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The National Union of Students (NUS) has welcomed The Private Rented Sector review from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on which has set out a series of proposals to correct serious flaws in the private rented housing market.
One of the report’s recommendations, which NUS suggested in its evidence, is to bring the level of regulation for letting agents up to the same level as that for estate agents. The report also proposes that agents be required to publish a full-breakdown of fees in adverts and that they be prevented from charging both tenants and landlords for the same things.
Students, often renting for the first time, can be the victims of unscrupulous letting agents and would be a major beneficiary should the government take the proposals forward.
Among the Select Committee’s recommendations are calls for tenants’ rights and responsibilities to be more widely promoted to them. This is an area where NUS and students’ unions could play a significant role as students are often not yet well versed in their rights and tend to move at similar times making the timing of promotional work easier.
NUS gave both written and oral evidence to the Committee during their inquiry in May 2013.
Colum McGuire, NUS Vice-President (Welfare), said:
“Substandard letting agents have been able to get away with overcharging and shoddy practice for far too long and it is imperative that the government quickly take forward these proposals.
“Tenants should be able to expect the same standards when they rent a home as they would if they were buying. The cost of student housing is rising at an alarming rate and while standards are improving in some places with the introduction of students’ union run landlord accreditation schemes, students need to know that their agent is not ripping them off.
“It is a pity that the Select Committee have not recommended a national registration which would be able to shut down bad landlords who operate nationwide but nonetheless their proposals would be a huge leap forward for beleaguered tenants.”
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