Students “belittled, patronised and exploited” by landlords

By Blundell

Students have spoken to Palatinate about their unfortunate experiences with letting agents in Durham, including complaints about mould, rubbish and unpleasant service.

One group of tenants, wishing to remain anonymous, arrived at a house which was full of black mould. They also say they found bins full of mould, piles of rubbish and toenail clippings.

Their agency told them that broken furniture, in place before the tenants moved in, had been blocking the corridors and prevented cleaners’ access.

A damp inspector was also requested, along with the council, to inspect the house. The letting agency was forced to remove the mould. However, the repairs left the house ‘like a construction site’ and are yet to be fully finished.

One of the tenants said of their agency: “We have had an abundance of issues with them and they have not made our tenancy easy”.

We have had an abundance of issues with them and they have not made our tenancy easy

Palatinate was informed by another group of tenants that when they moved into a property let by Bradley Hall, a number of expensive items left there over the summer for safekeeping had been stolen.

Bradley Hall reportedly told the residents that they had been ‘skipped’ and the tenants received a £200 compensation fee.

Bradley Hall told Palatinate that a tenant left some items at the property ‘at their own risk’ whilst builders were refurbishing the house, at a cost of £60,000 to the landlord. They said that, under no instruction from Bradley Hall, the builders disposed of items that had not been itemised or insured by the tenant. The landlord also offered compensation that was settled in full in August 2018.

Another group of students told Palatinate that they had also moved into a property full of mould. When they complained to their estate agent, accompanied by a parent, they were ‘reduced to tears’ by the rude and aggressive treatment that they received.

Tenants were ‘reduced to tears’ by their landlord

This reportedly continued when the tenants received a phone call from the estate agent the following day and were passed on to the landlord, who threatened them against involving anyone who wasn’t included in the contract agreement, referring to the parent that had complained

The tenants told Palatinate they were labelled as ‘childish,’ and told they ought to ‘grow up.’

In addition, the same tenants were told they were obliged to stay on the same tariffs, despite not having their bills included. This meant they were forced to pay higher prices than necessary. Upon contacting Citizens Advice, they were told that this was in fact illegal.

“We were belittled, patronised, and exploited because we were students. The estate agent and landlords were no more than bullies, and I feel angry that they benefit every year from the Durham housing crisis,” the tenant said.

Another group of tenants told Palatinate that the first they heard of their house being put up for sale was a prospective buyer hammering on their downstairs bedroom window at 9am and shouting through the letterbox.

Our source described their letting agent as ‘deeply unhelpful,’ with the sudden inundation of unannounced visitors to the house.

Other tenants have reported a wasp infestation followed by a fly infestation in their student home, and claim that their letting agent telling them that it was not their problem.

Six students told Palatinate that they were left without any hot water or heating in November, with phone calls to their letting agent leaving them at a dead end each time.

If you’ve experienced issues with your landlord, the Durham Students’ Union Advice Service is available to provide individual support.

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One thought on “Students “belittled, patronised and exploited” by landlords

  • Sounds to me like a bunch of whingey entitled little sh*ts with no common sense adjusting to life in the real world and trying to have their parents fight their battles.

    Reply

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