Your bathroom ceiling is mouldy, your oven door doesn’t close and those wires hanging out of your wall keep making a really strange crackling sound. Does any of this sound familiar?
Student housing can be rough. Landlords are notorious for not actually caring and we are notorious for making a bit of a mess – which doesn’t always end up creating the best of relationships.
Here at Nerve, we’ve decided to take a look at what rights we have when it comes to housing problems and to let you all know what to do when you’re having problems. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go if your landlord or letting agent isn’t helping and you shouldn’t suffer in silence.
THE LEGAL BIT
I know it sounds boring, but getting clued up on some of the legalities will really help you out.
Did you know that landlords or letting agents cannot just walk in when they feel like it? The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that they must contact you within writing, with 24 hours notice and at a reasonable time for them to pay a visit. If not, you’re under no obligation to let them in, as you are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your property.
Also, bear in mind that landlords and letting agents are committing a criminal offence if they do enter your home without permission. It’s also considered harassment if they cut off any supplies, threaten you or remove your belongings.
This is a big one. We’ve all had annoying things we try to get fixed but our landlords ignore our emails and it never actually happens, right? Well, if repairs are considered an emergency, your landlord is legally obliged to have it repaired within 24 hours. If urgent, the repair must be done within four days.
YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TOO
Your landlord or letting agent might seem like a bit of an idiot, but you must remember that you have responisibilites too. You have to make sure you’re paying your rent on time because otherwise they can take steps to evict you.
Always make sure you’re behaving in a ‘tenant like manner’ and treat the property with respect, formally report any faults, respect your neighbours and just be an all-round good egg really.
WHAT TO DO
If you’re having problems with your letting agent or landlord ensure you keep records of any communication with them as it could come in handy at a later date. If the problems are getting serious or they’re not responding to your urgent queries over repairs then you can go to your local council who will have a tenancy advice team.
We’re also lucky here in Bournemouth as the university has a lot of schemes in place to help you – so go hit up SUBU advice if you’re struggling.