What are my responsibilities as a student tenant?
For a majority of students, university is their first real experience of property rental.
The newfound freedom and independence of living away from home is really exciting, but staying in the know of your rights and obligations as a student tenant should be a top priority to avoid incurring some nasty deductions to your deposit, or getting taken advantage of.
Not to worry; we at Roome are here to get you clued up on your rights and make renting as a student that bit more simple!
What are my responsibilities as a student tenant?
First off, let’s discuss what your obligations are to your landlord.
Student tenants’ main goal should be to collect the full sum of their deposit at the end of their tenancy.
A tenancy deposit is an amount of money paid to your landlord prior to the date of move-in, which acts as a security in case you do not abide by the terms of your tenancy agreement. To avoid losing some or all of your deposit, you must read and understand your housing contract and meet the expectations that it requires. For example, you are responsible for leaving the house in the same condition that you were let it in (allowing for fair wear and tear). For more on tenancy deposits, check out our blog.
You are also responsible for paying your rent and any utility bills (gas, electricity, water, broadband, etc) on time.
Any bills for routine maintenance and repair are up to your landlord to pay.
What are my rights as a student tenant?
- All gas and electrical appliances provided must be safe
Your landlord is legally required to prove that any appliances powered by gas or electricity are safe.
Gas appliances such as cookers must be installed, maintained and reviewed each year by a certified Gas Safe engineer. These reviews must be recorded, and if appliances pass the check, a gas safety record must be provided. This should be kept at the property for reference.
Ensure that your landlord has the property’s most recent gas safety record on hand before signing a housing contract. If they fail to do so, this is considered a crime that is punishable by fines or even imprisonment, which shows just how important it is!
If your landlord furnishes the property with electrical equipment (microwaves, kettles, toasters, etc), they are under legal obligation to guarantee the safety of these appliances.
Your landlord must also have the safety of any electrical installations reviewed by a certified electrician at least once every five years.
- Your landlord must protect you from fire hazards in the property
Your landlord is also under legal obligation to keep you safe from fire hazards.
There must be a smoke alarm on every floor of the property. Your landlord is responsible for making sure that these are in working order before you start your tenancy, but the responsibility might be passed on to you once you move in. Check your tenancy agreement to be certain.
If there is a working fireplace or wood burning stove in any room in the property, your landlord must fit a carbon monoxide alarm as well.
If the property is a House of Multiple Occupation (whereby three or more tenants live in the property, forming one household), your landlord must fit a fire extinguisher on each floor.
- Your landlord might be responsible if the property has a pest infestation
The lines of this responsibility can be somewhat blurred. There are a few things to establish if you have a pest infestation in the property that you are renting:
- Is pest infestation covered by your tenancy agreement? Read the terms, and establish whether your landlord has taken on responsibility for dealing with pests.
- Did you cause the infestation, or was it there upon moving in? If the pests were there before you moved in, your landlord is most likely responsible for dealing with this. If you caused it, it’s on you to deal with.
- Was the infestation caused by a fault with the property? If the infestation was caused because the property was in a state of disrepair, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to sort this out.
- Your landlord is responsible for some repair works
Your landlord is responsible for most major repairs, including gas and electrical repairs, works done to heating and hot water, and works done on bathroom equipment like sinks, baths and toilets.
As a tenant, the responsibility for minor repair works such as changing light bulbs lies with you. You will also be responsible for covering the cost of damages if you cause any.
As for damp and mould, responsibility is determined by who caused it.
- You must be given at least 24 hours notice before your landlord enters the property
Your landlord might own the property, but as a tenant, you must be given advance notice of any routine visits, viewings or repair works. They must let you know at least 24 hours ahead of the visit, unless in case of an emergency like flooding or a crime taking place in the property.
If your landlord lets you know that they will be visiting but you won’t be home, you can ask for a witness to be there.
- Your landlord must give you notice before asking you to leave the property
If you sign a fixed-term tenancy agreement, your landlord legally cannot ask you to move out early unless the tenancy agreement includes a break clause.
Notice to leave must be provided in writing, with your landlord’s signature.
If your landlord tries to make you leave by cutting off water, electricity or gas, by withholding keys or by threatening you, you must call the police.
- Your tenancy deposit must be protected in a government-backed scheme
Your landlord must place your tenancy deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by law. This must be done within 30 days of your landlord receiving the payment.
A tenancy deposit protection scheme is an independent organisation that prevents your landlord from spending your deposit or making deductions without good reason.
You can take legal action if your landlord fails to protect your deposit.
How Roome is simplifying the relationship between landlords and student tenants
Roome is a multi-functional web and mobile application designed to revolutionise the student housing market for students and landlords alike.
Roome offers a medium for students and landlords to communicate quickly and directly, removing the usual friction that comes with renting from a private landlord.
Roome provides deposit collection and protection services to give you the peace of mind that your money is being properly safeguarded throughout your tenancy.
We also enable the easy upload of information such as guarantor details so that your landlord doesn’t need to chase you for them.
If you want to rent or let a student property in a way that is straightforward and hassle-free, check out our website for more information on doing so.
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome