6 Resolving issues
What could possibly go wrong??
At some point in your tenancy of a rental property there will be issues that you need to resolve. This is all perfectly normal and it would be unusual for everything to go smoothly all of the time.
The general rule is to record dates and details of any matters that arise and report them to your landlord or the letting agent immediately.
The most urgent attention should be paid to anything that affects your health or security in the property.
- Any break-ins to the property should be reported to the police as well as the landlord. Check who has to bear the cost for repairs to doors or windows or for replacement locks if these are needed after a break-in. You must also report unsuccessful break-ins, where there’s evidence of an attempted entry to the property.
- Damage to the property that heightens the risk of break-ins should be addressed. So broken or cracked windows need to be sorted out as a matter of urgency as well as any problems with door locks.
- Any infestations (mice or other rodents; wasps’ nests) require quick action as there’s a potential adverse effect on the health of tenants. You can do a lot to keep down the risk of infestation by keeping the property clean and tidy, disposing of rubbish promptly and keeping all food properly stored (not left out on kitchen tops!).
- Wear and tear to the property, such as a leaking roof or guttering, must be reported immediately to the landlord. Aside from the impact such things have on the fabric of the building there’s the discomfort these might cause you.
What should you do if appliances and equipment stop working? If you’ve followed the checklist for moving in, you’ll have located any instructions and guarantees. Clearly if the boiler breaks down you need to act immediately as otherwise you might be without heating and hot water. If kitchen equipment breaks, then again prompt action is called for. You need to be able to cook meals and keep your food refrigerated.
One other matter common to student lets is mould on the walls – particularly in bathrooms. If the mould issue is particularly bad or persistent then you need to get the landlord to take action. Bad cases of mould can cause respiratory problems for some people and should never be left untreated.
Keep a record of all the details of the actions your landlord takes to resolve issues, and the timeliness of their responses. If you feel that the landlord is not meeting their responsibilities under the tenancy agreement you should tell them. A further step if the landlord is particularly unhelpful is to make a report to the university’s accommodation services – particularly if your landlord has university accreditation.
Don’t panic if matters arise – they commonly do. Keep notes and act promptly.