Following the release of the Rate Your Landlord Report 2011-12 last week, we're highlighting the specific recommendations made in the report and what your Students’ Union is doing to implement them.
There are 6 key recommendations made in the report and over the next few weeks we’re going to highlight one of these each week.
The first recommendation made in the Rate Your Landlord Report 2011-12 is that there should be greater regulation of all those renting out property privately in order to elevate standards in the sector and ensure consistency of service to tenants. The report noted that ideally this would be national regulation and would involve a compulsory set of standards that all accommodation providers have to abide by.
The Students’ Union has sent copies of the report to 5 local MPs and has requested meetings with them to discuss the findings. We will be asking these MPs to lobby the Government to introduce greater regulation of the private rental sector. In particular we are seeking national regulation on fees, the speed of problem resolution and the condition of properties.
As an interim measure before full, national implementation of a regulatory scheme, the report recommends that local councils expand the use of accreditation schemes and promote these to students and the wider population in order to enable house hunters to make better informed choices about who to rent from.
The Students’ Union is meeting with officers from Brighton and Hove City Council in November and will be discussing with them ways to expand and promote their new accreditation scheme for letting agents.
The report also recommends that local councils take a lead in enforcing existing housing laws. For example, this years’ Rate Your Landlord survey highlighted the continuing problem of student tenants not being afforded proper notice prior to visits from landlords, letting agents and maintenance workers despite the legal obligation for a landlord or “any person authorised by him (sic)” to give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice in writing (Section 11(6) of the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985).
The Students’ Union is meeting with officers from Brighton and Hove City Council in November and will be discussing with them how they currently enforce existing laws and how this can be improved. We will also be asking the University to help raise awareness of student rights in respect of private sector housing, as well as looking at how to increase access to the housing advice provided by the Students’ Union’s Advice and Representation Centre.
For more information about the report and any of the recommendations it makes, contact Indi Hicks, Students' Union Welfare Officer.
Don't forget that our Advice & Representation Centre can provide free, independent and confidential advice on a range of issues including housing.
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