Going away to live in a new place while you study at university could be a magical adventure! For a few years, you’re likely to be living alongside other students in a shared house. While this may give you a lot of freedom that you might not have had in your parents’ house, sometimes you could encounter some problems. To try to help you deal with issues that you might experience in your student house, here are some tenancy rights we think it would help you to be aware of.
If you’re in a rented house rather than halls, chances are it’ll be a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). This means you live with three or more unrelated people and, if this is the case, your landlord will have extra responsibilities. Citizens Advice say that your landlord is responsible for ensuring your house sticks to a decent level of fire safety, including ensuring that the electrical wiring and appliances are safe. They should also provide working fire alarms and make sure you’ve got a safe escape route in the event of a fire. Landlords also legally have to make sure that your gas supply and any gas appliances they provide are checked yearly by an engineer. If you do feel like the safety of your house isn’t quite up to spec, you could try asking your local council to inspect it.
Fix up, look sharp
We’ve probably all heard a friend complain at some point about a landlord who hasn’t fixed various things. Yet, whose responsibility is it to make the repairs? According to Citizens Advice, most repairs will be your landlord’s responsibility. They’re certainly in charge of repairs to things like the structure of your home, the plumbing, gas and electricity, central heating and any appliances they provided you with. If something along these lines is broken, tell your landlord as soon as possible. According to regulations, it isn’t their responsibility to fix things until they know about them. Generally, landlords are allowed a reasonable time to make repairs, although be aware that there is no set definition as to what this means.
Citizens Advice states that you have the right to what’s referred to as ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your property, which means your landlord can’t cut off your water, gas or electricity or visit your house without your permission. If your landlord wants to come into to your house, for instances like showing a potential new tenant around, they may only do this if you agree to it in advance or if it fits with the terms of your tenancy agreement. Your landlord or their agent may visit for repairs but they must give you at least 24 hours’ notice in writing, unless it’s an emergency. If they can’t get hold of you and there is an emergency, such as a leaking pipe flooding the house, they’re allowed to force entry.
Getting that deposit back!
Getting housing deposits are often a hot topic among students come the end of the university year! There’s a few things it could be helpful to know when it comes to retrieving yours and Shelter have published advice on this. Most likely, you’ll have an assured shorthold tenancy, so your landlord legally has to protect your deposit in a TDP (tenancy deposit protection) scheme. There are a few reasons why they could deduct from your deposit at the end of your tenancy, such as if you damage anything, take any items or have outstanding rent. It’s worth filling in an inventory when you move into a new place so that there’s a record of the condition of your home when you moved in. This could be useful if your landlord tries to charge you for any damage that was there before you arrived. You shouldn’t have deductions for things like normal wear and tear, unpaid bills if they’re in your name or to cover costs for re-letting the property.
Can you be evicted?
It’s possible for your landlord to evict you for a number of reasons. For instance, if you’re at least two months late paying your rent, you’re involved in illegal activities or you breach any terms within your tenancy agreement. If your landlord gives you an eviction notice but doesn’t include a court order then this is illegal. The government’s advice on illegal evictions and harassment states that your landlord cannot use tactics like cutting your gas or electricity supply, not doing repairs or being physically violent to evict you. This is a criminal offence. Your landlord also can’t illegally evict you, using means such as changing the locks, stopping you from getting into your house or physically removing you from the property.
When you’re renting a student house, knowing your rights could help you avoid some stresses while at university. Another thing that could prove to be useful for peace of mind is student insurance. The Insurance Emporium’s Student Insurance includes Contents cover as standard and you could also choose Optional Benefits such as Loss Of Keys/Swipe Card and Accommodation Liability. There’s also a 20% Introductory Discount for new customers, as well as a 10% NUS Discount available. Think this could help you out? Open the door to The Insurance Emporium today!
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