Name of Proposer:
Matthias De Ruyver
Should LUU lobby landlords to give prospective tenants 24 hours to read their contract?
What the Idea is about:
LUU should lobby landlords and letting agents to always give prospective tenants 24 hours to take the contract they are due to sign away. This is to allow time for them to read and get their contract checked. During this period the landlord or letting agent agrees not to sign a lease for the property to anyone else.
Why have you proposed it?
Students often feel under pressure to find a house even though according to LUU there were over 5000 empty bedrooms in Leeds last year. The nationwide NUS ‘Homes for fit study’ report (2014) showed that 40% of students began house-hunting because they were worried that they would be left with no house.
Furthermore, 30% of students who signed through a non-students’ union letting agent experienced pressure to sign a contract. This is despite the prohibition of aggressive commercial practices under Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. When students sign a contract they are committing to pay thousands of pounds, and they need the time to think whether that commitment is right for them without being pressured to sign.
Good landlords and letting agents already have this policy. The LUU Housing Help and Advice webpage states one characteristic of a good landlord as someone who “lets you take away the contract for 24 hours to read it through”, and Unipol Code already makes this a requirement.