A guide to student property: Legal rights
OnTheMarket looks at a few key facts for students to consider when renting their first property.
Students renting self-contained accommodation from a private landlord will most likely have what is called an ‘Assured shorthold tenancy’ (AST), making the student an ‘Assured shorthold tenant’. This means the tenancy will usually last for six or 12 months and gives the student a right to have their deposit protected and be given notice of eviction. Here are a few key facts from OnTheMarket, for students looking to rent their first property:
– Before moving into the property, you should receive a copy of the tenancy agreement including: the tenancy start date, the amount of rent due, when rent needs to be paid and how and when the rent amount can be changed. It should also state the length of any fixed term agreement you have with the landlord. It’s your right to ask your landlord for this information in writing and they must respond within 28 days of your request. Make sure you read the tenancy agreement carefully before signing it.
Landlord contact details
– It is your right as a tenant to have an address in England (or Wales) to contact your landlord.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
– Since April 2007 it has been a legal requirement to secure any tenant’s deposit in the government approved TDS. You are entitled to take legal action against your landlord if they don’t do this.
TDS has launched a Code of Recommended Practice. This Code of Practice sets out the recommended requirements which letting agents and landlords should meet as members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Access to the property
– Your landlord doesn’t have the right to enter your home without prior arrangement. If they need to carry out repair work, the landlord or acting agent can enter your home but must give you at least 24 hours notice in writing (unless it is an emergency).
Broken items and repairs
– You should let your landlord know about anything faulty or broken as soon as you spot it because it’s their duty to repair major things. If it’s something minor such as a fuse which needs to be changed, they are not legally obliged to do it.
Gas and electrical safety
– It’s up to the landlord to ensure all gas and electrical appliances are safe to use. The landlord has to arrange a gas safety check every year (by a Gas Safety engineer) which ensures any appliances using gas are in good working order. The landlord should have a record of the engineer’s report, and is obliged to share it with you.
As a tenant, as long as you remember to pay all bills (rent and utilities) on time, keep the property clean and tidy and keep noise to a minimum, you should find yourself without any accommodation troubles. Always check with a professional regarding legal and/ or financial advice.
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