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.”