URGENT: Letting Agents Attempt to Break their Contracts!

Every year the housing situation gets worse. Landlords and letting agents pressure students to make swift decisions about whether they want to remain in a property for their next year at university.

Students BEWARE. You do NOT have to make these decisions now.
I have spoken to Leaders, a Letting Agency who this month sent all of their tenants a letter stipulating that tenants needed to let them know whether they wanted to remain in the property the following year by the 17th December. They state in their letter:
“Should we not hear from you by this date, we will automatically advertise the property as available for re-let, erect a ‘To Let’ board and arrange viewings accordingly.”
I asked them whether they believed this was misleading students. In their contract, Leaders state that:
“At least one month prior to the expiry of the Term specified in the Particulars the Tenant shall give Notice to the Landlord or the Landlord’s Agent specifying whether of not the Tenant will be vacating at the end of the Term or whether the Tenant seeks an extension or renewal of the Term”

In response, Leaders suggested that should a tenant not wish to disclose whether they were staying in a property or not, they would not take any of the action stated in their letter.

But I must admit that it is INCREDIBLY MISLEADING. Other letting agents and landlords are employing similar techniques to pressure students into making such important decisions only a few months after they have moved in….we have barely had time to work out the cleaning rotas!

I would urge students to remember that they have signed up to their current property for the YEAR. You do not need to let your letting agents know whether you will remain in the property through unnecessary pressure.
It is in THEIR interests and not YOURS. Letting agents want the business of the landlords and they want to prove that they can rent the properties efficiently and before the spring.

Once again, the letting agents direct the student market. It should be the students directing the market that they are affected by. I implore you to make a stand, take your time and ignore the false pressures of a greedy market.

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5 Comments on "URGENT: Letting Agents Attempt to Break their Contracts!"

  1. Emily
    David Howell
    15/12/2010 at 1:49 pm Permalink

    Nothing like this happened to me in my third year with Marques. Then again, I was living alone, so maybe they treated me differently. Either way, this is astonishing – completely against the terms of the contract. And this is one of the better agents. What are the rogues like?

  2. Emily
    15/12/2010 at 3:36 pm Permalink

    I have subsequently spoken again to Leaders the Letting Agent and they have promised to issue a new letter to all of their tenants rectifying the misleading letter and ensuring that students do not need to reply to their correspondance by the 17th December!

    I am very pleased with this breakthrough and it does appear that Leaders were apologetic and had not considered the consequences such a letter would have had on their student tenants who would naturally have felt pressure to comply with the statements.

    I really hope that student tenants recognise that they have the power to change the student market for properties if they act responsibly and stop freshers from feeling obliged to look into houses so early into their university experience.

    Renting properties so early has serious consequences for the students, many of them change friendship groups or the quality of the property deteriorates in the time that they wait before they move in.

    We really need to start raising the expectations of student property. We are not animals land shouldnt be coerced into living in damp and squalid conditions. We are students, we deserve to live in accommodation that is safe, healthy and secure.

    Please get involved with this thread and let the students union know about any problems you have been facing! Let’s make some changes!

  3. Emily
    James G
    15/12/2010 at 4:09 pm Permalink

    Good call, Emily. That really is a bit much — 17th December?! I may have had the odd problem with my landlords/ladies — I was in 3 different houses but never with a letting agent — but wasn’t aware that the above was happening.

    I’m glad that Leaders have responded favourably but it still doesn’t look good when publicity or direct complaints are required for companies to rectify gross inconsistencies in how they act. I hope someone there is glad you’ve brought it to their attention.

  4. Emily
    04/01/2011 at 6:01 pm Permalink

    Hi Emily!
    Really interesting because our letting agents (South Lettings) have been pestering us to let them know if we are going to be in the property next year or not since October! We have been in the house for what will be our second year now, and some of us arn’t sure if we will be in Southampton next year yet as post-grad course applications are still being written and considered!
    Any advice? Is there any legal stance on this?
    many thanks
    x x x

  5. Emily
    Housing Clinic
    07/01/2011 at 3:33 pm Permalink

    The University runs a Housing Clinic to assist with these sorts of problems by giving free legal advice to all students in private rented accommodation. It is managed by a group of students supported by a specialist barrister in houisng law.

    To make an appointment with the team or for further information e-mail: Urgent enquiries will be dealt with as soon as possible, or students can book an appointment at the monthly clinic sessions held in the law Building on the Highfield Campus (Building 4).

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