Can I end a tenancy agreement early?
Most students will have entered into a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy agreement. This is usually for a fixed term that mirrors the academic year. Once signed this becomes a legally binding contract and it it is extremely hard to break free of it. Our advice is if there are any doubts about the accomodation then don't sign the agreement!
Some contracts have what is known as a "break clause" in them. This means under certain circumstances the tenancy can be surrendered. Most of these entail finding a replacement tenant. If the landlord can find someone else then s/he will have mitigated their loss and the previous tenant will have no further liability.
In all cases it is best to negotiate with the landlord first. Defaulting on the contract may mean that you lose your deposit and/or the landlord takes court action to recover the outstanding rent.
There's a rat in me kitchen what am I gonna do?
Where there is an infestation of vermin, or there are issues of disrepair that are a public health hazard, e.g. sewage backing up, then this should be reported to the landlord. It is the landlords responsibility to ensure the fabric of the building is in good order, such as making sure that the plumbing works or that there are no gaps in the masonry where vermin can get in.
If the issue is not resolved, within a reaonable amounbt of time, then call the Local Authority Environmental Health and Housing Standards Departments. They can inspect the premises and have the power to enforce repairs.