Tenancy Rights that all Students Should Know!
For most young people, going to university is the first step into being a fully fledged grown up. One of the most exciting rights of passage when going to university is getting your own place, but if you don’t know exactly what your rights are, you can end up getting stung by rogue landlords. Whilst they aren’t all bad, some landlords can spot vulnerable young students, with no knowledge on tenancy rights, and take advantage of them.
Though it would be extremely difficult to memorize tenancy law, here are some important points that you should remember before you sign on the dotted line!
By law, your landlord is required to carry out a number of different checks and meet a number of requirements in order to protect the safety of you and your house mates. One of the first things you should check for it that there is 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.
Student homes have often been known for attracting infestations of mice, bedbugs, rats and flies to mention but a few, however, this is your landlord’s responsibility to clear (most of the time).
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.
Your landlord does not have the authority to drop by whenever they feel like. Should they need access to the property, for anything from repairs to a viewing or even an inspection they need to give you at least 24 hours notice, or how ever long is stated in your tenancy agreement.
If you see any issues with your property that could potentially cause an accident or injury of any kind, you 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.
Maintaining a good relationship is a two-way street, so if you don’t hold you 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.
Your landlord can’t simply just remove your belongings from the property and change the locks, they have to give you written notice, at which point you should seek legal advice from a dispute resolution solicitor. Their notice needs 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.
If on the other hand you want to vacate the property, 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.