.Representation

External Letting Agencies on Campus and Halls Sites (1213P10)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Student Life

Passed: 04/02/2014 | Lapsed: 04/02/2014

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • That  housing problems are the biggest concern brought to The Advice Centre from  students. 341 issues were brought to advisors between March and November  of 2012.
  • That  after conducting SUSU’s first annual “Vent About Your Rent” survey, it was found that 19.5% of students rated their experiences with letting agents/landlords poor, with 27.6% rating it average.
  • That  while just over 50% of students rated their experiences with letting agents and landlords better than average through the “Vent About Your Rent” survey, almost half of the student population are unsatisfied.
  • That external letting agency representatives have been found on halls sites and the outskirts of campus handing out flyers to students advertising their businesses and that halls mailboxes and floors are frequently crammed with letting agent flyers as early as November.
  • That  halls sites are University of Southampton property, and any external company who appears there without invitation is trespassing and thus breaking the law.
  • That  no external letting agency truly puts students’ welfare and rights at the      heart of their work: they are focused primarily on profit.
  • That pressuring students into signing for property early by fabricating a lack of housing is not always synonymous with making the right, most informed  choice.
  • That  letting agencies using student staff on their behalf is problematic as students are more likely to listen and take note of people they consider to be their peers.
  • That  the only way to create genuine culture change is to not only implement harsher regulations on agencies, but to also start positive and productive  dialogues between them and SUSU.
  • To challenge the exploitative behaviours of external letting agencies.
  • To work closely with the relevant university teams to ensure that letting      agencies are aware that their practises on halls sites are illegal and  will be challenged.
  • To  create a dialogue between SUSU, the university, external letting agencies and any other relevant stakeholder to achieve a change in culture.
  • To  ensure students are aware of the aggressive nature of external letting agencies and feel confident to make well-researched decisions free from  pressure.
  • [VP Welfare and Communities (VP Welfare as of July 2013/14)]
  • To  lobby the university to enforce tighter security on campus and halls to  stop external letting agents from infiltrating those spaces. 
  • To  lobby the university to work with SUSU to create a response to letting agencies who are found to have been on halls sites, asking them to cease  and desist with an explanation as to why.
  • To  negotiate with Student Services, requesting that they embed housing rights      and a warning about external letting agencies as a small section of their  welcome talk to first year students.
  • To create positive dialogue with the agencies who choose to aggressively  advertise this way, explaining why SUSU and the university don’t allow this, and suggest other possible sources of advertising to students as  long as their company has received an average satisfaction rate of 6 or  above on the “Vent About Your Rent” annual survey.
  • To advertise SUSU job opportunities to any students whose work will be affected by this policy. This dialogue will be broached through social  media, face to face or through any other relevant channel.