Looking for a university home is exciting but can also be quite stressful. As a student tenant, you should be aware of your rights and what to look for in a contract. In this blog, we will outline the key things to look out for in a contract and your rights as a student tenant.
Property owners entering the property:
There is a common view that property owners can enter your property without your permission, but this is not true except in an emergency such as a flood, or if you are injured or in danger. Property owners are required to provide you with at least 24 hours’ notice before entering. If you have any reason why they should not enter the property, then it is your responsibility to let them know as soon as possible. If you are not going to be in at the time of them entering your property and would prefer a trusted individual to be present while the property owner visits, then you can ask for a witness, or the property owner may reschedule until you are next available.
Most contracts will only allow guests to stay over for 3 consecutive days and after that, the guests will be required to leave. Additionally, it is important to know that if your guest damages any part of the property, it will be your responsibility.
If the guest stays over for a longer period than the time stated in the contract, then the property owner may arrange a meeting to discuss this. You may risk eviction in the case of a guest secretly living with you.
Decorating your home:
If you would like to re-design your home, you will need to check what your contract says first. If the contract does not mention anything about decoration, then you can ask the property owner for permission or assume that it is not permitted. Written permission will often be required.
Property owners are responsible for most major repairs throughout the property. if you require any repairs, you must report it to the property owner immediately. They are responsible for the following:
-Plumbing such as leaking pipes
-The building itself like doors, windows, and walls
-Heating and hot water
-Furniture that they provide
-Gas and electrical safety
-Replacing smoke alarms and fire/heat detectors
However, if you have caused a repair by damage, you may be charged for it or asked to fix it yourself (usually meaning to hire a contractor).
Fire Safety rights:
Property owners are also responsible for protecting tenants from fire hazards. At least one smoke alarm needs to be on every floor in the property and you should have a means of escape. Any property that has gas needs to have a carbon monoxide detector fitted.
Safety of appliances:
Sometimes your property owner may provide you with appliances such as toasters, kettles, and a microwave. Property owners must ensure that these are safe and functioning before you move in. All gas appliances in the property need to be carefully inspected and installed safely by a Gas Safe registered engineer. The electrical plug sockets and light switches will need to be inspected by registered electrician once every five years.
If there are mice or rats in the building, you should contact the property owner immediately. They will be responsible for planning how to get rid of pests with the help of the local health authority. However, depending on the cause of the pests, you may be charged if it is down to neglect on your behalf (e.g., leaving food outside and in the open).
If you follow your tenancy agreement, there would be no reason for the property owner to evict you. Examples of valid reasons for eviction include illegal subletting, breaking your tenancy agreement, overdue payments. Ensure that you carefully read the contract.
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