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What to do if you are dissatisfied with your university home

Living in private accommodation, and unhappy with your living conditions? You aren’t alone! Here are some general tips on how you can better your situation

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Below is some general guidance from the Advice Service on what to do when you find your living standards in private accommodation aren’t up to scratch!

Often issues such as mould appearing in a property only arise during the colder months. Living with a leaky roof/mould/broken boiler can be really unpleasant, but what can you do about it?

Your landlord is legally responsible for keeping the following in repair:

 

1. The structure and exterior of your home, for example, the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors

2. Basins, sinks, baths, toilets and their pipework

3. Water and gas pipes, electrical wiring, water tanks, boilers, radiators, gas fires, fitted electric fires or fitted heaters.

 

Therefore, if for example, you have an issue with a leak or broken boiler which is causing mould then this is an issue your landlord should be resolving. The first thing to do is to inform the letting agency or the landlord responsible for the problem.

If you have already done so via text/email/telephone then it is advisable to write a formal letter of complaint regarding the issue. Within this letter you should include:

 

1. Information regarding the problem, e.g. where the mould is, how long it has been there for etc.

2. If you have tried to get the issue resolved previously but no action has been taken include details of when this was and how you contacted them.

3. Details of how the issue is affecting you, e.g. exacerbating health conditions, making clothing damp etc.

4. Highlight clauses from your tenancy agreement which state that you should report repairs to show you are taking the agreement seriously. Further to this, you can then highlight any clauses regarding the landlord’s responsibility regarding repairs.

5. State what you would like as an outcome of the issue and request a response to your letter in writing as soon as possible.

6. Explain that you understand the law and make them aware that Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 confirms that it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep in repair the structure and exterior of a rented property and this includes the walls, roof, foundations, drains, guttering and external pipes, windows and external doors.

7. Finally, it is advisable to keep a copy of the letter and obtain proof of postage in case no response is received.

 

In some cases, it is possible to request compensation with regards to disrepair in a property, this would be most appropriate in cases where you have been unable to occupy the property due to the severity of the problem.

If this is something you would like to consider further then please contact the Advice Service directly for further guidance.

The Advice Service can also review any written letters of complaint you may wish to send and offer you feedback on the content.

If you submit a formal complaint and no action is taken to resolve the matter then you may be able to take your complaint further via an independent re-dress schemes.

The requirement can be enforced by local authorities who can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where an agent or property manager who should have joined a scheme has not done so.

The re-dress scheme allows tenants to complain to an official body about their letting agent and this can be investigated independently and impartially. The schemes are free to use and if your complaint is upheld the schemes may direct your letting agent to award compensation.

All estate/letting agents must be registered within a scheme in order to operate within residential property.

The three schemes available in the UK are:

The Property Ombudsman Limited
Ombudsman Services
Property Re-dress Scheme

If you would like advice on any issues regarding housing or would like further guidance on submitting a complaint then please contact the Advice Service during our opening hours of Monday to Friday between 10 am and 4 pm.

You can do so either by dropping into the office (located on the ground floor of the Students’ Union building), via telephone on 0161 275 2952 or email advice.su@manchester.ac.uk

Since October 2014, it has been a legal requirement for lettings agents and property managers in England to join 1 of 3 government approved re-dress schemes.