Leaving home for the first time can be challenging enough, without having to cope with rogue landlords and substandard rental property.

The law is changing and will offer students better protection.

When things go wrong with rented properties, students have the right to get them fixed and the government has published How To Rent guides to help out.

Government legislation protects students and their money from rogue landlords and agents. And new laws coming into force on 1 October, around the time when a new term starts, will mean landlords must provide adequate size bedrooms and sufficient rubbish bins.

Six things students should know on move-in day:

  • Your deposit must be protected in a government-backed scheme – get a certificate from your landlord or agent.
  • Check the property is safe – think fire, electrical, gas safety certificate, and hygiene. If you have concerns, raise them with your landlord or agent immediately.
  • Agree an inventory with your landlord or agent – or you could lose money when you move out.
  • By law, landlords must install a smoke alarm on each floor (and carbon monoxide alarms if needed) but it’s your job to regularly check they are working.
  • Know who is responsible for bills (water, electricity, gas) and take meter readings.
  • Landlords or agents must be reachable to fix problems quickly – make sure you have their contact details.

Landlords or agents must deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply, and maintain appliances and furniture they have supplied. Councils can step in when landlords don’t do their job, and there are independent schemes to help resolve disputes with letting agents.

Houses lived in by 5 or more independent people will soon have to be licensed in an extension of laws which previously only covered buildings of 3 storeys or more.

Homes of any number of storeys will be covered under the extension, meaning more students will be helped – with tiny bedrooms (of less than 6.51 square metres for one adult) banned and landlords forced to provide the right bins to homes.

The laws will come in from 1st October but local authorities can give landlords up to 18 months to get bedroom sizes right.

As well as this, new regulations taking effect from 1st April 2019 will keep renters’ money safe by only allowing letting agents that join a government-approved client money protection scheme to handle their money.

The government have released the own guidance notes on renting a safe home and you can access them HERE

We recommend students rent via a reputable HMO/Student Accommodation letting agency. Most universities will have a list of locally approved agents who are licensed and have a good reputation for providing safe and legally compliant property and tenancies.

Source: Gov.org