Students: nasty surprises in your rented house?
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When I was younger I would sit down with an interiors catalogue and cut out every exquisite accessory and item of furniture. I would glue them to a sheet of paper and file them away for use in my adult life. I knew exactly the house I wanted. However, my first experience of living away from home was not picture perfect. My first university accommodation in Bath came with company. In the corner of the bedroom, woodlice would move across the wall. I once turned the curtain to the side and lots more black shells crept around. I never looked behind it again. I faced more horrors when viewing houses for my second year. During the first viewing, I stumbled down a couple of steps to the kitchen and my eyes darted to a rolled up towel tucked in front of the back door. This led to my friend and I questioning whether we should be expecting a flood. In the second house, there was a precarious ladder leading to the third bedroom. The landlord said to have a look up, so I stepped back to give the same friend the honour of a first viewing. With both feet on, she clasped the side supports and they started to shake. She managed to get to the top and quickly observed the room. I asked how it was, but she encouraged me to have a look for myself. I crawled up like a cat. I looked up, said it was good, then cautiously stepped down. Maybe I had only gone up a couple of steps, I don’t know. What was in the room? I still don’t know. The Bath Studentpad provides an accommodation checklist. For the interior, there are three main points to take notice of: signs of damp, dark patches, peeling wallpaper or flaking paint; signs of condensation such as mould on the walls, and if there are any signs of pests, like slug trails and mouse droppings. In my first student house, I had all three. It poses the question of whether students should be expected to compromise on living standards. A graduate from the University of Worcester had to conceal a hole in their sink with newspaper as the landlord failed to correct the problem. Complications are a regular occurrence in student houses across England. One student in Sheffield had a nasty surprise when frogs decided to make their house a home. Charlotte, a graduate from Manchester University, was forced to live with mice in her second year when the estate agent failed to further the complaint. She said, "I thought one was going to climb on my duvet. I kept looking for it and tried to distract myself by putting music on. My friend set a trap. We had slugs there as well."
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