Landlord Blog: I’m a tenant. Get me out of here!
According to the National Union of Students (NUS), over three quarters of students have a problem with their property. So are landlords taking advantage of tenants or is it a case of unfair finger pointing? Rob Denman investigates:
“There’s been a lot of accusations thrown in the direction of landlords of late; from forcing tenants to live in poor conditions to evicting them should they be so bold as to ask for any home improvements and now private student accommodation is the latest area to come under fire.
“According to the NUS, over half of student accommodation has condensation, almost half have mould and a quarter have slugs, mice or other bush tucker trial favourites.
“The NUS is right; no one should have to live in poor conditions and landlords have a legal obligation to provide tenants with a safe place to live.
“But how does the property get in such a state? Is it as simple as negligent landlords using the perception that dodgy student housing is a ‘rite of passage’ or are properties being ill-used by student tenants? After all I can’t recall being all that house proud when I was a student!
“Let’s look at condensation and mould for example. Condensation often occurs when warm, moist air penetrates the colder parts of the house. This dampness then leads to mould. This warm, moist air is most commonly created by hot steamy showers and cooking. If the room is not properly ventilated, either by opening a window or turning on the extractor fan, then mould will flourish.
“This can, of course, happen in any household but if you’ve got, say, six students sharing a house, each showering (hopefully!) and each cooking (pasta is a student’s speciality) on a daily basis then this can only exacerbate the problem. Drying clothes inside is also a major contributor and, often, student houses don’t have much external space.
“A thorough inventory is a must for all landlords including those renting to students and should include photographs of the property. That way a landlord has evidence if tenants have damaged or contributed to the state of the property – inadvertently or deliberately.
“Ultimately landlords and tenants need to work together to improve the standard of student accommodation. Check out our infographic – Condensation Cometh – for helpful tips on how to minimise condensation in properties.
Rob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running.
Content correct at time of publication