Five ways to get the best out of your landlord

Simple, useful advice for students about to fly the halls of residence nest

Moving from halls to private housing is both exciting and stressful, with many things to consider. It is also a dangerous time for students. According to a recent survey by the boffins at StudentBeans, 68 per cent of students feel they have been taken advantage of by landlords. Here are some of the common pitfalls of life as a tenant, and ways to work around them.

Get off on the right foot

First impressions are very important, and it is essential to establish a friendly but professional relationship with your landlord from the very first contact you have with them. If you are viewing a property, show up on time. Ask relevant questions, and read any available information about the property before you go, so you’re not wasting their time.

Getting the initial paperwork and fees - holding fees, agency fees and deposits as well as tenancy and guarantor agreements - sorted quickly and efficiently will establish an immediate rapport with the landlord and set a good precedent for the rest of your dealings with them.

The inventory is important

The summer holidays are ending and you’re preparing to say goodbye once again to friends and family as you embark on the epic adventure of cheap alcohol, fried food and onesies that is Fresher’s week. It is common for students moving into independent accommodation for the first time to forget about the housing inventory amidst all the hassle, but it is one of the most important documents you will encounter as a tenant.

Remember the several hundred pounds you paid as a deposit? Come the end of the year, the inventory is your only way to receive it back in full. Take the time and care to read through it carefully, send it to your parents for a second opinion, query anything you don’t understand and above all make sure you are happy with the version you sign: this is the only way to ensure you avoid those '…b ut that mark has always been there!' moments.

Make do and mend

A phrase first coined during the Second World War, this philosophy can potentially save you a ton of money. During my second year of university, my housemates and I had one of the most traumatic experiences of our lives: the washing machine broke. We hurriedly got on the phone to our landlord, only to be told the parts plus the call-out fee was enormous.

Faced with a pile of dirty laundry and a flooded kitchen, the easiest solution would be to simply pay up and leave it at that. With a bit of research, we realised that if we ordered the parts online and repaired it ourselves, we would save over half of the money. The lesson here is to always check any quotes you receive from your landlord as there is the chance you can get it done more cheaply on your own.

No news is good news

Where possible, don’t cause your landlord any hassle. Respect your neighbours. No-one will mind you having the occasional party – in student areas they should be used to it – but landlords are often busy businessmen and women, and having pre-drinks elsewhere sometimes can save them having to deal with noise complaints.

Look after your belongings, lock your doors at night and sort out your own insurance where possible. Be punctual with your rent as much as you possibly can, and if you really cannot pay on time, send a polite email explaining why. Essentially, the less you dump on your landlord’s plate, the more willing they will be to deal with what you do need them for.

And finally… See it from their side

Remember that even after you’ve moved out and moved on to (presumably) greater things, your landlord still has to rent out the property. Try to work for mutual benefit; I know from experience that spats between landlord and tenant always end in tears. Maintain your house as well as you can; this helps you get your deposit back as well as smoothing over the transition between tenants.

When the groups of impressionable freshers inevitably start their awkward shamble around your temporary home, be welcoming. Answer their questions if you can; they’ll appreciate the honesty of another student more than the marketing jargon of the letting agent.

Jonathan is a creative writing student based in bath. Follow him on Twitter here 

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk