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Mould and damp
Pests and vermin
Your landlord is legally responsible for most of the repairs in your home. This includes repairs to:-
- the structure and exterior of the building, such as the walls, roof, external doors and windows
- sinks, baths, toilets and other sanitary fittings, including pipes and drains
- heating and hot water
- all gas appliances, pipes, flues and ventilation
- electrical wiring.
Landlords are also responsible for any damage caused to internal decorations whilst carrying out any repairs.
Your landlord may also be responsible for any items that were in the property when you took on the tenancy for e.g. washing machine or fridge freezer. You need to look at your tenancy agreement to check this.
As a tenant you will be responsible for minor repairs / maintenance of the property. If you were to cause any damage to the property it would be your responsibility to put it right, or this could be taken from your deposit at the end of the tenancy.
How to report repairs to your Landlord
If any of the items listed above require repairing you should contact you landlord. They should then advise you who is responsible for the repair, what they are going to do to fix the problem and when this is likely to be done.
In EMEGENCY situations such as a gas leak contact the gas supplier immediately and notify your landlord to let them know that you have done this.
Follow up telephone conversations with a written letter to confirm what you have spoken about. Keep copies of letters sent to you landlord together with a log of dates / times you contacted your landlord. This will be useful if you find yourself in the situation whereby the repair is not getting done.
DO NOT try to do any repairs yourself. You could make things worse.
It would also be a good idea to take photos of the items that need repairing and if this has caused any personal items to be damaged also take photos of them as well.
If your health is being affected keep records of any hospital letters.
What to do if the repair isn’t carried out
In most cases the landlord will arrange for the repair to be carried out once you report it to them.
If the repair is not carried out you should:
- Write to your landlord again advising them that if the repair is not carried out you will contact your local council.
- Whilst waiting for a response get together your evidence such as letters to your landlord, photographs and letters from any other third parties that may support your case.
- If you have not received a reply back from your landlord in a timely manner write to them again advising you that are going to contact your local council to get them to check the safety of the property.
- Contact your local council via letter explaining the situation and request they inspect the property. An environmental health officer will then check your property. If the problems are harmful to your health or a nuisance to others they must take action.
We would warn that if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy it is quite easy for the landlord to serve you notice to leave the property (known as issuing a ‘section 21’ notice) rather than fix the problem, and that this is not unheard of. However, if your health and safety is at risk you must report the repair.
If you do not report the repair you may also find that your landlord will want to deduct part or all of your deposit as you could be in breach of contract.
Can I withhold my rent to get the repair done myself?
You do not have the right to withhold your rent as you would be in breach of contract. You could end up being evicted.
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Living in a property where Mould and damp is present can affect your health. Those with existing respiratory problems such as asthma and skin problems like eczema are more sensitive to such conditions.
If you notice mould growth and damp in your property you should report this to your landlord, however it is sometimes difficult to establish where the problem is coming from.
Your landlord would be responsible for this problem if it has been caused by leaking pipes or roof for example. You should follow the same process of how to report repairs to your landlord.
If the mould and damp is being caused by excess moisture such as condensation there are some things that you can do to help the situation such as:
- Drying washing outside
- Ventilating rooms regularly, leaving doors open allowing air to circulate.
- If your cooking or showering open the window and close the door of the room you are in.
- Heat your home a little more as this increases the capacity of the air around you to hold moisture
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Pests and vermin could make your home uninhabitable. They can spread disease, damage your belongings, sting or bite you, or aggravate certain allergies such as asthma.
If you have a problem with mice, rats, wasps, cockroaches (to name a few!) you should ask yourself the following:
- Was this problem here when I moved in? If so, this should be bought to the attention of your landlord as it would be their responsibility to deal with it.
- Have I caused the problem? If you may have caused the problem you will probably have to deal with it.
The environmental health department at your local council may charge you to get rid of the pests / vermin but a private company will probably charge more. They will also be able to advise you how to get rid of them yourself.
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Antisocial behaviour can mean many things to many people, but most commonly this can simply be described as behaviour that is causing you disturbance or even distress.
This could be:
- Noise nuisance – loud parties, shouting, noise from a TV, stereo, radio
- Eating other peoples food or using their things without permission
- Vandalism, graffiti
- Aggressive and threatening language and behaviour
- Hate behaviour/crime – behaviour that targets members of identified groups because of their perceived differences (for example, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, mental health, disability, race and ethnicity).
- Selling or using drugs
If you’re a living in a shared property and someone that lives there with you is behaving antisocially the first thing you need to do is discuss your concerns with them directly. You should explain what it is that is upsetting you and make clear to them how this can be resolved.
You may find it helpful to have somebody else there that doesn’t live with you to help you discuss the problem. Hopefully things will get better after having this conversation. Sometimes people don’t realise what they are doing is antisocial.
If it doesn’t you may want to speak to your landlord about the situation to see if they can intervene.
If the problem lies with your neighbours you should report the problem to your landlord. You could also contact your Local Authority as they must have a antisocial behaviour strategy in place.
In serious situations such as violence or sexual or racial harassment you may wish to seek help from the Police.
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When you’re a student money can be tight. You only have your maintenance loan and maybe a part time job to help you get by. It’s easy to think “all students get into debt” but keeping to a budget and knowing what is coming in and out will help you feel in control. You don’t want to be paying off unnecessary debt for years to come.
You can get budget calculators online and some other really useful tips on the Money Advice website https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
Your rent is a priority and you are at risk of losing your home if you fall behind on your rent payments. If you are unable to pay your rent contact your landlord immediately and let them know when they can expect payment. If your landlord calls you or writes to you makes sure you respond, if you ignore them they may start eviction proceedings.
If you do come to an agreement whereby the landlord allows you to pay the arrears over a period of time make sure that you get this in writing and keep to the agreement. Also be realistic about the additional amount you can pay each month so you are less likely to default.
If your landlord will not negotiate and asks you to leave you must seek advice.
You should visit the UEL Student Money, Advice and Rights Team. The SMART team aim to:
- Work with you to help you take control of your financials, tackle debt and access the funds you’re entitled to
- Provide advice, information and guidance on Government and University Funds
- Administer the Access to Learning Fund, Emergency Loans, Teacher Development Agency bursaries and others
- Work with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to improve financial know how among students
- Give guidance on other money related issues.
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