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Fred Bassett

Student Residence rip off

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My daughter is a resident at a campus in Cardiff University run by a private company - Liberty living.

 

She signed a contract in March for accommodation for 12 months, but at the time, the rent was only agreed for the first 6 months.

 

She now has a new contract to sign. The rent has gone up marginally - about £2 per week, but the nasty bit comes when you realise that Liberty living want to charge 6 months rent over a 5-month period. Apparently, this has been agreed by the University.

 

I think this is appalling. In effect, this will leave her with £72 per month less to live on until February, when she won't have to pay any rent at all.

 

As it happens, she has money in her bank account and me and my wife are helping her out, so she can manage this without a problem, but this really irks me. Liberty living already have a £200 deposit which they were quick to take, but which will take about 4 weeks to pay back at the end of the contract. Now this.

 

Some of the other students in her block just can't afford this and are moving out.

 

Has anyone else experienced something similar? It strikes me that this is just plain wrong. She has a choice I suppose, but for a 19-year old, living away from home, this seems like blackmail.

 

Any suggestions would be welcome.

 

Regards to all.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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Hi Fred,

 

Firstly, you say that your daughters deposit will take around 4 weeks to return on conclusion of her tenancy - is her deposit protected by one of the government deposit protection schemes?

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Hi Fred,

 

Firstly, you say that your daughters deposit will take around 4 weeks to return on conclusion of her tenancy - is her deposit protected by one of the government deposit protection schemes?

 

TFT

 

Hi TFT, I honestly don't know. All I can remember is that when she did the original paperwork, she was told that this was the length of time it took to get the money back.

 

Regards.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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Hi TFT, I honestly don't know. All I can remember is that when she did the original paperwork, she was told that this was the length of time it took to get the money back.

 

Regards.

 

Fred

 

Hi Fred,

 

this is an important factor for you to explore because as of April 2007, landlords are legally obliged to protect a tenants deposit in one of these schemes. A failure by a landlord to do so can result in the landlord being liable to pay the tenant three times the original deposit in compensation. Either you or your daughter would have received a certificate for your protected deposit if the landlords have protected it.

 

From what you have said, is it the case thay your daughter will be there for a further period of six months; however, the landlords wish to make that rent payable over 5 months? If so, it is difficult to understand the legal position on the matter without seeing the contract; however, at the very least I would certainly say that it is extremely unreasonable, particularly as your daughter is a student with limited funds.

 

Just returning to the deposit matter, if you cannot find any paperwork you can always check with each scheme as to whether your daughters deposit is registered with them. Don't worry, there are only 3:

 

1) The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS)

0870 707 1707

 

2) Tenancy Deposit Solutions Ltd (TDSL)

020 8275 3260

 

3) The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)

0845 226 7837

 

Make sure you check this out as it will save further problems for your daughter and also make sure you don't unfairly lose £200 either.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Many thanks TFT. I could post up a copy of the current agreement because she is home this weekend and has bought it with her. The original agreement is back in Cardiff and any other paperwork including, if she has it, the certificate you refer to.

 

I would be astonished if a company working in partnership with Cardiff Uni was breaking the law, but when you hear of other goings on in this country, maybe I shouldn't be.

 

Shall I post up the current agreement?

 

Regards.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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Oh and yes, she's there for 6 months but they want to charge the rent for that period over 5. Needless to say, the 'free' month will be at the end, not the beginning.

 

Regards.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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I would be astonished if a company working in partnership with Cardiff Uni was breaking the law, but when you hear of other goings on in this country, maybe I shouldn't be.

 

Firstly, don't be astonished that such a thing could happen. I have just graduated from university and my experience is that uni's tend to be pretty naive when it comes to this sort of thing - this is usually why they rely on external partners for areas such as accommodation.

 

Secondly, definately post up the agreement you have and I will have a look. I have got a friend who has just finished his LPC to become a solicitor and luckily residential/commercial tenancy agreements are an area that he has recently covered.

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

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Hi TFT,

 

Here's a copy of the agreement, with personal details and location removed. From looking at it, the deposit does appear to be covered by a guarantee scheme.

 

Regards.

 

Fred

 

TenancyAgreement1.jpg

TenancyAgreement2.jpg

TenancyAgreement3.jpg

TenancyAgreement4.jpg

TenancyAgreement4.jpg

TenancyAgreement5.jpg

TenancyAgreement6.jpg


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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Hi Fred,

 

Ok, the bad news is that the rent payments and dates look contractually fine. Basically, the rent is payable on a five weekly basis and this would make sense from the perspective that the agreement is for 25 weeks so easily divided by 5. Morally and ethically, it could be argued that it is unfair as no doubt it would be easier for your daughter to pay on a monthly basis; however, apart from that I think there is little that could be done.

 

That said, what I would suggest is writing a strong letter to the university. If students are moving out because they cannot manage this arrangement then this is counter productive to the very purpose of university halls.

 

I must say, I totally sympathise because they have your daughter backed in to a corner. If she went out and got herself a normal rented property she would have to pay a new set of fees to the agent; furthermore, like any city Cardiff has its good and bad areas and I am sure you would be far happier with her living in university accommodation rather than anywhere else.

