What the Idea is about:
LUU should dedicate more resources to raising awareness of students’ rights as a tenant, with the aim that the majority of students will know most of their ‘essential’ rights as a tenant by the end of the 2017/18 academic year.
Should this idea pass, the Union will decide which tenants’ rights should be classified as ‘essential’. Suggestions include the right to:
1) Keep your rights regardless of what your contract says.
2) Sign a contract without being misled by actions or omissions, or while under pressure from aggressive practices.
3) Live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair.
4) Stay in the property unless evicted by a bailiff with a valid warrant from a court.
5) Know your landlord’s full name and address, even when renting through a letting agency.
6) Know how much the rent is, when it is due, and how it should be paid.
7) Refuse a rent increase and continue paying the rent as agreed when signing the fixed-term tenancy agreement (but not on renewal).
8) Be given 24 hours notice before the landlord accesses the property, except in an emergency.
9) Have your deposit protected and know which scheme it is in.
10) Switch to a cheaper (or more expensive) energy provider if you pay them directly, or receive a copy of the utility bill from your landlord if you pay him/her by usage.
11) Receive a copy of the gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate, and if there are five or more people over at least three floors, a copy of the HMO license.
Why have you proposed it?
Tenants need to know their rights in order to be able to recognise unlawful letting practices. Without recognition, action can not to be taken.
University of Leeds students voted “What are my rights as a tenant” as the most wanted housing-related advice at the token voting stall this year.
The NUS ‘Homes fit for study’ report (2014) found that “students are insufficiently educated as to their rights”, with only 47% of students responding that they thought they knew their rights as a tenant. Of particular worry is that only 53% said that they had definitely received evidence that their deposit was protected, with 22% saying they definitely had not.
Good landlords and letting agents will benefit from this policy as students would be able to recognise and avoid landlords who use unlawful letting practices.