Although most landlords are honest and will be as helpful as they can or have to be, its simple common sense to be wary, as there are some unscrupulous characters out there. I'm in my final year now and have been very lucky with landlords myself but many of my friends have not been so fortunate. One group of friends even had to take their landlord to court to retrieve their deposits and even after this lengthy and vexing process they only received half. Other stories include being left with a broken washing machine for 2 weeks while the dodgy landlord was on holiday and showing people round your room without notice while sleeping in it.
The moral to this story is know your rights and make sure your landlord knows them as well, then they are much less likely to mess you about.
Some other tips:
* Always check equipment such as fridges and washing machines work before you sign the contract.
* Make sure you speak to the previous tennants when the landlords not breathing over their shoulders. If they have concerns then stay away.
* Check to see if there is someone you can call to fix things e.t.c if he is away to avoid you being left in the lurch for 2 weeks while they are on holiday.
* Check the contract thoroughly, this is the insurance for your deposit.
* Make sure you see all the rooms, don't accept it when the dodgy landlord says 'sorry , this ones locked but it's just like the other ones'. Tell him you can come back another time to see it. This happenned to us and when we came back to look at it, the room was almost half the size as the other ones.
* Most importantly, don't be stupid and make sure you ask a lot of questions.