For those of us looking for a room to rent or searching for shared accommodations, the worst-case scenario is ending up with a problematic landlord. The paranoia comes with being new and naïve in the real estate market and even when you are not new anymore sometimes navigating the market and dealing with a landlord can be difficult.
Here are our top tips for dealing with difficult landlords and finding yourself a great place to live in.
Lots of HMO style accommodations have a safety standard to meet and this is because, for the most part, this is not a place where families live. We recommend that when checking the place out you inquire about these safety standards and see if they are being met.
An example of a safety standard is ensuring that any faulty gas and electrical appliances are repaired on time so that nobody’s life is endangered. If you have already asked your landlord and they are doing nothing about it, you have a problem.
Many people living in shared accommodations complain about being discriminated against. An example of this would be refusing to allow women to rent a property without their boyfriends or husbands being around. This is something that usually goes unchecked as it is done subtly. But having to pay more than certain people or having your complaints go unheard and unchecked can be considered discrimination and is something you can legally challenge. Complaining will require that you confront your landlord and get his view on it.
Checking to see if you can get other people to complain about the same thing in case they have witnessed or suffered from it is helpful.
Another common issue with shared accommodations is overcrowding. Not finding flats to rent is a disadvantage but having found a flat and realizing that it is overcrowded is much worse.
You might be wondering how to tell if a place is overcrowded and what the landlord has to do with it? Well, overcrowding can lead to severe damages to the property and increase the risk of accidents such as fires. If something does happen to the property it will cost everyone including you, their deposit. Do you want to lose your deposit to something that wasn’t your fault or something that happened simply because there were too many people in the flat?
Overcrowding can lead to many hygiene and health-related issues. Some many diseases and infections are linked to living in overcrowded spaces which something many bylaws discourage. Look into the specific laws and bring the issue into the attention of your landlord so that it can be rectified. If not it is time to take legal action.
Another common issue that rentals face which involves the landlords is licensing of the HMO. Yes, shared accommodations have a separate license which any residence with more than 5 residents should apply to. Checking with your local council to see if your residence is licensed is very important and if it is not, you can always register a complaint with the council.