04 July 2013
Common Problems with Rented Accommodation
Due to the sluggish state of the housing market at the moment, more and more people are renting accommodation. It's a neat solution, you may be able to rent in better areas than you could possibly hope to buy, and having the support of a landlord can help a lot if things go wrong with the house or flat. But renting is not without its pitfalls and the situations you find yourself in can often leave you feeling isolated. Here is a short guide to some of the problems you might face with rented accommodation and what you can do about them. One common problem is that your landlord is difficult to get hold of when things go wrong. The worst thing about this is that you often don't realise what the problem is until you actually have an issue that you need dealing with. Maybe you're renting from a letting agency that has limited opening hours, or they rarely seem to answer their e-mail. Maybe the day to day running of the property is handled by someone else, and you find it difficult to get in touch with the actual owner of the property. One way to counter this is to confront your landlord with the exact wording of the contract. If there is a paragraph in there about exactly what is expected of them, you can send it to them and point out that it isn't being met to an acceptable standard. Otherwise, confirm the landlords contact details with them to make sure that you are dialling the right number/e-mailing the right address. Another problem is if a deadline has left you with too much stuff to move and not enough time to move it as a result. While this is your responsibility, the landlord clearly has an interest in making sure you are in or out of the property at the appropriate times. Ask the landlord for advice, they may well have resources at their disposal to help you through it.Renters often have problems with their rent going up. The landlord should certainly be making you aware of these changes well in advance, and if you feel they aren't, it may be an issue to take to the citizens’ advice bureau. What if you have rodents or pests in your property and you're finding it difficult to get the landlord to do anything about it? Your local council is obliged to deal with certain types of pests for free; for example, if you have rats, the council will lay traps and remove them for free. If you have other pests, such as mice or wasps, the council may charge for disposal, but if you feel the contract means the landlord should be paying for this, you could always ask the council to charge the landlord. Another common problem arises when a house-mate moves out, at short notice, leaving you and a smaller amount of people to pay the same rent. The best thing to do in this situation is to try and get someone new in, you can place adverts in local shops and on the internet. You may well feel that this is the person leaving's responsibility, and you may be right – check if you have a shared or individual contract. Otherwise, ask the landlord if you could be forgiven the other portion of the rent until s/he finds someone else to populate the room. Finally, if you have a problem with reclaiming you deposit, or you feel the landlord want too much of it, you can take your dispute to whichever deposit protection service was used by your landlord. This information should be on your contract.