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Posted June 29, 2015

Student Renting: Dealing with Disasters

Had a little damage in your rented accommodation? Had a big disaster and are worried you will lose your rental deposit/bond? Believe it or not, you are not in as much trouble as you may think you are.

Know your contract Your rental agreement/contract will state what happens if there is damage. It may say if the landlord's insurance covers breakages, and may insist that you have home insurance, which then means your insurance company has to pay. Your contract may describe what the landlord has to repair and what you have to repair.

Know your rights Your contract or rental agreement is not set in stone. You have plenty of renter's rights, and under most circumstances they will cover accidental damage. For example, if the pre-installed cooker breaks down because it received a knock, your rights may ensure you do not have to pay for a replacement or repair. Do not trust your rental agreement over your general rights - rights trump specific contracts.

Understand this about landlords and estate agencies While many landlods are great, you will encounter some who are going to try everything to make sure they give you back as little of your deposit/bond as possible. Do your research first before you rent your property and find out what you can do at the very beginning that guarantees you get your deposit back at the end (e.g. making an inventory, taking time/date stamped photos, reporting damages, etc). Try to rent from landlords recommended by other students if possible - if they found them good to work with, chances are you will too!

There has been a flood in the bathroom This is rather more common than you think. The first thing you should do it take up the carpet (if it is possible) and hang it outside to dry. Watermarks and mould will only accumulate in areas where water has pooled. If you dry out the carpet fully, then it should be fine.

If you cannot take up the carpet, then rent a carpet shampooer. Use the machine to clean your carpet and vacuum up the wetness. If the device is good at what it does, it will remove most of the moisture, and you get a clean carpet too.

You have broken an appliance If it came with the house and it is broken, there is a good chance you can get it replaced or repaired by the landlord. If you broke it doing something stupid, you might find it best to offer to purchase a cheap replacement yourself (that way, you control how much you spend - not your landlord). As a student, you may have to live with a variety of other people, and there are many different types of people in college , but try to pick sensible people that are not accident prone or likely to cause damage through carelessness.

You have damaged a wall Once again, check to see if your contract or estate agency will fix it for you. There is a chance they have insurance that covers accidental damage. If you have made a hole, assuming you haven't damaged the very structure of the building, you can cover the hole. You do not have to study architecture . You can fill the hole with plaster, finish it with smooth plaster and then paint over the area. Let the plaster dry fully first because even slightly damp plaster will make the paint peel and bubble if you paint over it.

It may look a little silly if there is a patch of new paint on your wall. That is why you make a request to your landlord. You say that the walls in whatever room you have damaged are looking a little dank, and ask if you can repaint them at your cost. You then repaint the entire room, going over where there used to be a hole, and your problem is solved. This trick also works if you have stained the walls in a serious way.

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