Stu­dent hous­ing

The Wokingham Paper - - SOCIETY -

IF you live in ac­com­mo­da­tion that is pro­vided by an ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion such as a univer­sity, you will be an oc­cu­pier with ba­sic pro­tec­tion.

This is a term used in hous­ing which helps to iden­tify your hous­ing rights. You will be ei­ther a ten­ant or a li­censee. In prac­tice, both en­joy the same lim­ited rights and se­cu­rity.

You must make sure that the rent is paid oth­er­wise your land­lord can take le­gal ac­tion to evict you. Your agree­ment will nor­mally state how much the rent is, what it in­cludes, to whom it should be paid, when it should be paid and how it can be in­creased.

You have the right to have re­pairs done. The univer­sity as your land­lord is re­spon­si­ble for do­ing most re­pairs ex­cept very mi­nor things, such as chang­ing light bulbs. Your land­lord also has cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for gas and elec­tri­cal safety, fur­nish­ings and as­bestos. You should re­port any re­pairs to your land­lord as soon as you no­tice them. Re­port­ing re­pairs is of­ten a con­di­tion of your agree­ment, so you may be obliged to re­port any prob­lems even if you’re not too con­cerned about get­ting them fixed.

The halls where you are stay­ing are likely to have a cer­tain way for you to re­port re­pairs, for ex­am­ple, to let the Hall Man­ager or re­cep­tion know.

You gen­er­ally don’t have rights to pass on your ac­com­mo­da­tion to some­one else, or to sub­let it, un­less this is specif­i­cally al­lowed in your agree­ment. You will need to check the terms of your agree­ment to see if you have any of these rights.

Your land­lord can only evict you by get­ting a pos­ses­sion or­der from the court. Your land­lord doesn’t have to give the court a rea­son as to why they want to evict you and the court will make a pos­ses­sion or­der as long as your land­lord has fol­lowed the cor­rect le­gal process.

You have the right to stay in your ac­com­mo­da­tion un­til the court bailiffs en­force the pos­ses­sion or­der and evict you.

How­ever, if you do stay un­til this hap­pens, you still have to pay rent and you may also have to pay the cost of the le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

If you have a pe­ri­odic agree­ment, that is, one that runs from one rent pe­riod to the next, you are also en­ti­tled to at least four weeks’ no­tice in writ­ing be­fore pos­ses­sion pro­ceed­ings can start.

If you have a fixed term agree­ment, that is, one that lasts for a cer­tain pe­riod of time, your land­lord does not have to give you no­tice at the end of the term. They can apply for a pos­ses­sion or­der as soon as the fixed term has ended.

If you have a fixed term agree­ment and your land­lord wants to end it be­fore the term has run out, they can only do so if there is a for­fei­ture clause or a break clause in your agree­ment.

A for­fei­ture clause al­lows your land­lord to end your agree­ment early if you have bro­ken one of the terms of your ten­ancy or li­cence.

A break clause al­lows you or your land­lord to end the agree­ment early.

You have the right not to be ha­rassed or il­le­gally evicted by your land­lord. Ha­rass­ment and il­le­gal evic­tion are crim­i­nal of­fences, which means that your land­lord could be pros­e­cuted. They are also civil of­fences, so you could take le­gal ac­tion in the county court to stop your land­lord’s be­hav­iour and/or claim com­pen­sa­tion for what you’ve suf­fered.

You can get help, in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice from your lo­cal Cit­i­zens Ad­vice or visit www.cit­i­zen­sad­vice­wok­ing­ham.org. uk or con­tact Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Wok­ing­ham at Sec­ond Floor, Water­ford House, Erft­stadt Court, Wok­ing­ham RG40 2YF. Tel: 0300 330 1189. email: pub­lic@cit­i­zen­sad­vice­wok­ing­ham.org.uk

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