Student housing: How to deal with Management companies

Student housing: How to deal with Management companies

It’s sad to say but many management companies see students as easy to take advantage of and unless you know the signs you could end up living in some pretty crappy conditions or paying some hefty fines.

Persistence

Never be scared to call up and ask the management company to come and fix something, it is their job after all. If something is broken or seems abnormal then you should call them before the problem gets worse.  Sadly, if something breaks its rare that your management company will send a maintenance man after one phone call or email. There also seems to be quite a big discrepancy between what you tell the management company and what they tell the maintenance company. Often the maintenance company will simply be given a list of properties to attend but not given any indication of what needs doing at these properties. This can often lead to several visits from the maintenance company, the first to access the problem (even though you already explained exactly what was wrong to the management company) and then two or three more visits to actually sort out the issue. Depending on their schedule it can therefore take quite a while for any problem to be resolved.

­Emailing

 

Although calling your management company often gets you the fastest response, emailing them as well gives them a reminder and gives you a time stamp as to when you started complaining about the problem. If they don’t come and fix the problem straightaway you can therefore mention the time you first reported the problem and how long it’s been since that date. If for some reason you do have to call in legal action about the problem these also serve as great physical evidence

Contract

I know as millennia’s we are used to just ignoring the Term’s and conditions and simply clicking accept, but when it comes to your tenancy agreement this is something you really need to pay attention to.

 

One new clause that’s often being added into tenancy agreements is that you are not allowed to comment on the agency on social media. Nowadays it’s almost second nature for us to complain about a company (or just anything in general) on our social media pages. Hence companies are now trying to prevent you from doing this.

Capture every little detail

When you move into your new home, make sure you take photos of everything around the house, and I mean EVERYTHING. This is kind of a long process and takes up so much valuable space on your phone but its so worth it. If the previous tenants have broken anything (even the tiniest scratch) you need to have proof that it was there when you moved in. You will receive a bill at the end of your tenancy for anything that is wrong with your house; this includes scratches to furniture, blue tack marks on the walls, basically any tiny thing! Therefore having evidence that these marks were there before you moved in is essential and can save you a lot of money.  At the end of your tenancy you will be given the option of either cleaning the house yourself or using some of your deposit to hire the companies’ cleaners. If you choose to do the cleaning on your own, firstly you’re brave, and secondly the management company could have a different view on “leaving the house as you found it” so you may be charged if it doesn’t meet their standards. All in all, it’s probably easiest to hire their recommended cleaner, that way they can’t complain that the house wasn’t left to their standards! These cleaners are also often cheaper than most companies and charge you on a “per room” basis so if you’re really against the idea but your housemates want to you can work out an arrangement. Often these companies will try and charge you at the end of the contract for anything wrong with the house, which is why you need photos from the day you’ve moved in to prove that those damages weren’t your fault.

DAMP

Unless you’re student house is brand brand new (and they rarely are) you are probably going to have some issues with damp. Damage caused by damp on a wall in modern house. You need to be aware that damp can actually make you seriously ill, especially when it progresses to mould. You could also be particularly susceptible to damp-related health problems if you suffer from a pre-existing condition like eczema or asthma. The best thing you can do is alert your management company as soon as you see it and ask them to come around and try and sort it out. The management company will most likely receive a lot of these calls and will offer the super helpful advice of “open you’re windows more” (especially helpful in the middle of winter), so the best thing to do it to reinforce your point by emailing them pictures of the damp.

Overall, moving into your first home is likely to have some issues but it’s a learning experience and one you will be thankful for in the end. Before doing so do try and learn from previous students mistakes. Many universities now run surveys in which they rank the best student management companies, these can be very useful when choosing which one to go for.