Moving into a new flat/house can be a daunting experience for most people, and students are no exceptions. We’ve all heard horror stories of landlords ripping students off, so here are a few things you should know before you sign that contract.
1. Landlord Visits
Landlords might own the property you live in, but that doesn’t mean they have the right to stroll in whenever they feel like it. If landlords require access to the property, be it for a viewing, repairs or a check, they are legally obliged to give you 24 hours notice before carrying out the visit.
2. Having Guests Over
Most landlords are happy for you to have guests over whenever you want, it’s your housemates (if any) that you need to think about in this regard. Try to give your housemates fair warning if you’re having guests over, it’s only polite. Don’t forget that you are liable for your guests’ behaviour, meaning you’ll be responsible for any damage they might cause. There is a fine line between having guests over and subletting your apartment, so tread carefully! If you accept money from guests in return for a place to stay, it is considered as subletting which is a big no-no and could get you evicted.
3. Fire and General Safety
Landlords are responsible for ensuring there are efficient fire escape routes as well as fitting at least one smoke alarm per floor of a building. Fire extinguishers, fire alarms and fire blankets should also be provided. Find out who’s in charge of checking and maintaining the smoke and fire alarms. If it’s the landlord, make sure that they are fulfilling their checks. If it’s you, make sure that they work properly and replace the batteries when needed.
You might feel the urge to put up posters, photographs and paintings to make your flat feel more homey, and who can blame you? But be very careful of how you go about doing it! Any damage you cause to the walls (nails, blu-tack) will almost definitely cost you an arm and a leg when it’s time to move out. As a rule of thumb, make sure that the property looks the same on moving out day as it did on moving in day.
Make sure you check the property over on the day you move in and report any issues to your landlord straight away to avoid being held responsible for any pre-existing issues. Most repairs and changes will be carried out as soon as possible by landlords and in case of an emergency, it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to have repairs carried out within 24 hours.
Landlords are legally responsible for placing your deposit within government-owned deposit schemes known as TDP (Tenancy Deposit Protection) schemes. Doing so ensures that both you and your landlord are protected in the event that a dispute arises. If your deposit is not placed in a TDP within 30 days of you paying it, you may be able to claim compensation!