 

I think the only way to win this one is to put pressure on the university and see how they respond.

 

Also, with regards to the deposit, make sure you do check it out. Anyone can say anything in a contract; however, whether they do it or not is another question.

 

A further point with the agreement is that they state a late payment charge of £30 may be payable if the rent is not paid on time. If this ever happens to your daughter this can be challenged like you would challenge a bank charge.

 

I am really sorry that I could not have been of any more assistance. I know its tough being student so understand your daughter's situation very well.

 

All the best,

 

TFT


09/07/09 :)Business Studies BA(Hons) 2:1:)

 

eCar Insurance overpayment - £325

Settled in full - 15/09/08

NatWest Student A/C bank charges - £260

Settled under hardship scheme - 08/06/09

Natwest Business A/C bank charges - £60

Settled in full as GOGW - 20/04/09

Santander Consumer Finance late payment fees - £60

Part settled for £48 - 01/03/08

Peugeot Finance late payment fees - £50

Settled in full before county court hearing - 01/09/09

Peugeot Finance overpayment of £247

Settled in full - 01/12/08

Valley Leisure - complaint about collections agent

£160 part refund of gym membership in compensation - 01/02/09

HFC Bank - complaint about payment deducted from my account on wrong date

GOGW £10 - 01/05/09

Share this post


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Hi Fred,

 

Ok, the bad news is that the rent payments and dates look contractually fine. Basically, the rent is payable on a five weekly basis and this would make sense from the perspective that the agreement is for 25 weeks so easily divided by 5. Morally and ethically, it could be argued that it is unfair as no doubt it would be easier for your daughter to pay on a monthly basis; however, apart from that I think there is little that could be done.

 

That said, what I would suggest is writing a strong letter to the university. If students are moving out because they cannot manage this arrangement then this is counter productive to the very purpose of university halls.

 

I must say, I totally sympathise because they have your daughter backed in to a corner. If she went out and got herself a normal rented property she would have to pay a new set of fees to the agent; furthermore, like any city Cardiff has its good and bad areas and I am sure you would be far happier with her living in university accommodation rather than anywhere else.

 

I think the only way to win this one is to put pressure on the university and see how they respond.

 

Also, with regards to the deposit, make sure you do check it out. Anyone can say anything in a contract; however, whether they do it or not is another question.

 

A further point with the agreement is that they state a late payment charge of £30 may be payable if the rent is not paid on time. If this ever happens to your daughter this can be challenged like you would challenge a bank charge.

 

I am really sorry that I could not have been of any more assistance. I know its tough being student so understand your daughter's situation very well.

 

All the best,

 

TFT

 

Many thanks for your help TFT. She's not really looking to challenge it because she has enough money in her bank account to cover this. It was me getting out of my pram a bit about what I perceive to be the unfairness of it to a group of people who might well struggle with this. My daughter worked hard before Uni to make sure she had some funds and I give her money each month too, so she is fairly comfortable, but there are others who are definitely not.

 

Regards.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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Perhpas playing devil's advocate slightly here, I do agree it is unfair that they have forced your daughter to do this, however it may be partially due to the fact that in the final month of their tenancy the student will probably be looking to rent somewhere else, which would involve paying a deposit and rent in advance, so not having to pay rent in their final month in their current house might be quite a help to some in covering the costs of the deposit on a new place...

 

Just speaking from experience when I moved between student houses, coming up with the deposit and rent for the new place was quite a struggle, espeically as you don't get the deposit back from the previous proeprty for a while (or unfortunately, never - in my case! An ongoing battle with an infamous Leeds based agency!)

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When in halls we had to pay 3mths advance.

 

They know students cant budget, thus get there cash when student loan comes in and make sure they get enough to cover till the next one.

 

I didnt stay in Private Halls as the Uni had plenty, but Private Halls seem to give more trust and only every seem to want one month in advance, thus leaving the last month rent free to save for the deposit for the next place.

 

I got my deposit back within a week from the Uni, so guess that was luck.

 

But in-keeping with the title.

 

Student halls are now £95 per week here, now thats a rip off for a box room with the smallest ensuite in history and having to share with 8 others when all 8 come to use one cooker at the same time =)....

 

I went private after, and took a whole 13 months to get back my deposit of 2 months rent. So going with halls may be the best option after-all, and the social life in halls is far better too, if you with the right people that is.

 

I would check with TDS if they have your deposit. I have had mine with them 3 times now, and the landlord has always disputed, and TDS have always given me my cash back and put blaim with either letting agency or landlord. So the scheme works well as i would be over 2k out of pocket if tds didnt sort it out over the three disputes

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Thank you everyone for your replies. My Daughter has decided to stay with the hall she's at and will move into a house with some of the others at the end of February. It's not really a problem for her because she has enough money in her accounts to deal with this. I just thought it a bit unfair on some of the ones who are wholly dependent on their bursaries to have to pay up front like this.

 

Regards to all.

 

Fred


Before you criticise another man you should first walk a mile in his shoes. Then, when you criticise him, you'll be a mile away and he won't have any shoes on.

 

Don't get me confused with somebody knowledgeable by all those green blobs. I got most of them by making people laugh.

 

I am not European, I am English.

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