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".