(Private) Student accommodation!! :-o(13 Posts)
Met a friend yesterday as she drove her DS to his new accommodation, entering the second year at a RGU in a southern city.
This accommodation is 'uni approved'; its a '4' bedroom (old dining room now a bedroom) semi in a poorer 'student' area but walking distance to the main uni buildings.
Well, it wasn't quite The Young Ones, but bloody hell! They'll be paying £325 pcm each, plus will have a 'key' for gas and electric. Basic furnishing but obviously no TV.
The 'cleaners' had just left, but the place was pretty grim, grease on the kitchen worktop, dust you could write your name in on the windowsills, dirty windows; derelict garden. Furnished from the shed at the dump, I'd say, with the exception of 2 slightly newer beds; the paint on the bathroom wall was standing proud of the wall, the plasterboard behind it was so blown with damp, and every join had an amateur's thick blobby line of white silicon across it; the net curtains were mildewed, a couple of the carpets practically revealed the outline of the corpse that must've lain there!
It wasn't truly disgusting, it did come with a gas-safe certificate; however, is smelled a bit damp and 'locked up', but bloody hell!
Somebody's taking the piss somewhere along the line! And taking blatant advantage of four 18 year old lads.
DS1 just graduated but you could be describing his second and third year flats, except that they cost more than £325 a month. When I drove him down to move in I was glad we had taken cleaning products. There were years worth of dirt and the fridge was toxic.
I assumed this would be repeated when DS2 started renting privately in his second year at a different uni. However I was pleasantly surprised to find his house was clean - properly clean, not last-year's-student's clean. It was freshly decorated and furniture while basic and sparse was fine. Landlady greeted us and was keen to point out she had bought some new kitchen appliances and some other second hand furniture. Also instead of manky old carpets it has wooden floors in all but the bedrooms. Still costs £360 a month each though and they had to have a 52 week lease.
Ds is paying more for similar, ex la house with dining room now a bedroom and a through living room/kitchen. Although a couple of his housemates have lived there on and off since July I'm dubious about the thoroughness of the pre-tenancy professional clean - film of soap residue on bathroom windowsill for example. A few snagging issues will be dealt with in next few weeks apparently.
Small but important thing- I gather landlords can't demand a 'professional' clean at the end of tenancies any more? Just 'I'll hand it back like I found it, bar wear and tear'.
'Soap residue' would be the least of my friend's DS's new tenancy!
The property should be left in the same condition as it was when tenants moved in. So prof clean, 'good domestic clean' or whatever. The condition should be noted on the inventory.
Normally tenants have about 10 days to accept or dispute the inventory. If it says prof clean and they don't disagree, the landlord may well try to charge them at the end. An expensive life lesson.
That said if it is a poor inventory, not carried out be an independent inventory clerk, and they disagree with proposed deductions at the end, they can dispute them. They could well win. The decisions can be a bit random. Trouble is that the process can take months, with neither tenant nor landlord seeing their deposit or deductions. Worth threatening to dispute and any sensible landlord will meet them at least part of the way.
They should also check that deposit is held in some form of protection service. If not they should complain.
Quite a few students I know have actually refrained from going into a house share and gone back into halls for this reason!
They said by the time they'd paid their bills on top of their room rent, it wasn't much more expensive to be in halls where the standard was better than some of the houses they'd seen.
That's only £80 pp per week and, whether you think it or not, it's the cheap end of the market. Especially in a southern RG city - Southampton maybe? If you want better, then pay more I'm afraid. DD paid over £100 per week in Bristol 4 years ago. Serviceable and ok with a top location. Pay for a clean of kitchen and bathroom. Also boys tend to be less discriminating than girls when viewing student property. The Bristol boys were far more likely to be happy with a party house (in scrappy condition) and no dishwasher or washing machine. The girls tended to want better.
Also "uni approved" means little. Bristol actually wrote to parents to say there was no rush to look for student houses in the spring. Perfectly ok to wait until September so you didn't pay rent over the summer. What would actually be left in Sept that was worth renting one would wonder? Or how far from the uni? You have to be Viewing early to get the best properties and that means effort. DDs flat had a resident caretaker, an annual paint job and a very good landlord. Properties of his had viewings lined up as soon as they were marketed. Word gets round where is decent and where isn't. They will learn for next year.
If halls are available horsemad. Many popular unis don't have enough for 1st year so definitely no going back for 2nd year.
Halls after year 1 would be helpful as an option but not a chance at my DCs uni.
His shared house is ok though.
Yes, that's true Bubbles. My friend's DC have gone into private halls for their second and third years, which were cheaper and just as good/better than the uni halls they'd had as first years.
My daughter is in her final year of Uni and is in the process of going through the small claims court to have her rent refunded for July and August as when she arrived to move in at the beginning of September she found her flat uninhabitable.
My ex husband and her sister were with her and rang me to tell me how appalling the apartment was, stinking of damp, paint pealing off the walls with damp, plastic de-humidified littered the flat with no avail. Mould growing everywhere, the blinds had fallen down and were left on the floor, the oven was broken, microwave was rusty and filthy. In the bedrooms the mattresses were so old they'd turned yellow and settee was no better and if that wasn't bad enough the flat was filthy and hadn't been cleaned since the last tenant had left. My elder daughter rand the agent and asked the manager to come immediately to the flat as it was in a totally unacceptable condition.
On arrival the manager suggested there was nothing wrong with the flat and she had signed a contract so was tied into staying there. They asked if he could have it cleaned, put the blinds up, repair the oven and replace the microwave, mattresses etc and sort the damp problem out. He said no to everything, he was unwilling to do anything at all. My elder daughter pointed out that my younger daughter was distraught and crying and could not be expected to live like this. His response was to laugh and say she is contracted to pay for a year whether she stayed or not.
Obviously they brought her and all her stuff back home and we set about getting her out of the contract which believe me is not easy. There are no laws to protect tenants, the property doesn't even have to habitable which is disgraceful. Students all over the country are being ripped of by unscrupulous landlords who charge exorbitant rent for slum like properties.
We eventually got her out of the tenancy due to a very helpful councilor who rang the agency and said they have two choices either to let the girls out of the contract or have the building which contained seven flats inspected for damp. They chose the former as obviously they didn't want the expense of putting the damp problem right.
My daughter decided to take them to small claims court for the two months rent as she quite rightly so believed they shouldn't be taking rent for a flat which is uninhabitable.
The latest is the landlord has took a counterclaim out against my daughters, and ex-husband alleging they were discriminative and bullying etc...which shows the are no depths that these people will not sink too.
Its time the law protected our children from these rogues.
Why did she take the flat in the first place, seraphia? It cannot have been great when she first looked at it. If it’s a tip when you view, it will stay a tip. Go for neat and reasonably cared for and speak to the students who are in it already. Also, share with others. Don’t take a flat on your own. Be discerning. Some landlords are great. Others are as disgusting as their flats. Students who are at the bottom end of the market will have the worst flats. You have to do the research before you sign the contract. I wouldn’t pay and find somewhere else. What is everyone else doing?
It's horrific. I bought houses for three of my DSs to avoid this sort of thing. They are all still student lets, with an excellent agent, who absolutely wouldn't allow this sort of thing, not that I could bear to exploit anyone's DCs in this way. You do have to do your homework terribly carefully, as a student and in later life.
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