By Rosa Smith
The BBC documentary, The Week the Landlords Moved In, made a visit to a student property in Egham, to show what life is like living in a less than satisfactory student house.
The episode that aired on Wednesday 30 August introduced landlord Ben, who owns multiple properties in Egham that he lets to Royal Holloway students, to the problems that his own tenants have been dealing with. Ben makes around £20,000 a month from rent, despite many of his properties having serious problems.
After giving up on trying to get issues with the house fixed through the letting agency, Philosophy and Drama student Tilly Maher invited Ben to come and live with her and her housemates in his property for a week.
During that week, Ben experienced the unbearably loud noise of the water pump, a ring on the hob that would overheat and not turn off, as well as an unusable garden that was promised to be sorted out at the beginning of the year.
Tilly and the other five girls she shares with each pay £433 to live in the property – that means they pay around £2,600 a month, but they still have basic problems with the home.
‘There’s been such a shift in the university experience with tuition fees,’ says Tilly, ‘maybe the houses we live in should step up with that as well.’
Speaking to The Founder, Tilly said she hoped the programme ‘showed students in a different light.’ She says that because of the increasing stereotype of students showing little care for their properties, ‘we’re typecast and ignored when we have legitimate complaints’.
Ben, who lived on his tenants’ budget of £65 a week, said in reference to the faulty electrics that he was ‘concerned and quite angry with the letting agent for not dealing with something quite dangerous. This really worries me as if it’s happening to you guys, it could be happening in other properties too.’
At the end of the programme, Ben had sorted out the garden for his tenants and replaced the hob, however, fixing the noisy pump looked to be a long and costly procedure.