Ciara Ferguson 2018-03-16

The name of the student has been changed on request.

The best thing about moving out of your family home is the freedom it entails. The majority of people who attend university tend to live on campus for their first year. This is a brilliant way to make new friends and get to know the college and the campus. But once you have a general idea about what you’re doing, most people feel it’s better to rent their own house.

I spoke to student Ella, who spent her first year living in Plassey Village but then decided to rent a house in Elm with four other girls for her second year. “I wouldn’t say he’s a bad landlord, the rent is reasonable and when our kettle broke (due to the fact that it was old) he replaced it no problem.”

On the other hand, Ella feels more restricted here than she ever has in her whole life.

In their lease it states:

“The tenant confirms that the Landlord or the Landlord’s agents shall have the right to enter the premises:

  • At any time in the case of an emergency.
  • At reasonable times for the purpose of inspecting, cleaning or making such alterations, repairs, improvements or additions to the premises or to the building, as the Landlord may reasonably deem necessary.
  • Upon 24 hours oral/written notice to show the premises to prospective tenants.”

Which is all reasonable but underneath there is a part that says: “For the avoidance of doubt, the tenant confirms that at any time, with or without notice, the landlord may enter the remaining areas.”

Now although the girls all agreed on this, according to Citizens Information: “a lease should not contain terms that contradict the legal rights of tenants and landlords. If this happens, your legal rights as a tenant or landlord supersede the terms in the lease. For example, your landlord cannot enter the property at any time without seeking your permission. This is the case even if your lease states that the landlord may enter the property at any time.”

“He comes to the house at least three times a week,” Ella stated. “He has not once given us any notice.”

During the Christmas holidays, Ella was staying in the house by herself as she was working in Limerick.

“There was a day over Christmas I was sat on the sitting room floor wrapping presents, so there were presents, wrapping paper, scissors and cello tape on the floor. The landlord came in and told me the place was so messy it was a health and safety hazard. I told him that it was just presents and if he had told me he was coming I could have cleaned up. He then threatened to have me out of the house and told me that all landlords are like this.”

They are not.

Know your rights when renting a house and if you’re in doubt, ask someone for help: an older student who was in a similar situation, or even someone in the Student’s Union. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help.

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