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Tenant rights in student accommodation

Tenant rights in student accommodation Landlord and tenant rights

Tenant Rights

You have certain rights throughout your tenancy to protect you and your housemates.

Building Condition/Dampness:

The landlord has certain responsibilities regarding the upkeep of the building. The building and surrounding area should:

  • Withstand normal use by tenants and guests.
  • Withstand the weather.
  • Be reasonable inside and out, including no damp penetrating the interior from the outside. Damp can be a big problem, and will usually be blamed on tenants. If ventilation isn’t adequate, it could be your landlord’s problem (an investigation may be needed to determine responsibility). Showers/Bathrooms need good ventilation – make sure you check that the fans are working correctly.

Privacy and Landlord Entry

The landlord or people acting on his/her behalf cannot enter to check the property or make repairs when they please. This must be agreed beforehand.

This is called the ‘tenants right of quiet enjoyment’ and means the landlord cannot disturb you. But, this only remains in force if you do not breach the tenancy agreement.

To view the accommodation and the ‘state of damage’ reported, 24 hours notice must be given. If you refuse entry you have no right to complain about the state of damage or any injury caused.

If the tenants are out when the visit is scheduled, and the landlord wants to continue with his visit, he must be accompanied by a witness.

Harassment

The landlord can sometimes be accused of, or be responsible for, harassment of the tenants when they want to enter the property. Acts of harassment include:

  1. Threats of violence or unlawful eviction.
  2. Disconnecting gas, electricity or water.
  3. Breaking keys off in locks.
  4. Deliberately disruptive repair works.
  5. Frequent visits at unreasonable hours.
  6. Entering the property without the tenants permission.

Damage

The cost of any damage caused by the tenants will be passed onto them and they have no right to complain if they breach the agreement for repair. If damage is reported by the tenants they must inform the landlord in writing using an ‘early notification letter’. In order to view the damage reported, the Landlord must give 24 hours’ notice. If you are out or refuse admission, you have no right to complain about the lack of damage repair, or claim for any accident that may arise from the damage. The Landlord may usually enter the premises if accompanied by a witness. Check your Tenancy Agreement for Landlord entry rules. Court orders and damage compensation is rare but it is good to be aware that these procedures exist.

Smoking

Smoking can be considered as damage to the property, as it is not general wear and tear. Given the smell can penetrate carpets and curtains, and smoke can even stain walls and ceilings, it counts as damage given they need to be replaced.

It is the landlord’s choice as to whether smoking is allowed or not in the property, and it will be written into your tenancy agreement. The landlord should provide smoke alarms in areas where it is permitted or at least a safe number throughout areas.

Landlord responsibilities

These include exterior and structural and all other elements of dwelling, including access, amenity spaces, the common parts in landlord’s control, associated outbuildings, garden, walls etc

Supply water, electricity, gas, personal hygiene faculties, drainage and sanitation, heating and heated water

Fittings and fixtures but excluded moveable appliances unless they were provided by the landlord.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) landlord responsibilities

In accommodation containing more than 4 people, 3 or more storey’s, bedsits or individual rooms, the Landlord needs to have a HM0 certificate which is issued by the local council. For further information please visit www.directgov.uk

Safety

All appliances provided by the landlord must be checked for safety by a registered installer within 12 months of their installation, and again 12 months after that.

Gas pipes must be inspected for leaks. If a gas appliance is deemed unsafe the installer must make sure that it is left in a safe condition. New tenants must receive a gas certificate for all appliances within 28 days of moving in. Signs of gas appliance being faulty are:

  • Yellow orange flame on a gas indicator or gas fire.
  • Stains, soot, discolouring around the gas appliance, flue or chimney is blocked which means Carbon Monoxide can be building up in a room.

We would strongly advise you get a carbon monoxide monitor for peace of mind, no matter if your appliances look like they are working correctly.

All furniture provided must adhere to fire safety regulations and must pass the cigarette test (the furniture fire safety act 1988), this test does not apply to carpets or curtains.

All portable appliances supplied by the landlord must have an annual PAT test.

See our detailed Safety section for more detailed information.

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