Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Landlord and Student Focus Group

On Wednesday the 3rd of December members of the Landlord Forum, the student liaison officer and student representatives from the three universities in Cardiff :- Cardiff University, UWIC and the University of Glamorgan - met to hold a focus group that looked at housing issues across the city.

The event hosted by the Student steering group from the Landlords Forum consisting of Masud Ahmed, Kim Bird and Douglas Haig and the Student liaison officer; Kieran McCann, looked at issues such as what information students are missing when looking for rented accommodation, relationships with their landlords, how to be a responsible tenant, how to improve the service that landlords offer and the education of both students and landlord with regards to living in the property.

Student representatives Frances House, Michaela Neild, Catherine Kiernan and Mike Borley helped create an informative and lively discussion which generated some very interesting proposals and insights.

The aim is to gather this information and produce a guide for tenants living in private rented accommodation. It will be added to http://www.cardiffdigs.co.uk/, an addition to the Cardiff Living pack, as well as using this as an opportunity to be provided in private rented accommodation as a guide to help students understand about living in their property.

Ideally information will be disseminated prior to students looking for accommodation, but other proposals included a guide that landlords produce specifically for their own property to be given to new tenants. This template can be filled in by landlords to educate the tenants about procedures, essential information like trip switch locations and contact information.

Other suggestions included ideas centred around contracts, procedures for when a new tenant has to be found, repair/maintenance procedures and contacts, emergency contacts for repairs, clarification on how to find and know who is a good landlord, further education and awareness on the difference between let only and managed property, further education on tenancy deposit schemes, what to do before contracts are signed, disability rights and adaption of property, how to live in the property to ensure that full deposits are returned, what to do when moving out and closing accounts/utilities.

The focus group is a positive step forward and goes a long way to opening up dialogue between students and landlords, working together for mutually beneficially results.

Kim Bird from The landlord’s forum said:

We would like to thank the students for attending the Student/Landlord Focus Group. Their input was most helpful and gave us informative and insightful ideas and real direction that couldn't have been drawn upon otherwise.

Catherine Kiernan student adviser from the Advice & Representation Centre said:

“Housing is a key issue for Cardiff students and any opportunity for students to voice their concerns directly with landlords is a welcome move. Hopefully, an ongoing dialogue between students and landlords will improve standards in student housing in Cardiff.”

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Landlord’s accreditation scheme launched

Cardiffdigs.co.uk was proud to be invited to support the launch of the landlord Accreditation scheme. On Wednesday 19th of November at the Pier Head Building in Cardiff Bay, Deputy Minister for Housing, Jocelyn Davies AM and Cardiff Council’s Executive Member for Communities, Housing and Social Justice, Cllr Judith Woodman presented a number of landlords from across Wales with their accreditation certificate’s and talked to other landlords and key stakeholders about the scheme. The event took place ahead of the All Wales launch in March 2009.

What does this mean for students?

The landlord accreditation scheme will mean that students have access to landlords who will treat them professionally. Once landlords have gone through the training and agree to follow a code of conduct to gain their accreditation you know that they have all the knowledge necessary to ensure that your time in their property is enjoyable and hassle free.

By 2011 all three universities will only accept accredited landlords onto their housing lists ensuring students are safe in the knowledge that the landlord they are dealing with is reputable and follows best practise such as securing bonds, making maintenance repairs et al.

It means students have access to landlords that deal with students in a professional manner, who are committed to providing good quality, well managed accommodation within the confines of the law.

Using the website http://www.welshlandlords.org.uk/ students will soon be able to search for an accredited landlord.

Kieran McCann from cardiffdigs.co.uk was at the launch and said:
“Students like any member of society have a right to access good quality accommodation and a good level of service. All too often students have been treated unfairly and this is unacceptable. This is an opportunity for students to access good landlords; it will go along way in bringing up the standard of housing in Cardiff”

Deputy Minister for Housing Jocelyn Davies AM said, "All professions have a small minority that can give the rest a bad name. This Assembly Government backed project will help people find recognised landlords who have signed up to a code of conduct and who provide an honest, open service. Good landlords are those who ensure that their properties are in a good condition and well managed"

Executive Member for Communities, Housing and Social justice, Cllr Judith Woodman, said: “With the demand for rental properties increasing, there has never been a better time for landlords to gain accreditation, the schemes gives landlords the opportunity to stand out from the crowd and gives tenants the option to make an informed decision about who they let their home from. I would encourage landlords to find out more about the scheme and urge tenants to rent properties from recognised and accredited landlords".

