Finding a student house can be a daunting and frankly monotonous task. Searching for our student housing for the third year of university we looked around no less than 15 houses! Whilst you resign to not finding the house you all had in mind, you must not settle for anything less than an officially registered landlord. This may seem obvious but it must be noted that there are many out there and checks must be made.
The introduction of new legislation in July 2007 now means that landlords have to retain the ever growing amount demanded for damage deposits on trust, restricting their use of the money. Problems initially occurred in this area when companies were using the money received for damage deposits to invest in other areas of business. When the unsuspecting tennants came to the end of their license agreements even though their houses were in an equal state to which they were at the beginning of the lease, the deposits went unreturned. This means companies were taking over £1000 per house without being able to justify it, but often went unchallenged.
The law has now recognised the need for more consumer protection and although tennancies started after July 2007 are subject to this legislation, losing your damage deposit is not always the only area where students can lose out. Houses often require maintenance through the year and good communication to your landlord is essential to this. Having student friends at various universities i’ve heard many different stories. One groups (unregistered) landlord was often out of the country, never returned any calls or correspondence and did nothing to aid the problem had with damage being caused to the property by a third party. They are now looking into legal action to attempt to get their deposit back. Another friends’ (unregistered) landlord was suspected of giving the key of the property to someone who in turn burgled the place, causing problems with the insurance as there was no forced entry.
When a landlord is unregistered there must be a reason. Even if it is to evade tax it still shows that they are willing to skim off the top, and the next victim will be you. Here are some tips when moving in to student accommodation:
* Always check the landlord is registered with the appropriate authorities
* When moving in to the property take photos and date them so the state of the house is indisputable
* Inform the landlord immediately of any problems in the house
* Ask the permission of the landlord before making any structural alterations, even the smallest change e.g. installing a sky dish
* Photocopy or record any correspondence you have with your landlord
If all of these are followed if the situation does come to the worst you have sufficient evidence to prove you are innocent. You will also be guarded by legislation and can be guaranteed a basic level of protection as when landlords register they have to adhere to a standard of care. Happy hunting!
This article was brought to you by Thomas Rayner for Nottingham Student Housing [http:www.1nottingham.co.uk]
[http://www.1Nottingham.co.uk] is a new website set up by Paul Smith dedicated to showing people that Nottingham is the place to be. Users can find information on anything in Nottingham from Nightlife to Student housing. The website is always on the look out for reviews from the people that visit the clubs and bars, pictures of special events and business’ to advertise.