[dropcap]S[/dropcap]lugs prefer to reside in cool, damp areas, namely compost piles, underneath flowerpots and logs. Not in student houses. Yet, on the first night of settling into our second year abode, my housemates and I somewhat rudely walked in on, and disturbed a mollusc fiesta in our kitchen. Amid numerous other issues of chronic damp, carpet moths, uncleanliness and half-fitted fitting, the slugs were just one of the straws set to break the camel’s back and bring back our idealism of second year crashing back down.
Landlords, by law, have a responsibility to maintain their property fit for living standards, and thus have a duty of care towards tenants. This is less than an arduous task considering that on private students lets the rent income is worth approximately double that of domestic tenants. Yet, like a weird Nick Clegg flashback,
we’ve only been left with the countless empty promises of: “I will replace this and clean that.”
When such issues like this arise, landlords become renegades, negligent of any and all liability. Our Students’ Union, on the other hand, provides second to none advice and support We’re fortunate to have such a well oiled-machine as the Advice Centre in the heart of campus, so do make use of it. I feel cheated by the system of student housing. For nearly £1,400 a month rent, it’s not unrealistic to expect a house of comfort with a drop of splendour; it’s a lot of money. Of course, the house is sub-standard and students’ deserved expectations negated, and we have little power over the money-grabbing lost boy who cashes in our payments on the first of every month, but shows nothing in return.
It shocks me how little protection there is within our legals system – protection for the student body with regard to private housing.
Surely it is in the government’s best interests to ensure that the money that they lend us is being responsibly and sustainably invested on the other end?
“More needs to be done” I can hear myself saying with passive agreement from the Boar readers. Think of it in these terms: you play £14 for an otherwise £6 entry into a club expecting Pacha, and all you get is a Smack-like polluted atmosphere of pests and cold, both of which are detrimental to your health. The bouncer has turned his back, escaping any and all duty of care. Do you accept the injustice and party on, or demand a change in value and values?