Room in student house without a window

(400 Posts)
Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 22:59:15

DD's in her second year and has moved into what is otherwise a nice student house. However her room has no window. It has 2 doors, one into the hall and the other into a kitchen/lounge. So she has no natural light and no direct ventilation. She does get some light (and reduced privacy) through the frosted glazed door between her and the kitchen, but if she opens it to get air, then she gets cooking fumes and noise too.

We have raised it with local council HMO office who are not being very responsive, although they have spoken to landlord who has put in a brighter lightbulb! Landlord has said to DD's housemates that he knows loads of people at the council, and that if he's told to do anything it won't happen until next summer, so DD is wasting her time complaining about it. He's also said his wife is having a baby and is stressed at the thought they might have to pay to sort it out. As a result DD's housemates, who all have nice rooms with proper windows, are telling her to drop it, even though they have all declined to swap rooms with her.

I believe the problem could be fixed for less than £5k, which given collectively they are paying £38k in rent for the year is not too shocking.

Not sure what else to do really. Anyone got any advice?

OP’s posts: |
AndNowItsSeven Wed 05-Oct-16 23:02:09

Your dd is in a storage room/cupboard not a bedroom. Why did she agree in the first place?

Kerberos Wed 05-Oct-16 23:05:46

Sounds dreadful. Why did she agree to that room in the first place!

tropicalfish Wed 05-Oct-16 23:08:46

38k in rent a year! Im in the wrong business. How many bedrooms has this house got? I would find somewhere else.

Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:08:50

It's a 6 bedroom house, and DD was late to the viewing, due to having lectures, and so just caught up towards the end.

When you first look at the room you assume that the second door goes outside. In fact that's what we assumed from the photos - but it is just an internal door.

OP’s posts: |
Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:09:55

They can't find anywhere else - firstly they have a contract, secondly the other 5 are happy with it, as their rooms are all fine. Also there are not any 6 bedroom houses available anyway.

OP’s posts: |
Kerberos Wed 05-Oct-16 23:10:52

So she didn't check properly and now is paying the price. Are the others in the house friends or ransoms?


BakeOffBiscuits Wed 05-Oct-16 23:10:58

How did she end up with that room?

Kerberos Wed 05-Oct-16 23:11:13

I meant randoms!

Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:13:13

She's with friends. A few of the others drew straws to allocate rooms, although she wasn't there at the time. She has the heaviest workload of them all, due to her course, so has to spend a lot of time in her room.

OP’s posts: |
BakeOffBiscuits Wed 05-Oct-16 23:13:41

I would just complain to the council anyway.
I'd also email him yourself stating that you have noted he has "friends at the council" but will be informing them anyway.

BakeOffBiscuits Wed 05-Oct-16 23:16:01

That's very unfair she wasn't allowed to draw straws. Sounds like they stitched her up.

Just complain unless they are willing to swap rooms with her.

Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:16:10

I have informed them. The council came round, and said that he knew the landlord to my DD. He also agreed it was a bit dark, and that he would speak to the landlord.

But since then, apart from the Landlord putting in a new lightbulb and complaining about DD to her friends, nothing else has happened. It has an HMO Licence, which is due to expire this week.

Whenever I call the guy at the council he is 'out' and doesn't return my calls.

OP’s posts: |
BakeOffBiscuits Wed 05-Oct-16 23:17:26

Oh dear. Can you complain to someone else at the council? A manager or someone.

Kerberos Wed 05-Oct-16 23:17:40

Being me I would kick up a stink and threaten to move out unless one of the others agreed to swap rooms half way or every term. She's been dumped with the tiny room through a process she's had no part in. Does she pay the same rent as everyone else?

I'd also be thinking it's not a LL issue. When they viewed the house it had no window. It's not been blocked up since.

Merrylegs Wed 05-Oct-16 23:17:58

She should pay less in rent (ie the others should pay a bit more) OR take turns with others to have the room - they could draw lots.

We had a room in a cupboard in our student house and we would swap around each term. That's what mates do.

Poor show from the landlord though. Perhaps pull him up on 'elf and safety (is the room easy to escape from in fire for eg?)

stonecircle Wed 05-Oct-16 23:18:23

Some friends! Does she pay less rent than the others? (In DS2's house they've worked it out so the person with the biggest room pays the most and the person with the smallest pays less.)

If she can't get her 'friends' to support her with the landlord then maybe she could say she wants to swap rooms at the end of this term so someone else can have a turn in her windowless room? If they won't do either then I hope she finds someone else to share with next year.

Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:18:30

HMO = House with Multiple Occupants. Apparently there are stricter controls, but the rules seem ambiguous and confusing. I'm getting the feeling that the guy from the council just wants us to go away as he approved the licence originally.

OP’s posts: |
tropicalfish Wed 05-Oct-16 23:19:23

I can imagine my dd making the same mistake.
They just do everything in such a hurry not realising the long term implications of their hasty decisions. Is she just thinking that she can put up with it now?

whogrewoutoftheterribletwos Wed 05-Oct-16 23:20:01

Are they in Scotland? It's quite common here in tenement flats to have a box room with 'borrowed light' through a window into another room. Fairly standard for students sharing a house in 2/3/4 year. Normal rule is that person pays less rent. Not a cupboard - good use of the space

Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:20:45

Her friends are all refusing to swap rooms - we suggested swapping at Christmas. 4 rooms including hers pay £128 a week and 2 pay £135. (Bills included).

It's not a small room - it has room for a double bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and a desk.

But the lack of air and light makes the room stuffy and claustrophobic.

OP’s posts: |
Evalina Wed 05-Oct-16 23:22:03

DD suffered from depression a couple of years ago, and has been fine since being at uni. But I had her on the phone in tears tonight, saying her friends all hate her because of this.

Yes they should have noticed, but they didn't, and I'm worried for her mental health.

OP’s posts: |
joangray38 Wed 05-Oct-16 23:23:08

Email a Complaint to the local fire station copying in the local council and local councillor stating that although he knows people high up in the council stating you feel it is a fire hazard both for her and her room mates as if there was a fire they might have difficulty getting out and would be dangerous for them as fire fighters . If the room shouldn't be these as a bedroom would this affect insurance? Have you checked the deeds/ plan of the house- has he converted a room that he shouldn't have?

junebirthdaygirl Wed 05-Oct-16 23:23:38

Does it pass fire regulations?

BakeOffBiscuits Wed 05-Oct-16 23:24:25

The housemates sound horrible.

It is the norm to pay less or swap rooms if you have the least attractive room. Both my dds have been in houses where they've done this.

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