By Rhianna Claxton | Contributor
Many of us know too well the desperate struggle of finding a student house.
For first-year students, the panic often begins if you haven’t got your house sorted by November. In the second year, you can be calmer about housing until March, but then it hits you harder than a VK bottle launched across the SU dancefloor.
Sadly, students are often left with the inevitable decision to either resign their tenancies or take a chance on a shoddy house with no information regarding its history with past tenants.
Certainly, the notorious landlords usually don’t make this process any easier on students.
Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact we spend more time in the pub than we do chasing them up on the housing issues? Nonetheless, student landlords who don’t look after the houses they rent out must be held accountable for their shameful behaviour.
The ‘Homes Fitness for Future Habitation Act’, introduced in 2018, requires landlords to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities in regard to property standards for tenants.
The act emerged after the National Union of Students survey found one in three students said they were affected by damp and mould on their walls.
Additionally, issues with vermin or insect infestation affected 20% of student renters, while 16% reported they lived in properties with electrical safety hazards. Students recorded these issues were often left for over a month to be sorted out (15%). Some even stated these issues were never fixed at all.
For too long, students’ deposits have been classified as ‘compensation claims’-a clean sock left under the mattress is the latest felony, and had their privacy frequently invaded for random viewings, despite a 24-hour warning requirement.
But what if this was all about to change? What if the key is in the other lock? (if you will…)
The company Moove. spoke to Cardiff students who revealed just how bad the state of student housing really is. It seems all students experience the same reoccurring problems: excess mould. One tenant explained:
“The mould got so bad, the walls became mushy and the bathroom ceiling began to fall down!”
Another student told Moove. :
“When we alerted [our landlords] to the mould in every room, they gave us a faulty de-humidifier and sent round builders to simply cover the mould up!”
The second most common offender among students were the damp conditions, with one student recalling:
“Worse of all was the time water started pouring from the lightbulb and flooded the entire living room and ceiling below!”.
It was also discovered that students were frequently met with many uninvited guests like slugs, bed bugs and rats. The residents of Woodville road know this all too well, as they revealed:
“I went in the kitchen cupboard during summer to put some of my cooking utensils away, and there were 2 dead rats in the kitchen cupboard!”.
It’s crucial housing issues are dealt with instantly as not only can this damage students physical health but their mental wellbeing, too. The NUS survey also found over a third of students said poor living conditions made them feel anxious or depressed.
There seems to be some good news for student renters as schemes are now available and provide students an established, trustworthy UK guarantor service so they can rent their chosen property trouble-free.
Are we finally witnessing a positive change in student housing?