need to ensure there is a working fire alarm in each room. In addition to this, there needs to be satisfactory means of escape should there be a fire.
- Most modern student properties will have electrical ovens and other appliances, however is you have gas powered appliances, they must be checked every year by a plumber that is qualified to do so.
- Before agreeing to anything, ask your landlord to see the gas safe certificate and if possible, have it stored in the property. This also goes for electrical appliances.
If you have any issues with your property that could potentially cause an accident or injury of any kind, you really need to notify your landlord immediately so that they can have it repaired. Should they fail to do so and you suffer an accident as a result, you have the right to take legal action against them.
Hopefully you’ll never come to this, but just in case. Remember that maintaining a good relationship is a two-way street, 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 could include rent arrears, breaching the terms of your rental agreement, allowing the house to fall into disrepair or being involved in illegal activity. You need to remember that this is your landlord’s property and you must respect it. If you wouldn’t do something in your parents’ home – don’t do it in your student property!
Your landlord cannot simply just remove your belongings from the property and change the locks. You must be given a written notice, and when this happened you will need to 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, the reason that you are being evicted and information on where you can seek advice.
Despite popular belief, your landlord does not have the authority to drop in and out of your home whenever they feel like. Should they need access to the property, for anything from repairs to a viewing or even an inspection, then they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice.
Unfortunately, many student homes have often been known for attracting infestations of unwanted guests! By it mice, bedbugs, rats and flies to mention but a few – and it is your landlord’s responsibility to clear.
If you discover that you have an infestation of any kind you need to contact your landlord immediately so that they can make plans to have them taken care of. Rats are especially dangerous so you should also contact your local health authority!
If your landlord fails to deal with this problem effectively and in good time, you have every right to leave the property and withheld rent. If on the other hand you want to vacate the property for any other reason, remember that you can only do so under exceptional circumstances, or if the landlord has breached the tenancy agreement, otherwise you may still be liable to pay the full rent, until the end of the lease.
The most important thing to remember is that just because you’re a student – and might not feel like a fully-fledged adult yet – you have legal rights. Don’t let rouge landlords ruin your uni experience!