5 things wrong with your student house and how to fix them.
Surviving a grotty student house is basically a rite of passage. You’re not truly a student if you’ve not had to deal with mould, rising damp or rats in the shed of your extortionately priced shack. While it’s important to make sure you find the right house and landlord for your time at Uni, it’s also near impossible to not run into problems wherever you end up. Here are a few ways you can try making your time in a student house better.
It's a fact that landlords shop exclusively at a hidden shop that sells only worn-down and tasteless furniture. This might seem like a superficial problem in comparison to utilities, but you shouldn’t have to put up with a lime-green and pink dotted sofa if you don’t have to. If you feel comfortable enough, you can message your landlord and see if they’ve considered updating the house’s aesthetic at all - you never know what the outcome could be. However, an easier and more likely solution is to buy large throws and tablecloths that can be draped over furniture to disguise the issue. If the furniture can be disassembled, you could even grab some new pieces from a second-hand shop – your landlord shouldn’t mind as long as you can pop the furniture back up before you move out.
Damp and mould.
Most student houses have mould or damp hiding somewhere. Unfortunately, most permanent solutions involve gutting part of the walls and damp-proofing the house which you can hardly do on a student budget or without your landlord’s permission. There are demands you can make to your landlord to try and control the issue, such as requesting better ventilation in the bathroom or kitchen, but the odds are they’ll just tell you to keep the windows open ALL YEAR ROUND. The best way to control the issue yourself is to dry clothes outside wherever possible, wipe the mould away with lemon juice and bleach, avoid placing belongings against walls or in corners, and potentially even paint over the worse areas just before you move.
Getting a hold of your landlord.
Landlords are notoriously difficult to get hold of, especially when it comes to repairs. Although it seems futile constantly texting or ringing, you can use it as evidence later down the line with any deposit issues that your landlord tries to bring up. It’s important to know your tenancy rights when it comes to communicating with your landlord - your landlord MUST try and resolve serious issues (e.g. broken boiler/defective sewer systems etc.) within 24 hours and also must give you 24 hours notice before they come to the house. For more information, visit Citizens Advice.
Some students see life as a non-stop party, while others really don’t. There’s no shame in going over, knocking on their door and asking if they can turn the music down a little while you study. Since they’re in a different house, there’s not a lot you can do if they won’t wind it down when you ask, but you can always try to find a quieter study space on Friday or Saturday nights. Most unis provide spaces for exactly this occasion.
This comes hand-in-hand with landlords renting older properties and being reluctant to update the inside of the house. Most common repairs that need doing in a student property include: the boiler failing to heat up properly throughout winter, locks becoming stiff, wooden fences rotting and kitchen appliances breaking. It’s your responsibility to report the need for repairs as quickly as possible, preferably in writing, avoiding the damages getting worse. It’s a good idea to learn how to adjust the pressure on a boiler, how to test fire alarms, how to reboot an internet router and other common troubleshooting tactics to avoid charges later down the line.
Any other tips I've missed out? Let me know in the comments.
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