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Students learn how to ‘Go Green’ in Cardiff

Last Friday Andy Buttons-Stephens (President of Cardiff University Students’ Union), Sam Knight (ethical and environmental officer) and I (Kieran McCann Student Liaison Officer) took a tour around the MRF (Materials Reclamation Facility) at Lamby Way to see how our green bag waste is recycled and the processes it goes through.

This first hand experience was arranged to educate us on recycling. We can then communicate to the student body how and why it is important to recycle in Cardiff.

Along with the Rubbish section here on Cardiff Digs and an information pack we supplied it is another example of how we are committed to educating our students about waste. This includes what should be put into our green bags for fortnightly collection, the dates of the recycling collection, what happens to the waste, the importance of making sure the correct items are recycled and why we need to recycle in the first instance.

We also hope it will go a long way to helping students understand general waste collections. In tandem with http://www.cardiffdigs.co.uk/Rubbish.htm it is a utility to educate them; ensuring bins are put out at the right day and time, in the correct way.

Cardiff Union has set up a ‘Go Green’ week for their student body between 17th -23rd of November. It is a week comprising events, activities, workshops and educational facilities for the students to learn about environmental issues.

Teaching us so that we can inform others about how the recycle facilities can help students Go Green was an integral aim of the tour.

During Go Green students will be able to pick up extra green bags and waste information leaflets around the union. They are committed that these Green Zones will become a permanent feature. The union is also trying to educate students through e-mails to the student body about general waste collections and recycling. It shows the commitment they are making to ensure waste becomes less of a negative issue in Cardiff.

The tour

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Ray Harrison and waste management for an informative and lively tour. Seeing the MRF in action and how the machine works gave us a rare and privileged insight into what really happens to our Green Bags.
We learnt and saw how the machine is able to sort through recyclable goods using screening technology, dividing paper and card, metal, glass and plastics. Rotating axels and screens separate the materials by size and weight. An overhead magnet and an eddie, air suction current system, separates the metals, the paper is separated into both high grade and low grade and the plastics are sorted into various different types.

As you can see by our photos the various segregated materials are then baled at the plant. These bales are sold on to companies who turn what is often perceived as worthless rubbish, into useful products once again. Some examples might include

Cardboard is pulped and used to make new products such as egg boxes, cardboard tubes and even insulation.

Cans are made out of steel and aluminium, both can be melted down to make new steel and aluminium products such as more drinks cans or even cars.

Newspapers and Magazines are sent to a paper mill where they are washed, pulped and used to produce new products.

We were very impressed by the state-of-the-art facility and went home filled with enthusiasm for recycling. – Thank you to all who made the tour possible.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Cardiff Digs at freshers fairs

Last week saw the welcome return of students to Cardiff, including the new first years or freshers. Over the course of last week Cardiff Digs had a stand and information promoting the website. Cardiff Digs attended the freshers fair at UWIC and Cardiff University and was represented at Glamorgan at the Atrium and their information day in Treforest.

We joined up stands with waste management giving out green recycling bags for students in private rented accommodation. A record 28 packs of green bags were distributed at Cardiff Uni alone, with 15 bags in each pack over 420 rolls of green bags were given to students who we spoke to, to educate them about how to recycle; their collection days and items that can and cant be placed in the green bag.

Thanks to Cardiff Union, green recycling bags for fortnightly collections outside private rented accommodation are now available outside the union shop beside the great hall to encourage student to recycle.

Flyers and stickers promoting the Cardiff Digs with information and advice about moving from halls to house was the message we promoted at the fairs which resulted in sore throats and lost voices but by the end of the week we had talked to hundreds of students with the result that a 67% increase in traffic toward this site was measured; a great success.

We would like to thank the organisers and staff at the freshers fair for their assistance and help, it was a great week. Good luck to all the new students starting this year we hope that you enjoy Cardiff don’t forget when it comes to finding accommodation make sure you check out the advice on this site before looking for a place to call home. To all the students in private rented accommodation this year don’t forget to check out the Cardiff Living section of this site for information about living in your property including safety advise, recycling and bin days, what to do when moving in, your new community et al.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Welcome to Cardiff Digs.

As students we get information about living in Cardiff from various sources and many people with an interest in our lives and how we live. However it has been identified that there is no central resource or one-stop-shop to address a range of local issues affecting us as students and the wider community.

The aim of cardiffdigs.co.uk is to prevent mixed and confused messages to students with regards to the needs of the student population. This resource will look at issues from a holistic point of view; from housing and accommodation issues, education about living in the local community to making sure students are fairly treated and represented.

Working with all the universities in Cardiff and the Council a Student Liaison Officer was appointed to work in partnership to look at student housing and lifestyle issues.
We hope that you enjoy the site providing you with information about your life here in Cardiff.