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Student tenants: New laws to protect you

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As of October 1st, new laws have been put into place to protect student tenants from unfair treatment by landlords.


Laura Hope Lloyd

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has announced its plans to ban box-room-style living spaces and demand that landlords provide adequate waste facilities at properties.

One major new law dictates that each bedroom inhabited by an individual in a multiple-occupancy property must be greater than 6.51 square metres. Although the law comes in next month, the government is allowing local authorities to give landlords up to 18 months to adhere to the new rule.

Under the new legislation, landlords must also provide properties with adequate waste facilities which comply with council refuge schemes.

Further, the government has extended its mandatory licensing laws to include properties occupied by five people from two or more households over any number of storeys – the laws previously only included properties of three storeys or more. This will bring 170,000 more properties under the mandatory licensing laws.

Next year will see further strengthening of tenants’ rights with new legislation dictating that only letting agents which join a Government-approved client money protection scheme can handle payments. This will protect student tenants from the all-too-common scenario in which their deposit is withheld unnecessarily after their tenancy has ended.

MP Heather Wheeler, Minister for Housing and Homelessness, commented: “Rogue landlords and agents should never get in the way of students enjoying university life and we’re working to stop them in their tracks. We’ve brought in laws to crack down on bad operators and we have measures in place to protect tenants’ deposits.

“We are going even further by changing the law to ban unfair letting fees and cap tenancy deposits. We want students to know their rights – that landlords must do their job and fix leaks, keep heating working and install smoke alarms”.

The government has published How To Rent guides to educate students on their rights as tenants. By law, all landlords must provide tenants with this guide at the commencement of a tenancy.

Further advice and information for student tenants can be found through the following organisations:

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