Just a list of the absolute worst advice landlords have ever given students

‘Rotting windows aren’t a problem until the glass falls out’

Let’s not lie, when it comes to rented accommodation, negotiating with landlords is a brand new realm of hell. Slugs, damp, flooding, drain blockages–no matter the issue, homeowners more often than not attempt to gaslight tenants into ignoring grimy issues in their properties with the age-old and unbelievable line: “every other tenant has been fine with it.” 

On average, UK renters wait 41 days for landlords to fix minging (and dangerous) issues, like water leaks and damp, in their houses. And nearly a quarter wait half a year just to get something fixed, according to the latest English Housing Survey

Thanks to the dire need for accommodation across university cities each year, students often bear the brunt of this nonchalant approach to maintenance: “‘Turn the mattress over if you’re that worried about the stains’” was the advice Georgia from UWE Bristol’s landlord gave her when she discovered the soiled bed in her room. 

So, just in case you need some more proof that property owners are the worst people in the UK, here are all the other horrendous words of wisdom students have been given by the landlords:

‘Rotting windows aren’t a problem until the glass falls out’

Unfortunately, flipping a mattress sits at the saner end of the deranged landlord advice spectrum. More concerningly,  when University of Greenwich student Tam Page noticed the windows in their  house in Chatham, Kent had started  to drastically decompose, they were told: “‘Rotting windows aren’t a problem until the glass falls out.” Safe! 

‘Just use sandbags to stop the washing machine flooding’ 

University of Nottingham student Matthew Johnston, who was renting on Derby Grove, hoped for help from his landlord when numerous leaks erupted in his house.

“‘Just use sandbags to stop the washing machine flooding,’” they helpfully recommended as a solution to the overflow – but there was sewage water leaking into their kitchen in the basement, too. “Only when we actually went to the agency and complained face to face did they get us a cleaner to help out,” Matthew says. 

damp landlord

Sewage leaking into University of Nottingham student Matthew Johnston’s house

‘Slugs in the sink pipes are normal’ 

Landlords are consistently unbothered by rodents, insects and mollusks that make their way into people’s homes. One property owner even told a student we surveyed to drown the mice invading her house in a bucket.

And Royal Conservatoire of Glasgow student Hannah Kelso was  told the beetles crawling into her house were “normal” when she complained. “The landlord said he had them in his flat too,” she adds. 

Similarly, Bethan from the University of Warwick, who was renting in Leamington Spa, was told the slugs in her sink pipes were “normal” and that she shouldn’t worry about them living in “the water we DRANK FROM”. 

“As the property was not lived in for over 4 months there is no water in the drain traps,” her letting agent explained. “The slugs make  [their] way in through the plumbing. This should be rectified once you use the plumbing as then there is always water in the traps and the slugs can no longer live there. you may want to run all the tape and flush all the toilets a few times so that there is water in these traps to quicken the process.” 

And Bournemouth Uni student, Anna Burling, had the same problem with bed bugs, which her landlord told her were “normal”. “Just put an extra layer on the bed,” they said. “Everyone’s been fine before.” 

landlord slugs

Slugs in University of Warwick student Bethan’s house

‘Your thick Indian hair is clogging the pipes’

If there’s one thing landlords seem to love, it’s blaming blockages on other people. Bristol UWE student Maisy Bellfeid was told that her toilet didn’t flush because she’d put “your girly products down there” (she hadn’t). 

And, swapping misogyny for racism, one landlord in Devon told University of Exeter student Ben that the drains in the house he was renting on Church Street were blocked because of  his roommate’s “thick indian hair” clogging the pipes. Nice. 

Keeping things proactive, Cardiff student Rubie Carter’s landlord offered her some ingenious (and definitely practical) advice when her house’s shower drain was blocked: “shave outside,” they recommended.  Sure! Grab your razor and get in the garden. Why the hell not. 

‘That’s not damp – You’ve just got to paint over it’ 

As far as most landlords are concerned, damp is your problem. And, despite the mould being known as a serious risk to health that can cause allergies, asthma, and breathing problems, Durham student Sarah’s landlord blamed her overactive lungs for the excess moisture and simply asked her: “Are you a heavy breather?” 

And an anonymous student at the University of Plymouth tells The Tab they were told: “That’s not water ingress, black mould and damp. You’ve just got to paint over it.” But, obviously, within weeks “the paint and plaster lifted off the walls from the water damage and fell off in chunks”. Not exactly the home decor aesthetic they were aiming for. 

damp landlord

Damp in a University of Nottingham students house