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    • lindos90
    • By lindos90 2nd Oct 17, 11:49 AM
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    lindos90
    Advice for student house.
    • #1
    • 2nd Oct 17, 11:49 AM
    Advice for student house. 2nd Oct 17 at 11:49 AM
    Hi, my son has just moved to Uni to a private rented accommodation which is managed by a lettings agency.

    The property was advertised as fully furnished, including a washer and a tumble dryer, and all inclusive of energy bills. They have noticed a few problems, and have contacted the lettings agent for advice, but the agent has failed to reply.

    When they moved in the dryer is no longer there. The property is quite damp already so concerned about just putting their washing on the radiators and making the damp worse. Is it expected that they should buy one themselves, or should one be provided as it was advertised/rented on the basis of having one?

    They have received a bill saying that there is an unpaid gas bill still overdue and occurring additional admin fees. I have told them to forward the letter to the lettings agent, and that they are not responsible for paying this bill themselves, as all their utilities are included in the rent, and that gas wasnt even used by them. However if the bills remain unpaid, is the gas likely to get cut off?

    There are also quite a few other issues which they are not sure what to do about (which must have been known about when an exit viewing was done after the previous the previous tenants left). The security gate will not lock. Some windows are locked, others can not be closed at all. The post box has been forced open and will not shut, let alone lock. All the bins and recycling boxes are full of old unsorted rubbish, which the council state will incur a fine as the rubbish has not been put in the right boxes.

    Are these 'simple' issues and repairs that the students are expected to do themselves, or should they be reported to the lettings agent for repairs to be carried out? If they did try and repair themselves, could they then get into trouble for interfering with property they do not own?

    I realise that in the grand scheme of things that the issues are not massive, nor are they things I should 'do for them' as it is their time to grow up and do these things themselves. But I also know that there are landlords and letting agents that take advantage of inexperienced students/tenants. Just a few pointers I could pass onto them, to help them sort it out themselves would be really helpful. Thank you x
    Last edited by lindos90; 02-10-2017 at 11:53 AM.
Page 2
    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 2nd Oct 17, 8:14 PM
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    Lorian
    Theres also a clause by which if anyone drops out, or does not pay, the remaining tenants have to pay. Son told me the lettings agent said that was not the case, they would only be responsible for their own individual rent Oh dear, I think I should have got a bit more involved, but I didnt want to look like an overbearing Mum
    Originally posted by lindos90
    This catches a lot of people out - this is the joint liability issue I thought might be there. It may be of particular issue to you personally. Hopefully you have retained a copy of the deed of guarantee you have signed. you need to check if you are guaranteeing the payments of just your son's part of the rent, or for that of all the occupants.
    • Lorian
    • By Lorian 2nd Oct 17, 8:17 PM
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    Lorian
    ....and as other have said - you need the condition report for when the tenancy started. your son should have agreed this and got a copy.

    Assuming he/you have paid a dilapidations deposit that report is vital to proving the condition of the property (and inventory of landlord items) when handed back is the same as when handed over (less reasonable wear and tear or whatever the actual phrase is).

    This is required so that you can defend against unreasonable deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
    • payless
    • By payless 2nd Oct 17, 8:19 PM
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    payless
    The university ( poss via their Union) will likely have someone who can offer housing advice.
    Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as (financial) advice.
    • blackshirtuk
    • By blackshirtuk 2nd Oct 17, 9:48 PM
    • 490 Posts
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    blackshirtuk
    ....and as other have said - you need the condition report for when the tenancy started. your son should have agreed this and got a copy.

    Assuming he/you have paid a dilapidations deposit that report is vital to proving the condition of the property (and inventory of landlord items) when handed back is the same as when handed over (less reasonable wear and tear or whatever the actual phrase is).

    This is required so that you can defend against unreasonable deductions from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
    Originally posted by Lorian
    Doesn't it work the other way round in that the Landlord has to prove the deductions from the deposit are legitimate. The Landlord has no way to do this if there is no inventory.

    It is possible the LA is just very busy with all the students moving in. I would be advising your son's group to pop into the agents together to speak to the someone, hopefully the person responsible for the managing of the property. They should be asking for a timescale to fix the various issues or dates when trades would be visiting.

    As for the bins, I would be contacting the council to do a one off collection. Round our way the council is pretty good about advising new tenants.
    • chappers
    • By chappers 2nd Oct 17, 11:25 PM
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    chappers
    I would be pushing the letting agent as you have no contact for the LL and whilst your at it remind them of their legal obligation to provide a name and address to serve notices to.
    Tell them to get things fixed and sort the bins.. The inventory is up to you and the tenants as without it the LL will find it very hard to make deductions for damage etc, especially if it is not forthcoming despite a request.
    This one sounds like it could be trouble come the end, keep all communication in writing/email and make sure that you have copies come the end of the tenancy.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 3rd Oct 17, 3:46 AM
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    deannatrois
    I'm afraid this might come under the heading 'learning experience'.

    Tumble dryer - unfortunately if not in TA, not sure they can do anything. Cheapest one I can find is http://www.argos.co.uk/product/4810447?storeID=251&cmpid=GS001&_$ja=tsid:59158|ci d:599547982|agid:24338065850|tid:aud-144400486596la-290332394141|crid:86957976650|nw:g|rnd:35673171815 28305080|dvc:c|adp:1o1&gclid=Cj0KCQjwx8fOBRD7ARIsA PVq-NmCEBlk9TGFcv1gjbmEzKmUoDsRT-r2xwhJkPSBwnKmUr4pkjoyHawaAtgzEALw_wcB. they may have to club together to buy it but god knows if its any good. Do you know anyone with one they want to throw away? Freegle can be useful too.

