At the Advice Centre, we support students facing housing issues every day. Some are easier to solve than others, but knowing when to seek help is important to make sure your time in a tenancy is as stress-free as possible. We’ve put together a guide to common issues that can come up and our advice for dealing with these.
At the Advice Centre, we support students facing housing issues every day. There are a lot of common questions that we get asked and a lot of issues that many students will face during their tenancy that we can help you with. Some are easier to solve than others, and knowing when to seek help is important to make sure your time in a tenancy is as stress-free as possible. We’ve put together a guide to common issues that can come up and our advice for dealing with these.
One of the most common issues we help students with is disrepair in their rented homes. When it comes to disrepair, there are some things which are your responsibility to look after as tenants, and some which are the landlord’s responsibility.
Landlord's disrepair responsibilities:
Tenant's disrepair responsibilities:
As soon as you notice disrepair in your house, report it in writing (email/text) to your landlord or estate agent. Urgent problems (no hot water/heating, unsafe electricals etc.) should be actioned within 24 hours and less urgent ones within a few weeks. Landlords often delay dealing with issues too long, but you don’t have to put up with this. If your landlord is not prompt in their responses, ask an advisor for guidance straight away.
If your landlord is not dealing with serious problems such as electrical safety or heating, then you can ask the council’s Environmental Health team for help by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If necessary, they will inspect the property and order the landlord to make necessary repairs.
Disagreements between housemates are more common than you may think. We’d always advise that you try to speak to and resolve issues with your housemates because it is almost impossible to get out of a tenancy agreement. In fact, 99.99% of the time, the only way out is to find a tenant to replace you, which can be difficult, and even then, the other housemates could refuse to accept them.
If you’d like some advice about speaking to your housemates, or someone to potentially mediate a discussion with them, you can contact the University Wellbeing team by emailing email@example.com.
Most housing contracts are joint agreements, meaning that all tenants are jointly liable for the rent and bills. This means that if one of you stops paying rent or for their share of the bills, the rest of the housemates can be chased for this. If you’re having issues with your rent or bill payments, get in touch with us for advice by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen that some landlords try to take advantage of students, expecting them not to know their rights as private tenants. If you have a minute, take a look at our housing advice pages so you know what to expect when living in private-sector housing, or check out the highlights below:
If you’re having lots of problems with your landlord, or they are acting in a threatening or inappropriate way, please get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com to speak to an advisor.
We’ve published an article with lots of information and tips about how to be a good neighbour in your private house. You can also check out the University's Be A Good Neighbour Guide for more information. Here are the top tips:
The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.
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