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LOOKING AFTER YOUR STUDENT HOME

Living in a student house doesn't mean you have to be living in disrepair. You should be aware that there are certain standards that your landlord has to maintain. Here are some hazards that can occur in your house. If you notice any of these or something similar, Home Stamp and Canterbury City Council can assist you in getting your landlord to improve the quality of your housing conditions.

  • Excess cold - Is your house warm enough? If your rooms fall below 16 degrees Celsius then it's not warm enough and your home may need to be insulated

  • Damp and mould - are there black markings on the walls? This could be a sign of damp and mould which can lead to various illnesses.

  • Falling on the stairs - Carpet loose on the stairs and in need of repair? Falling on the stairs is one of the most common accidents

  • Falling on level surfaces - uneven floors or loose wires can cause trips which can lead to serious injuries

  • Flames and hot surfaces - 12,000 people visit A&E every year with burns and scalds.

Also, in order for landlords to register their properties with Home Stamp, they must also must adhere to the Home Stamp Code of Standards. If you feel they are falling short, get in touch with Home Stamp and we will investigate.

BEDBUGS

While not a public health pest, bedbugs can be an unpleasant and persistent nuisance. Infestations are on the rise, mainly due to the increase of world-wide travel. Bedbugs draw blood from their hosts and some people can have an allergic reaction. Signs of bedbugs:

  • Sightings - adult bedbugs are roughly apple pip size and may appear red or purple after feeding or opaque. They can be found in mattress seams, corners, buttons, sockets, crevices, curtains or along skirting boards and carpet edges

  • Bites - bedbugs feed at night. Bites are red, slightly swollen, itchy and may appear in clusters

  • Staining – bedbug faeces will appear as dark brown stains on the bedding

  • Blood - spots of blood may be found in the bedding caused from the bedbugs feeding or from crushing of the insect.

To prevent them these tips may help:

  • When staying in public accommodation when you are on holiday, store your luggage off the ground and away from the bed

  • Inspect all second-hand furniture that you purchase

  • If there is an infestation, vacuuming the mattress and fabrics in infested areas may help. The vacuum must be emptied outside into a sealed bag and disposed of in an outside bin. This will not prevent them but may help to control numbers.

If you suspect, you have bedbugs in your home inform the landlord immediately. Since they are difficult to eradicate we recommend that the service of an experienced bedbug control expert is sought. They should be a member of the British Pest Control Association.

CONDENSATION AND MOULD

Download a booklet about condensation and mould in the home

Condensation is the tiny droplets of water on cold surfaces such as windows, walls, baths and mirrors. It's formed when moisture in the air becomes cold and generally when the weather is cold and where there is little air circulation.

Excessive condensation can lead to mould on walls and furniture, mildew on clothes and fabrics, wooden window frames rotting, rise in the number of dust mites.

Tips to control condensation

  • Do not dry washing on the radiators or heaters. Instead hang it outside, in a bathroom with the window open or in a drier

  • Cook with pan lids on

  • When having a bath run the cold tap first then add hot

  • Some tumble driers need venting outside, if in doubt, ask your landlord

  • Don't use your gas cooker to heat your kitchen

  • Keep the bathroom and kitchen doors closed to prevent moisture ecaping to other areas of the house

  • Ventilate your home by opening the windows when you are in (please be security conscious) for around 30 minutes per day.

Read more about condensation and mould

DISREPAIR AND DAMAGE

Both tenants and landlords have responsibilities when it comes to the maintenance of the property. These are usually detailed in the tenancy agreement.

All disrepair should be reported immediately to the landlord and we recommend that you do this via email so that there is a record of you reporting the problem. Any conversations should also be followed up with an email, so that if a dispute arises, a clear record of conversations can be seen and used as evidence.

It's also useful, where possible, for dated photographs to be taken of the disrepair or problem in the property.

If you or the other tenants have caused damage to the property always report it to the landlord. You may be given the option to organise and pay for the repairs yourself or the landlord may arrange the repair and charge the cost back to you.

 

Home Stamp, Kent Union, Mandela Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NW
Tel Main: : 01227 823214, Email: homestamp@kent.ac.uk

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