Students: your obligations as a tenant.
Finally, freedom is yours! You're so happy, you've enrolled in your dream Uni and you've found a stylish flat to move into soon. You might not have to answer to mum and dad anymore, but you still need to respect your obligations as a tenant. Yes, this is the flip side of tenant's rights. No need to panic, Nemea has the low down.
Pay your rent on time
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise! Your first duty as a tenant is to pay your rent and utilities each month (and if possible on time). Logically, you should have agreed on a date to pay your rent each month with your landlord. If there’s nothing written in the lease have a chat with your landlord and get it sorted.
If organisation isn’t exactly your strong suit (you’re known for being a bit scatty), set up a direct debit to transfer money directly from your bank account to your landlord's. If your parents are helping you pay your rent, arrange for them to transfer the money before it is due. And if you receive housing benefit from the CAF, try to schedule the rent payment for after you receive this benefit (usually around the 5th of the month). By taking these few precautions, you should be able to keep your bank and landlord happy.
Respecting the rules of co-ownership and the use of the property
While your landlord has to respect your tenant’s rights, remember that you also have obligations. These rules concern, among other things, the way you use the accommodation. So no, just because you pay the rent doesn't mean you can turn your flat into a nightclub or underground casino! In concrete terms, your flat is rented to you for residential use, so you can’t start using it as business premises.
Nor do you have permission to transform the premises (you can't knock down the partition to make an open kitchen and enlarge the breakfast bar). If the duck-green colour of the bathroom really makes you want to puke, then get written permission from your landlord before any work is done. If you make alterations that jeopardise the building or the safety of the property, the landlord will ask you to restore everything to its original state when you leave (a huge blow to your finances).
Is your flat part of a student residence or condominium? Find out about the rules for use of common areas (rubbish bin, entrance hall, lift, common room or sports hall, etc.). You might be a night owl but rowing in the gym at 1 am or having a drinks party with your mates by the letterboxes may be a no no.
Carrying out routine maintenance of your home
Did you think your landlord was going to come and change the light bulb in your living room? Er, that’ll be a hard no! As a tenant of the property, you have to carry out minor repairs and basic maintenance on your flat (and staying in the dark is not the answer). You might not be a DIY fan but you’ll have to get on with it. It's up to you to mow the lawn and prune the hedges if there’s a garden, grease the door and window hinges, repair cupboards and maintain windows. In the bathroom, it's also up to you to unclog the drains, change the damaged shower hose, and the joints and clamps (it's time to hire your dad for a weekend). On a day-to-day basis, you also have an obligation to clean your home to make it look decent (it’s probably nicer to live in like that anyway), so now’s the time to make friends with the hoover and mop.