Student housing - rights and responsibilities in halls
If you live in accommodation that is provided by an educational institution such as a university, you will be an occupier with basic protection. This is a term used in housing which helps to identify your housing rights.
This page summarises the key rights and responsibilities of occupiers with basic protection.
An occupier with basic protection can be either a tenant or a licensee. In practice, both enjoy the same limited rights and security. The rights of an occupier with basic protection come from the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Repairs and safety in your accommodation
You have the right to have repairs done. The university as your landlord is responsible for doing most repairs except very minor things, such as changing light bulbs.
Your landlord also has certain responsibilities for gas and electrical safety, furnishings and asbestos.
Passing your accommodation on to someone else
You generally don't have rights to pass on your accommodation to someone else, or to sublet it, unless this is specifically allowed in your agreement. You will need to check the terms of your agreement to see if you have any of these rights.
Notice and eviction
Your landlord can only evict you by getting a possession order from the court. Your landlord doesn't have to give the court a reason as to why they want to evict you and the court will make a possession order as long as your landlord has followed the correct legal process.
You have the right to stay in your accommodation until the court bailiffs enforce the possession order and evict you. However, if you do stay until this happens, you still have to pay rent and you may also have to pay the cost of the legal proceedings.
If you have a periodic agreement, that is, one that runs from one rent period to the next, you are also entitled to at least four weeks' notice in writing before possession proceedings can start.
If you have a fixed term agreement, that is, one that lasts for a certain period of time, your landlord does not have to give you notice at the end of the term. They can apply for a possession order as soon as the fixed term has ended.
If you have a fixed term agreement and your landlord wants to end it before the term has run out, they can only do so if there is a forfeiture clause or a break clause in your agreement.
A forfeiture clause allows your landlord to end your agreement early if you have broken one of the terms of your tenancy or licence.
A break clause allows you or your landlord to end the agreement early. The break clause will specify the length of notice that your landlord must give you.
Harassment and illegal eviction
You have the right not to be harassed or illegally evicted by your landlord. Harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences, which means that your landlord could be prosecuted. They are also civil offences, so you could take legal action in the county court to stop your landlord's behaviour and/or claim compensation for what you've suffered.
- More about harassment and illegal eviction at www.gov.uk
Your tenancy or licence agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. As well as giving you some rights, it also means that you have certain responsibilities.
Paying the rent
You must make sure that the rent is paid otherwise your landlord can take legal action to evict you. Your agreement will normally state how much the rent is, what it includes, to whom it should be paid, when it should be paid and how it can be increased.
You should report any repairs to your landlord as soon as you notice them. Reporting repairs is often a condition of your agreement, so you may be obliged to report any problems even if you’re not too concerned about getting them fixed. The halls where you are staying are likely to have a certain way for you to report repairs, for example, to let the Hall Manager or reception know.
The tenancy or licence agreement
Your agreement may set out other obligations which you must keep to.
Other useful information
- Student accommodation - NUS at www.nus.org.uk