Letting loose on landlords

Written by Campus Comment

Landlords: you’re paying them for a roof over your head, they’re receiving money. This simple transaction should surely not cause too many grievances. Introduce students into this equation, however, and the relationship becomes corrupted.

The portrayal of student culture in the media is such that people of everyday society believe all that we do is go out partying, buy three trebles for five pounds and then sit at home all day watching endless Netflix. Whilst there may be some days where this is true, the media fail to recognise that we work bloody hard.
Recently on BBC news, studies have found that unfortunately students have been neglected by their landlords. It has been reported by the NUS that deposit deductions at the end of student tenancies have been unfairly taken. For some people, this has meant that hundreds of pounds have been taken out of their accounts. The Victoria Derbyshire programme stated that it had heard from dozens of students who had been penalised beyond the legitimate reasons that deposits should be deducted for. In 2019, the NUS’s 2019 Homes Fit for Study report revealed that 27% of people asked said that they had formally challenged deductions, and 24% who had not formally challenged them disagreed with them.

The NUS reported that 27% of people challenged deposit deductions

Money is evidently a huge part of students’ lives. We hear of people eating beans on toast for days on end, so that they can afford a night out at the weekend. We hear of the heating only being turned on for an hour a day so that students can afford their rent with their student loan. We have no income besides this loan, and so deducting deposits unfairly is evidently going to hit the wrong chord with students. But is money the only problem that students have with their landlords, or does our ‘inferior’ status in society make it easier for us to be forgotten about or conned by the system?
Upon conducting research, it has been found that many students have problems with their landlords. One issue that seems to arise is the issue of privacy. An anonymous source from the University of Cumbria claims that her landlords “just turn up, let themselves in, and walk around the house unannounced”. Is this something that a tenant who was not a student would accept? There is a basic privacy right here, surely, that is being breached. If a student is told that no one will be in their house without notice, then why is this happening?
Privacy is not the only issue, however, as the state of the house, both at the start of the tenancy and during it, also appears to be an issue. Another anonymous student has told that upon moving into their house, they had to spend twelve hours cleaning. There was mould to remove from their walls, they had to throw out old shoes and cutlery, and they even “found pubes in drawers”. If this was not enough, there was a bath in the allocated parking spot!

It appears that students are not good enough to deserve landlord’s respect

Two students here at Newcastle have experienced similar issues. The first source tells that a toilet from a flat above them flooded, and that they “had poo from the flat upstairs literally raining from our ceiling once”. This problem then became even more of an issue when the landlord “said ‘I’ll bring some cleaning products over’. He didn’t”. A similar issue arose in another student house here, when their landlord “just came one day and dug up the back yard and opened up the sewage system”. They then proceeded to leave it open right next to the book door. When the system then froze over, the “sewage started rising so that there was literal poo floating in our back yard”. It seems that the cleanliness of student houses is also overlooked, yet I’m sure money would quickly be deducted from students if they were to leave the house in the same manner.
It appears that students are just not good enough customers for landlords to deserve their with respect. It is only our future doctors, engineers, lawyers, MPs and journalists that are being treated like this, and so surely it does not matter that much? I mean, who needs a clean house to watch Come Dine with Me anyways…

Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons

Last modified: 2nd March 2020

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