    Get the tenants to get meter readings, phone up the supplier and set up as new tenants with a new account if they are paying the majority of the bills. You could also talk them through finding the cheapest supplier as well. The LL can't stop you changing supplier but it might hurt the £10 per week the LL is supposed to pay (is that per tenant?) - but god knows if he actually does that.

    Re damp, you will have to inform tenants of need to keep windows open when they are there (windows that will open). If they won't open because of a lack of keys look on google for how to identify key types for window locks. If due to damage, yes they will have to report it as a repair.

    Re: Wheely bins, it looks like you will have to organise a 'bin party' and get them all to sort it out with you supervising.

    Go round taking photos of everything that has turned up as a repair need. Write a letter listing the repair needs, take it to Lettings agency (get a receipt) making sure they know you have a copy and this letter will be referred to at the end of tenancy.

    My son is in actual student accommodation, he had a rug mistakenly called a mattress. Second mattress reeked of urine. At that point I found a decent Silentnight mattress for £139 and took it round last weekend, organised collection of the other two. Just what you have to do unfortunately (my son has ASD and some back problems due to poor posture due to his special needs).
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 3rd Oct 17, 11:38 AM
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    nkkingston
    Doesn't it work the other way round in that the Landlord has to prove the deductions from the deposit are legitimate. The Landlord has no way to do this if there is no inventory.
    Originally posted by blackshirtuk
    Yep, it does. When i was a student we got a full deposit back because the letting agency didn't have any evidence of the state of the properly when we moved in (they were trying to do us for professional cleaning, despite the fact it very clearly hadn't had professional cleaners in before we moved in, and very doubtful they would after we moved out). Frankly, it's bizarre now that the DPS has been in for so long that any letting agency is stupid enough not to do a thorough inventory - you could trash the place and they still wouldn't have a leg to stand on and all they're banking on is the tenants not knowing that. Bet the landlord they manage it for would be unimpressed.
    Mortgage
    June 2016: £93,295
    October 2017: £80,520.19
    • dimbo61
    • By dimbo61 4th Oct 17, 3:07 PM
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    dimbo61
    The LL has probably left it up to the Letting agents to set up an inventory and deal with maintenance issues.
    You must get your Son or the lead tenant to write a letter with pen and paper and post from a post office with proof of posting the issues with the property.
    Security and safety are the top issues.
    Windows that can't be locked or opened ( fire risk )
    It is up to the Landlord and his/her agent the letting agents responsibility to sort an inventory and have all the tenants sign a copy ( the lead tenant should also have a copy )
    If they can't be bothered then No deductions can be made at the end of the tenancy.
    • lindos90
    • By lindos90 6th Oct 17, 11:07 PM
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    lindos90
    Thanks for everyones advice. Son has taken meter readings, can't change supplier as the bills are in the name of the LA (just posted to the address). He went into the office today and handed over the overdue bill. The lady in the office was inundated (as its freshers week, new arrivals, initial issues etc). But she did agree to email the landlord about the tumble dryer and what they are prepared to do. I think we will probably get one if the LL doesnt provide, the place will get even more damp otherwise. Unable to buy a second hand one though as it would need PAT testing and there could be complications if not.

    The LA said they will send a private company to empty the green bin (that is full of non green rubbish, I actually think someone had stood in it to push stuff down so they could get more in!) Also going to ask someone to come to look at the damp. She gave him a small key that she thought was for the windows, but it doesnt fit (it is probably the key for the broken security letter box)

    So some positive action today, lets just hope they follow through on the things they have promised.

    He asked about an inventory (it even mentions one in the contract) but she said they/the landlord do not provide them. I have thankfully taken a fair amount of photos when we visited for a day before he moved in, which we will use if necessary. TBH though, it was so slapdash when we moved in, I doubt they will have high expectations when they move out!

    Good idea, when we next go up I will try and see if I can identify they lock type and try and get a key for the windows. I can't believe its never been mentioned before by a tenant tbh. The kitchen one is locked, which is going to be a pain when they are cooking and drying clothes there.

    I'll do like I did last year and give the place a massive clean next summer, so if it is inspected by the LA or LL they should be fairly happy with it.

    I very much appreciate all your comments, it has all been very helpful, fingers crossed now the LA gets the stuff done.
    Last edited by lindos90; 07-10-2017 at 10:52 PM.
    • cjdavies
    • By cjdavies 7th Oct 17, 1:02 AM
    • 2,708 Posts
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    cjdavies
    He asked about an inventory (it even mentions one in the contract) but she said they/the landlord do not provide them. I have thankfully taken a fair amount of photos when we visited for a day before he moved in, which we will use if necessary. TBH though, it was so slapdash when we moved in, I doubt they will have high expectations when they move out!

    I'll do like I did last year and give the place a massive clean next summer, so if it is inspected by the LA or LL they should be fairly happy with it.
    Originally posted by lindos90
    Personally I wouldn't bother or waste my time, you hold the cards due to no inventory by them.
    • lindos90
    • By lindos90 7th Oct 17, 10:51 PM
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    lindos90
    Personally I wouldn't bother or waste my time, you hold the cards due to no inventory by them.
    Originally posted by cjdavies
    Fair point I guess and totally take your point, but I was meaning that they must have had low expectations last time, so as long as we give it a tidy, I dont think the LL would be picking about small things. Also leaving it as we found it would just pass issues onto the next lot of students (whos parents are likely to be equally concerned as us) so I guess I would be doing it for them, rather than the landlord, guess I am a bit of a softie.

    In the mean time the parent of another tenant has mended the gate. As it is a security thing I would have preferred to get a proper repair, but I guess they are as concerned about their daughter as we are for our son, done now so can't change that.
    Last edited by lindos90; 07-10-2017 at 11:12 PM.
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