Problems with rented student accommodation
Common student housing concerns include house repairs, unpaid bills or rent and getting deposits back. Whatever your problems, remember there’s help and advice available.
Getting housing problems sorted
Housing law and tenancy issues can be complex, so try not to make assumptions about the law. If you run into problems or financial hardship, always seek help first from the housing office at your university or college. You can also get expert advice from independent sources such as the Advice NI or Housing Advice NI.
Repairs, health and safety
Your landlord will usually be responsible for anything that requires repair, such as the structure of the property, its heating, hot water and sanitary installations. Report any defects or damage to your landlord as soon as possible.
- Health and safety in rented accommodation
- Repairing your home: private tenants
- Housing standards in rented accommodation
If you get stuck with the bills or rent
If you share a property with friends you’ll probably sign a ‘joint tenancy agreement’, making you jointly liable for any breaches of the contract, including damage to the property or rent arrears. So if one of your flatmates unexpectedly moves out, you may find yourself left to pay more than your usual share of the bills or rent.
Although this can be frustrating, keep calm. Speak to your landlord - and if possible the absent flatmate - to discuss any unpaid amounts owed. Before you replace your flatmate, speak to your landlord about the terms of your tenancy. If they are unwilling to allow a replacement, you may be able to seek redress for unfair contractual terms. To find out more see:
Getting your deposit back
Your landlord may withhold some or all of your deposit to pay for any losses or damage that occurred during your tenancy, but not for fair wear and tear.
If you feel your landlord is unfairly withholding your deposit at the end of your tenancy, contact them by letter and request the deposit back. Say that you require written reasons for the full deposit not being returned.
If you and your landlord can't agree on the amount to be repaid, you should contact the scheme administrator protecting your deposit and ask to use the free dispute resolution mechanism. Adjudicators will work with you and your landlord to agree an amount to be paid to you.
Remember the deposit belongs to you and you should always ask your landlord to return it.