Housing Guide: Pressure from Landlords
This is quite likely to be the first time that you have had to deal with a landlord or letting agencies. Dealing with them can be extremely stressful and it is okay to not have all the answers right away. Landlords and agencies may put pressure on you to sign forms, pay money and commit to clauses, but it is important to know what is in the contracts and what you are actually paying for.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to read through and understand each clause of your tenancy agreement. Landlords may pressure you into signing or give you a tight deadline to sign your agreement, but it is within your rights to ensure that you are happy with what is in the agreement and question anything you are unsure about. This may include asking an external person for advice. You can ask Student Services to check through your tenancy agreement for anything that may not look quite right.
When you move into a property, you should be presented with an inventory report. This report outlines everything that is in the flat as well as the condition of it. You have the right to challenge anything in the inventory report with your agent/landlord. Taking pictures is also a good way of proving to the landlord/agent the condition of the goods in the property are in the same condition as when you moved in. Try keeping a folder on a memory stick or hard drive that all tenants can have access to.
GET IT IN WRITING
When dealing with landlords there is one key rule: Get it in writing! Getting everything in writing will ensure that most disputes can be resolved by looking through past correspondence, or it may have been written in a contract. If you do have a verbal interaction, we advise emailing a summary of your interaction to your landlord/agent and getting a response from your landlord to confirm that they have read your email.
24 HOURS NOTICE
One of the rights you have as a tenant is to have 24 hours' notice if your landlord wants to gain access to the property. To do this they have to give the notice in writing, and they have to visit at a “reasonable time of day” as outlined by the 1988 Housing Act. These rules are laid out to give you, as the tenant, time to ensure that if you wish, someone can be home and that that the property is tidy. It is also important for the landlord to state who will be entering the property (such as themselves or a tradesperson) and why they would like to gain access to the property.
Some of the key points to take away from this blog are:
Get it in writing
Read through anything before signing
Get someone else to check
Keep your cool when communicating with landlords