If you’re heading off for your first semester at Uni, it can be easy to get caught up in all of the excitement of living away from home and having your very own space where nobody cares what time you crawl in.
But before you get too ahead of yourself and start planning which posters to hang on the walls of your new student digs, you’ll need to be aware of a few tenancy rights that help protect you as a student tenant and make sure that your landlord doesn’t fob any of your concerns off.
Here is a quick rundown of the most common student tenancy problems and the rights that are in place to protect you as the tenant.
Our landlord keeps entering the property without us knowing about it
From a legal point of view, your landlord or letting agent cannot enter your student accommodation without giving you and any other tenants in situ at least 24 hours notice. This not only covers inspections to the property for maintenance purposes but also includes access to carry out repairs.
The only time that this particular tenancy right doesn’t apply is in the cases of emergencies where your safety might be at risk; otherwise, you should legally be given the appropriate notice period.
In many cases, you might not actually be in the property when the landlord wants to visit. If this makes you uneasy for any reason, you can request a witness to be present in your absence.
My student accommodation has unwanted guests!
Sadly, some student lets can be home to some unwelcome visitors such as mice, rats and even bed bugs!
The rights of the tenants are a little trickier here as they depend on the pest in question. For mice, report the problem to your landlord, who is responsible for getting rid of the rodent. For rats, both your landlord and local authority need to be contacted.
Bed bugs are another issue entirely, and if you bought the offending bed yourself, it’s up to you to remove the problem. However, if the bed was already in place as part of a furnished tenancy, then your landlord needs to foot the bill for any pest control or a new mattress and base.
My housemates have people staying over
Many student tenancies don’t mention too much about overnight guests, but if you find that a housemate is constantly having people stay overnight and its causing friction, you might want to talk to them about it first.
As long as any student tenant isn’t accepting money (known as sub-letting) for other person staying overnight on the odd occasion, its best to approach the subject with them directly. If someone else who hasn’t got a tenancy agreement is staying there on a regular basis, speak to your landlord who will be in a much better position to remedy the situation.
I want to paint a mural on my bedroom wall
No student tenant should decorate any area of the property without the express permission of their landlord, so if you’re planning an electric blue bedroom, it’s a good idea to speak to them first, or you could be hit with a bill to return the walls to their original colour.
Some nicer landlords might let you decorate your room as you choose, but you will be expected to return the space to its original state before you move out. Just remember that you’ll need to patch up any holes you make in the walls when hanging photos or picture frames too.
My landlord is refusing to fix major problems
Some of the less pleasant landlords want to spend as little money as possible on their properties, but legally they are responsible for major repairs to structural issues including windows and doors, sinks, baths and toilets, heating and hot water, pipes and wiring plus electrical and gas safety.
If your student property also came with any white goods or appliances that no longer work, it’s up to your landlord to replace them.
For things like replacement lightbulbs and blown fuses, you’ll have to do these minor repairs yourself.
My landlord is threatening to evict me!
Unless your landlord has a court order and a pretty good reason for turfing you out, then you don’t need to worry.
The only reasons that a landlord can legally evict you from your digs is none payment of rent for more than two months, regular late payments, breaching the terms of your tenancy agreement, being involved in illegal activities, causing a nuisance for the neighbours, letting the property fall into an unacceptable state or refusing to leave at the end of your contract.
If none of the above apply, seek legal advice as your landlord is potentially breaking the law.