Help and Advice

Independent housing advice on all aspects of housing in university accommodation and the private sector.

Finding a Good Landlord

There are plenty of good student landlords in Leeds, so there’s no need to settle for bad quality, overpriced accommodation and an unhelpful landlord.  You don’t have to put up with bad service just because you’re a student.

Who are the good landlords?

Although there’s no substitute for careful viewings and reading the contract, here are some tips on finding a good landlord:

Meet good landlords at the Housing Fair in LUU on Monday 25th January 2016 .  See who attended in 2014.

LUU also runs the Leeds Landlord Awards each year, in partnership with other Students' Unions in the City.  Click to see last year’s winners, nominated by students (visit the 'about' page and scroll down). Nominations will open on the 26th January for the 2015 awards, so if you love where you live this year, why not nominate your hall or landlord for an award? Nominations are open until 9th March 2015, and all the info about how to nominate can be found on the Leeds Landlord Awards website.  

LUU recommends signing up with a landlord who's a member of the Unipol Code or Leeds City Council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

The Rate Your Landlord website can also help.  It iis a review site for students to leave feedback about their renting experiences in Leeds. Make sure you check to see what thousands of current students have to say about their landlords when you are house hunting.

Speak with your friends and current tenants in any property you view. Recommendations are normally good providing you can trust the person making the recommendation.

Our house hunting checklist includes questions to ask the landlord and current tenants.

A good landlord/agent is someone who:
• shows you around the property themselves.
• gives you a chance to speak to the current tenants.
• knows their current tenants names and is friendly to them.
• shows you a house with no repairs needed, or is happy to put them in the contract.
• can tell you which deposit protection scheme they use to protect tenancy deposits.
• can show you a gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate, landlord accreditation
certificate and for properties with five or more people over three or more floors, a HMO license.
• lets you take away the contract for 24 hours to read it through and get it checked before you
sign.
• doesn’t charge any fees or a holding deposit.
• explains how utilities are paid, and tells you the unit rate if they charge tenants per unit.
• answers all your questions and tells you everything you need to know.
• lets you view the property a second time.
 

Who are the dodgy landlords?

Despite what you may have heard, the Student Advice Centre doesn’t keep a landlord blacklist.  If you come for a contract check, we can let you know if Student Advice has had cases involving that landlord and whether any problems were resolved satisfactorily.

You could also do an internet search for the landlord or agent, and check the Tribunal Minutes on the Unipol website to see if there have been previous complaints.

A bad landlord/agent might show signs like these:
tries to pressure, scare, bribe or plead you to sign the contract.
• won’t let you, or charges you to take the contract away to read and check before signing.
• hasn’t given the current tenants 24 hours notice about the viewing.
• won’t write promises such as repairs and renovations into the contract.
• doesn’t protect tenancy deposits.
• doesn’t have a gas safety certificate or for properties with five or more people over three or
more floors, a HMO license.
• charges one or more upfront fees that add up to more than £100.
• won’t explain in writing what happens to the holding deposit once its paid.
• won’t tell you how utilities are paid.
• just pays a driver who doesn’t know anything about the property to show it to you.
• says they’ll be doing work to the property over summer so you won’t be able to move in then,
but won’t offer you a rent discount.

What’s the difference between a landlord and an agent?

Many landlords use agencies to advertise their properties and arrange lettings.  Some landlords also pay agencies to manage their properties e.g. collecting the rent, dealing with repairs, and looking after any other issues.

If the agent is only arranging the letting but not managing the property afterwards, the arrangement is called ‘let only.’  You’ll deal directly with the landlord once the letting has been set up.

Before you sign through an agent:

Find out who you will pay rent to and who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the tenancy. 

Get the contact details for both the agent and the landlord.  You’re legally entitled to know the landlord’s full name and address, even if the property will be managed by the agent.

What is Unipol?

Unipol is a national student housing charity with a number of different services, including:

  • Landlord – you can rent properties directly from Unipol
  • Advertising other landlords’ properties
  • Providing information and advice about house hunting for students
  • Running a Code of standards for landlords
  • Training and policy work to improve standards of student housing

Unipol's main bureau is at 155-157 Woodhouse Lane and there is also an outlet downstairs in LUU.  Stop by for information and contract checking throughout the year.

Visit Unipol's website

I’ve heard about the Unipol Code – what is it?

The Unipol Code is a voluntary set of standards that landlords agree to meet.  A sample of properties is inspected each year to make sure the standard is met. See which landlords have joined.

We recommend signing with a code landlord because:

Code landlords have committed to meet standards that go over and above their minimum legal obligations to provide a safe and secure property. 

Code landlords will also make sure that students are dealt with in a professional and courteous manner.

If you find a landlord is not meeting the code there is a complaints procedure.  This means you have extra protection if things go wrong.

Some things to note:

Unfortunately some code landlords may not always comply with the set standards so you still need to make sure you properly check the property and speak with the current tenants. 

There are different categories of membership for the Unipol Code of Standards.  E.g. sometimes an agent may be covered by the code but the landlord might not be (see Code Supporters below).  

It’s worth fully understanding what your landlord and/or agent have agreed to before signing.  It could become important if something goes wrong later. 

Need more information?
Leeds Landlord Accreditation Scheme

Leeds City Council also runs a separate landlord accreditation scheme that operates along similar lines.

My agent is a “Code Supporter” – is my property covered?

Code Supporters are letting agents who have committed to making sure a certain percentage of their properties meet Unipol Code standards.  Bear in mind that this percentage can be as low as 20% in some cases. 

If you’re thinking of letting via an agency that is a Code Supporter:

Ask the agent if the landlord of your property is a member of the Code.

If the landlord isn’t in the Code, you can still expect the service from the agency to follow the requirements of the Code, and you can complain if these requirements aren't met.  

Requirements in the Code for certain facilities in the property will only have to be met if the landlord is in the Code.

So, for the best protection, go with a landlord who is a full Code member.

See who's a member (scroll right to the bottom to see Code Supporters)

Confused?  Stop by the Unipol outlet in LUU for a chat or go to this page for more details.

 

We make every effort to ensure information on these pages is accurate and up to date, however policies, procedures and regulations are subject to change. We therefore cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or inconvenience suffered as a result of using our pages. Read the full disclaimer.

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