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University Accommodation

What is university accommodation?

University accommodation usually refers to halls of residence. There are different forms of tenancy agreements which will depend upon whether the halls are managed by the university or a private organisation.

University accommodation will usually have some similarities like a single or shared room, with a shared or private bathroom, cooking and communal space.  Some halls however may provide meals and bed linen and are self catering, while others may provide flats.

When a student is offered a place to live in the halls it is advised to always read through all paperwork and to pay deposits on time. In cases where there is not enough space for every student to stay within halls, students may have to rent elsewhere in the private rent sector.

Student rights in university and private accommodation

There are two types of tenancy agreements for university accommodation.

It is always advised for students renting in either type of accommodation to read any agreement they are given. If students find themselves in financial difficulty and cannot pay accommodation fees, it is advised to seek help from your university, your student union or university student welfare office as well as the NUS for additional advice.

In halls of residence managed by private companies or individuals tenants are usually given an assured short hold tenancy agreement. These companies would have signed up to an accommodation code of practice to ensure that the accommodation is in good condition and is habitable.

Complaints about university accommodation

If the standard of accommodation is not acceptable within halls of residence, the Student Accommodation Code can offer some protection and is a useful guide for university students to refer to.

Every three years, each university is audited to ensure that the standard of their accommodation is maintained. The code can protect the rights of students to have a safe and well maintained living space.

If a student has a complaint to make they should speak to the manager of the residence about the problem first. If the issue cannot be resolved then the student can make a formal complaint by using your universities internal complaints procedure. Your student union and student welfare officer can also assist you in filing a complaint.

In the case where a student rents an accommodation owned by the university on behalf of a private landlord, the university would be your landlord and would be responsible for repairs and managing the accommodation.

Problems with student accommodation

A survey carried out by Studentbeans.com polled over 2,000 university students about their accommodation and revealed some interesting results.

  • More than two thirds of the interviewees reported that their landlords and estate agents “took advantage” of them because they are students.
  • One in ten had not received any of their deposit when leaving their accommodation
  • Half of all students experienced issues with the condition of the accommodation and pest infestation. 12% reported having a slug infestation, 6% reported having a rat infestation and 3% had reported having cockroaches in the property.

 

Solutions

The survey highlighted that a number of students were not taking responsible precautions in safeguarding themselves and their property. 58% admitted to having kept the same supplier for gas, electricity, broadband, and television and telephone line as the previous tenants and one in ten stated they had not read their tenancy agreement thoroughly.

A sensible precaution to avoid these issues would be for students to ask questions about their accommodation when they find a suitable place to live.

For more information about student rights or to talk to a specialist contact us on: 01626 248608.

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