Going into the second year of our degree, me and my girlfriend decided that we would leave it till our third year to share a home together, and would live with friends until that point.
As I sit here now, what astounds me more than anything is the huge gulf of difference in the way in which our student properties are managed by their respective landlords. The mentalities of the aforementioned landlords have had such a large impact upon our experiences that I feel obliged to write this article, a warning to those searching for a house.
Her experiences of her landlords are (I assume) ones shared by many students. Their landlord seems rather blunt most of the time, and is very eager when it comes to collecting his instalments of rent. He is also very restrictive with the amount of gas that my girlfriend and her fellow housemates use. However, despite his apparent lack of charisma, he always seems to be efficient when work needs to be done. For example, they recently had a spot of bother with a small mould collection in the kitchen. Upon informing the landlord of this, the problem was solved within a couple of days.
Oh, how I wish my landlord was that assertive.
As my group (6 including myself) was rather large, we were genuinely concerned that we would not find a suitable house at all. However, when a reasonably well-sized, 6 bedroom house near to the university became available, we eager signed the contracts (and sealed our fates). To suggest that my residence at the property could be described as a 'series of unfortunate events' may be an exaggeration, but there have been (and still are) slight grievances.
As seems to be a common theme amongst student houses, we have suffered with mould caused by damp. Most of this mould was centred in the bathroom, and seemed to be under control (or, at least not growing). However, recently one of my housemates started to develop mould in his bedroom. It has grown now so that it takes up a considerable portion of his wall. Despite the landlord being informed about this, nothing has been done, and my housemate is now living with his girlfriend temporarily.
The same unfortunate housemate had some trouble with his bed. Thankfully the landlord replaced it for him (before a chiropractor was needed). However, you may have assumed that the landlord would have taken the old bed away with him, as that would seem the logical thing to do. You would assume wrong. The bed has in fact sat outside our front window for several months. On top of this, the shower door, one of our fridges and door bell all do not work.
Whilst I am aware that these are not massively crucial issues, and that there are many people around the world that are in a much worse position than me, I still wished that me and my friends had not rushed into signing our contracts. I urge all students looking for their first house to take their time. Get to know the previous occupants if possible, after all, they'll have the most accurate reviews of what may be your future.
Of course, no-one wants a pestering landlord either. It all about finding the happy medium.