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Manchester SF Support Brighton Tenants

Last weekend, Manchester and Liverpool Solidarity Federation organised pickets in support of  6 Brighton student tenants. The tenants have been organising with Brighton SolFed after being treated appallingly by the Brighton letting agency, Fox and Sons. Treatment which led to the 6 students being made temporarily homeless. 


Manchester SF picketed Gascoigne Halmon estate agents, while Liverpool picket Jones & Chapman, both are sister companies of Fox and sons. All three companies are owned by  Connells group,  one of the largest estate agency and property services providers in the UK, which last year made £104.2m in profits. In turn, the Connells group is owned by the ever so friendly - we do not have shareholders - Skipton Building Society.

Unsecure Lettings

Liverpool Solidarity Federation concluded its dispute with Secure Lettings. The dispute ended positively with the three tenants involved receiving the whole deposit back and a compensation due to the damp and mold issues during the tenancy.

Manchester Solidarity Federation Concluded Its Dispute With Fortis Student Lettings

Manchester Solidarity Federation concluded its dispute with Fortis Student Lettings in July. The dispute ended positively with the four tenants involved receiving a total of £832.00 in compensation. We have delayed issuing this statement until after confirmation of the compensation payments.

Before our involvement, the four tenants' complaints had been ignored; they found themselves being passed from pillar to post; their efforts to speak directly to Fortis managers were invariably met with claims that the person was not available; in some cases, these overseas students were met with what could most kindly be described as insulting claims by Fortis staff that they cannot could not understand them.

Brighton Housing Union: G4Lets rent strike

G4Lets anti-deposit theft rent strike

For the past year and a half, we have organised on a regular basis with tenants being messed around by the student lettings agency G4Lets. This has included tenants who have had significant sums of money stolen from their deposit by G4Lets, as well as tenants living in uninhabitable accommodation that G4Lets have neglected to repair.

Housing Union: Holding deposits

Holding deposits

In summary:

Holding deposits shouldn’t be described as ‘deposits’ if the agency considers the fee you are paying to be non-refundable

Brighton Solfed Housing Union: Harassment

Harassment

Harassment is illegal

If your landlord is harassing you, it’s potentially a criminal offence. Examples of harassment include:

Brighton Solfed Housing Union: rent increases

Increasing your rent

If your contract has a procedure for increasing rent then your landlord must follow it. In a fixed-term tenancy agreement (i.e. a six month or one year contract), your landlord can only put the rent up at the end of the fixed term, and you are allowed to try and negotiate the amount. You can reject the rent increase and your tenancy will continue at the original rent on a rolling, month-to-month contract, though this may mean that your landlord begins eviction proceedings against you.

Brighton Solfed Housing Union: Disrepair

Disrepair

In summary:

  • Your landlord is responsible for the structure and exterior of the house (including drains, gutters and external pipes)
  • Your landlord is responsible for the water, gas and electricity supply, as well as for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary facilities)
  • Your landlord is responsible for making sure that the heating and water supply are safe and working

Brighton Solfed Housing Union: Right to Rent

Right to Rent

In summary:

  • Hostels and refuges are exempt from right to rent checks
  • If your documents show that you are legally allowed to stay in the UK for a limited period of time, the landlord must allow the tenancy anyway even if the documents allow a stay in the UK that expires before the tenancy would end
  • Landlord’s may not do a follow up check if the documents you have shown do not indicate a legal time limit on your stay in the UK

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