How Student Renters Could Deal With Properties In Disrepair
A long, long time ago, I was a university student too, and I experienced jumping from one place to another because of poor housing conditions. During those days, I just accepted that all houses for rent available to students were below standard. But that shouldn’t be the case.
If you’re a student tenant of property to rent in the UK, read on to learn how to deal with repairs and “unfit” rental properties.
As a student tenant, you’re commonly responsible for the following:
- Looking after the property for rent like a regular tenant
- Telling your landlord about any repairs that are needed and provide access to the property when needed
- Being responsible for your visitors
One of the first things that your landlord should do is to guarantee that the property is “fit to be lived in,” if you’re renting furnished accommodation.
A property is deemed unfit to live in when it is unsafe, infested with pests, fitted with defective drainage or sewerage system, and not provided with adequate water supply.
So if you feel, upon first inspection of the property, that the space seems to be “unfit”, then it’s practical to resolve your issues with the landlord before signing the tenancy agreement.
Now let’s get to the most juicy part: the most common problem that every student tenant I talk to is the responsibilities of a landlord when it comes to repairs.
Under the law, your landlord is mostly reponsible for repairs. However, keep in mind that not all repairs are your landlord’s resonsibility. Here is a checklist of which repairs your landlord is required to address:
- the structure and exterior of your home – for example: the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors
- basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework
- water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.
Moreover, the law also makes the landlord responsible for gas and electrical safety, furnishings, and asbestos (or rather, making sure the home isn’t fitted with asbestos).
Another issue that student renters struggle with is how quickly a landlord must comply with a request for repair. If you’re going to look at the law, it doesn’t provide a specific period for compliance for such requests. But circumstances like the seriousness of the repair, whether or not there are occupants in the space, and availability of parts are also taken in consideration when computing for the period.
Based on my experience, if the landlord doesn’t want to lose his tenant/s, then it’s better to make the repairs as soon as possible.
Aside from moving out, however, a student tenant has other courses of action when your landlord neglects his duty to do the repairs. Some of them are:
- Asking the local authority for assistance
- Witholding the payment of rent because of disrepair
- Offsetting your rental arrears with the disrepair
- Applying as homeless because of the disrepair
- Taking court action
Before you take any of these steps, be sure that you have complete records or evidences of your request and your landlord’s reply on the matter.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find a nice living space during your time as a university student.