Brighton Solfed Housing Union: Deposit Theft

Deposits

In summary:

  • Your landlord must protect your deposit within 30 days of receiving it
  • They must provide you with a certificate for the protection of your deposit, as well as with information about the scheme they have protected it in
  • You have the right to edit the inventory for the property that you are provided with at the start of your tenancy
  • Deposit deductions can only be made to return the property to the condition it was in when you moved in

Brighton Solfed Housing Union: Agency Fees

Agency Fees

In summary:

  • If you are signing a tenancy agreement on or after June 1st 2019, nearly all agency fees are banned (see below for details)
  • If you signed a tenancy agreement before June 1st 2019, your agency can charge you the fees included in that agreement up to May 31st 2020
  • Agency fees should be included in advertisements of properties for rent
  • Charges for the inventory should be split equally between tenants and landlords

Does Brighton Council only care about PR?

UPDATE: since the publication of this article on the afternoon of Monday 10th July 2017, Larissa Reed, Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing at Brighton council has been in touch to arrange a meeting with Brighton SolFed and the Bobby Carver campaign within the next two weeks. We look forward to hearing how the issues raised below are going to be addressed, and about the changes the council is going to put in place to ensure 'the safest homes possible' for everyone...

 

Agency fuckups: sometimes it's enough just to ask

A prospective tenant contacted Brighton SolFed after she was poorly treated by an agency. The list of grievances will be sadly familiar to anyone who has or does rent in Brighton. For example, after the agency had received the £840 fee for the four tenants moving into the house, they: changed the length of the agreement from twelve to eleven months; gave the tenants misleading information about insurance and tried to pressure them into more expensive agreements; made absurd requests for the paperwork required by their guarantor; added additional fees for this paperwork; forced expensive insurance schemes on international tenants; went back on a promise to fix up the bathroom; were generally unresponsive and misleading when they could be contacted, and moved the moving in date back whilst still expecting the tenants to pay rent from the first date.

Tenant vs lettings agency: "We need to come together to improve conditions for everybody"

A lot of housing in the private rented sector is in an appalling state, and it's pretty hard for isolated tenants to get their landlord to make improvements. Here we publish the story of a tenant from a nearby town who contacted us during one of our Brighton housing disputes. It's a horror story in which the lettings agency forces the tenants to pay 6 months rent upfront, dismissing their complaints about unsafe living conditions with mental health slurs before dragging them to court for eviction. The account was written in the hope that it will encourage more tenants to come together to support one another, so we will no longer be isolated in the face of landlords who usually can count to have lettings agencies, lawyers, courts and often even councils on their side.