Students want star ratings for buy to lets

Students want star ratings for buy to lets

19:24 PM, 18th February 2011, About 13 years ago

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Students are asking housing minister Grant Shapps to introduce a star rating system for buy to let homes.

Hundreds of students in Shapp’s consituency of Hatfield have complained about shoddy properties in a survey by University of Hertfordshire Students’ Union.

They are upset that for an average rent of £300 – £399 a month for a single room in a shared house when they have to put up with  a home crawling with bedbugs and cockroaches, beds stained with blood, faulty boilers, leaking pipes and unscrupulous landlords.

Although one in five students (22%) rated their shared houses as “good’ or ‘very good’, the majority (57%) told the survey their digs were grubby and substandard.

The report, authored by union president Nica de Koenigswarter, concluded that paying more rent did not lead to better living standards or improved customer service from landlords or letting agents.

The main gripe from 28% of students was over losing  deposits in petty disagreements about the state of properties and the time taken to complete repairs:

  • One student was charged for removing a dead fly from a bin
  • A student was charged £30 for the vacuum cleaning of a doormat
  • A landlord charged £75 to replace three lightbulbs

Ms de Koenigswarter suggests landlords  should employ an independent inventory service to oversee moving in and out of the property with a view to minimising squabbles over damaged property.

Landlord fined for house of horrors

Meanwhile, landlord Bharat Investments Limited had to pay more than £6,000 in fines and costs for letting a buy to let home fall in to a poor state of repair with rotting wooden windows, no hot water or heating, structural collapse, damp inside and dangerous electrics.

At Warley Magistrates Court, Sandwell, the firm pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a council improvement notice issued in December 2009, and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay the council’s costs of £2,541.

The court was told no work to improve the house had started.

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