One trading standards department is targeting student tenants with
information about lettings fees - and ending a tenancy early.
The Trading Standards South West Team has been busy
staging Twitter quizzes to highlight students' knowledge on tenancies.
The team represents 12 local authorities in the region where hundreds of
thousands of students are attending universities in Plymouth, Bath, Bristol
And, along with three universities; Bristol, Exeter and Falmouth, the team
has been running a social media information campaign.
The questions are also aimed at raising awareness of guarantor fees and a
credit check, and whether these are permitted under the Tenant Fees Ban.
The team is also highlighting how students can end their tenancy early
should there be a coronavirus outbreak, what size deposit can be requested
by their landlord and highlighting the various deposit schemes.
Campaign to ensure students understand the Tenant Fees Ban
The trading standards department has also been pushing a campaign to warn
against unscrupulous landlords - particularly when it comes to making
upfront payments on rooms.
Under the Tenant Fees Ban, it's illegal for agents or landlords to charge
some fees unless they are a 'permitted payment'.
However, Trading Standards South West says that many young people do not
know of the dangers or the rules.
A regional coordination officer, Stuart Radnedge, said: "For students
signing a private accommodation tenancy agreement, it can be daunting,
particularly if you are unclear about what you should be asked to pay."
He added: "There's a risk that students could be asked to pay hundreds of
pounds in upfront payments and fees that under the new legislation are not
considered to be a permitted payment."
The move drew support from Simon Thompson, the managing director of Accommodation for Students, who said: "Educating young
people about their rights and their responsibilities is good for the
student lettings sector – harmonious landlord and tenant relationships are
important and student accommodation sites like ours help students find
quality homes they will enjoy."
Unite Students sees income take a hit
Meanwhile, one of the country's largest providers of student housing says
that its profitability has been affected by cancellations.
says that the number of cancellations in recent weeks has been higher than
usual because of growing coronavirus cases.
The provider delivers accommodation for 74,000 students in 27 cities and
The growing number of cancellations means it has fallen short of its 90%
occupancy target – reaching an 88% rate. In September 2019, their occupancy
rate was 98%.
The company says it is looking to recoup lost income by securing extra
lettings in January, which is the revised starting date for some