Objection Overruled | Issue 8

Objection Overruled | Issue 8

Student Flatting

The scarfie flat is a rite of passage for Otago students. Fraught with mould, colder inside than out, and bathrooms laden with more E Coli than a Chinese food outlet, we’ve all seen and experienced some shockers. But below-par living conditions form only part of the wondrous composite: Seemingly normal friends turn into sickos as the year progresses, boyfriends/girlfriends who become an annoying appendage to the flat, and troublesome landlords may all pain your experience.

The foremost concern for students is the issue of landlords, particularly when those precious government-funded dollars are in jeopardy. Because your bond acts as security for the performance of your obligations as tenant, the landlord can retain all or part of it to cover costs arising from non-performance. You are accountable for intentional or careless damage only, not normal wear and tear. Other grounds for which a landlord can keep bond money include unpaid rent, cleaning, and rubbish removal. The amount to be retained is normally agreed upon subsequent to the final flat inspection.

It is required that you notify the landlord of new damage as soon as it occurs. One instance a few years back found a group of students having to foot bills for damaged tile floors totalling almost $20,000 (including legal costs). The damage most likely occurred as a result of leaking pipes which the landlord should have fixed, but the issue was complicated by numerous factors – including that the property manager did not come to view the damage until the boys moved out. While it is unlikely such misfortune will befall you, keep things simple by informing the landlord and immediately photographing any new damage.

The Proctor has recently expressed concern about the huge number of thefts from flats, particularly around the Castle/Dundas/Great King area. You’re an idiot if you don’t know by now that unsecured property isn’t covered by insurance, so be extra careful that at least your room is locked when you go to uni. Be mindful too of opportunists who thrive on shiny MacBooks left sitting on your desk by the open window, and report any shady characters to Campus Watch.

Alice O’Connell
This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2012.
Posted 5:04pm Sunday 22nd April 2012 by .