Problems with your Accommodation

This page is for people living in private rented accommodation or University Accommodation, but not for people living with a resident landlord. If you have a resident landlord refer to our Resident Landlord section.

If things are not ‘right’ in your student accommodation, this can have a serious impact on how well you do at university and how much you enjoy your time as a student. It is important not to leave things in case they ‘sort themselves out’, as this rarely happens and often not in a way that is right for you.

Some of the things that can go wrong are:-

  • The accommodation is not in good condition when you move in, see our page on Disrepair
  • Things break or go wrong while you are living there, see our page on Disrepair
  • There are problems in the group, which affects the harmony of the house, see our page on Moving In (link to page)
  • You have a problem landlord or agent who does not fulfil their obligations, see our page on Landlord Maintenance Obligations to Tenants

What to do about problems?

It is important to recognise the problem and seek a solution, if you can’t find the answer and want help finding the answer please contact the Student Advice Centre

Disrepair

This page is for people living in private rented accommodation or University Accommodation, but not for people living with a resident landlord. If you have a resident landlord refer to our Resident Landlord page

Is everything as you expected it to be at the start of the tenancy?

For furnished properties it is an implied term of the tenancy agreement that the property must be ‘fit to be lived in’ on the day the letting begins. If the property is unfit, the landlord will be in breach of the tenancy agreement.

If you are moving into a furnished property and you consider it to be unfit, then contact the Student Advice Centre, as the earlier you say something the more rights you may have.

When you Move In

  • If your landlord gives you an inventory, it is important that you check it for accuracy, and make sure it is accurate before you sign it. This is important as the inventory is the record of the condition of the property when you move in, and will be used to assess your liability for any damage that is recorded when you leave. This may affect how much of your deposit you get back.
  • Check that everything works.
  • You don’t want to find out the heating system is broken when there is a cold spell!

There are problems at the start or during your tenancy, don’t panic! Most likely the landlord will get everything sorted out, but to make sure you have evidence if it proves to be difficult to get things fixed, we recommend you follow these simple suggestions:

  • Report the problem in writing (this can be by e-mail) as soon as possible. A landlord is only responsible for repairs once they are aware of the problem, or could reasonably be expected to have become aware of the problem.
  • Make a list, which identifies all the problems room by room, and give it to the landlord/agent as soon as possible.
  • Take photos of the problems and monitor what the landlord does about the repairs, if action is taken and everything is sorted out satisfactorily that should be the end of the problem.

If the landlord does not act and you feel you are not making much progress, then you will need to step up the pressure.

What you should expect from your landlord:

  • They should arrange to come round on a date and time, convenient to you, to inspect the problems and arrange with you when workmen can come to the property to fix the problem (note anytime someone comes to do work on the property, they are responsible for leaving it in a safe condition and cleaning up after they have finished).
  • How quickly a landlord should respond depends on the seriousness of the problem. Defects which risk a danger to the health and safety of the tenants or serious damage to the building should be made safe as a matter of urgency. Other defects affecting the comfort or convenience of the tenants should be dealt with, within a few days, and anything else should be fixed as soon as is practicable, up to around 28 days.

Note: not all damage is the responsibility of the landlord to repair. Landlords are not responsible for everything. As a Tenant you are likely to be responsible for:

  • Any damage caused by you (the tenant) or your visitors. Tenants should use the property in a responsible way; and under the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1988 the landlord can seek possession if the tenant or someone living with him has damaged the property. If it turns out that an element of disrepair is due to a tenant’s misuse of an appliance, then the landlord can seek compensation from the tenant in question – but only after putting right the disrepair.
  • Repairs to anything that is a part of the tenant’s responsibility to fix under use of the property in a "tenant-like manner" i.e. day-to-day repairs
  • Damp (if caused by not using the heating properly, or by drying clothes indoors)
  • Finding alternative accommodation if it is necessary for tenants to move out whilst repair work is going on

Escalating

  • Keep a written note of all the conversations you have with the landlord or his representatives.
  • Keep copies of all relevant correspondence.
  • If the problems are serious contact your local Authority Private Housing Team

Most Warwick University students live either in City of Coventry or Warwick District.

Landlords’ Maintenance Obligations to Tenants

This page is for people living in private rented accommodation or University Accommodation, but not for people living with a resident landlord. If you have a resident landlord refer to our Resident Landlord page

Statutory provisions mean that in most cases landlords have an obligation to do certain repairs and maintain key parts of the property throughout the tenancy, and this obligation cannot be excluded by the tenancy agreement.

The main provisions require the landlord to:

  • Keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling ( including drains, gutters and external pipes, windows as a whole or exterior doors
  • Keep in repair and proper working order installations for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and toilets) and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas and electricity.
  • Keep in repair and proper working order installations for space heating (eg central heating) and water heating.
  • Landlords will be responsible for damp if it is rising damp or penetrating damp, but not necessarily if it is condensation damp.
  • Maintain anything damaged through ‘fair wear and tear’ (If anything does break through ‘fair wear and tear’ your landlord should not charge you, see Disrepair.
  • Register a property if it is classed as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), also the property must meet certain minimum standards, For information on HMO’s please see Shelter

For further information about landlords repairing responsibilities see Shelter

In addition to the maintenance provision the landlord must:

  • Give proper reasonable notice about requiring access when wanting to do work on the property normally 24 hours unless it is an emergency.
  • Make good any damage to decorations, fittings or fixtures, that were a consequence of (a) the disrepair (b) the act of repair.
  • Organise an annual gas safety check for all the gas appliances in the property, and provide a Certificate showing that all the appliances have successfully passed the check – Gas Safety Certificate.
  • If the work carried out requires that you move out, then the landlord may have to meet the costs of alternative accommodation, but you should try to get the landlords agreement before incurring any costs that you might expect him/her to pay.
  • Comply with any other terms in the Tenancy Agreement.

If you have any questions or need further advice, please contact the Student Advice Centre