Student house of horrors: fresh hell in Hull

PUBLISHED 03-September-2020 · UPDATED 23-November-2020

In continuation of our series, this one throws us deeper into another student renting horror. Today, we hear from Jasmine at University of Hull, who lived in a private rented accommodation owned and managed by a company that we’ll randomly nickname UniSham.

The allure of renting through a well-known company like UniSham, is that they have many students under their belt to look after and so you expect that they’re pretty competent when it comes to handling property concerns. Given this company has been around for over 25 years, you’d hope that they’ve had plenty of experience. However, as you’ll see this wasn’t necessarily the case.

We all understand that things break and wear down; no one I know would disagree. It’s how the property management team handles the issues that’s so important. In Jasmine’s house, there were issues that simply couldn’t be struck off as a minor worry. Essential safety features like fire alarms were broken and heating systems volatile at best. Even when the hot water ceased to operate, the tenants of this house were ignored for days by UniSham. Chasing down replies to emails and calls became an ongoing issue with this rental, even resulting in the students going into the office to escalate the issues.

Top tip! If you’re considering renting a property but the letting agent takes a while to get back to you, it’s likely the problem will only worsen during your rental period.

You might be thinking that all these concerns are fairly mediocre for a student rental (which is a massive concern within itself). Don’t fear, it gets worse.

UniSham failed to let Jasmine and her housemates know that significant building works were to start on the pavement outside their front door during their time at the house. Consequently, the tenants opened the door one day to find a team pulling up the slabs and gating off their only route onto the road. Whilst these workers were usually able to let them through, on many occasions it could take up to a few hours to cease what they’d been doing. A few missed seminars, lectures, social gatherings and study sessions later, it’s no surprise that the tenants were furious with the letting agents.

‘Every time we wanted to leave the house, we had to ask the workmen to let us out… sometimes arriving late or even missing lectures at uni due to not being able to get out of the house!’

After tolerating more than many of us would’ve, Jasmine and her housemates decided enough was enough. Thankfully, they were fairly clued up about their tenant’s rights and, on more than one occasion, marched down to the UniSham building and demanded change. For the most part, this confrontational approach seemed to do the trick… for a while.

There can’t be more to this tale… or tail? The tenants of this property spent their whole rental period locked in a war against an onslaught of rodents who’d taken up positions in the takeaways next door. Much like the last installment of this series, property management wouldn’t act on anything until they’d been hammered with emails and calls and only after the council had been contacted. Nothing gets you focused on studies like the thought of a pizza-fuelled rat army in your house.

‘The rat problem took a lot of convincing for them [the letting agent] to come out and look at the problem… we ended up buying our own poison and contacted the council to come and look at it because we are adjoined to takeaways’.

We can’t stress this enough; it’s not good enough that ongoing problems like this are happening to students throughout the UK. If you haven’t already, check out our article entitled The Tenant Fees Act that students need to be aware of when renting privately.

What’s more, UniSham has a whopping 1-star rating on Google. Given what we heard from Jasmine we’re only surprised it’s not lower. 

If you were about to rent this house – wouldn’t you want to know exactly what’s happened here? Unilet Advisor will allow Jasmine and her housemates to review that specific property from the 5th August onwards. Meaning that, if you’re the unfortunate soul considering renting this property, a quick address search on our website will give you all you need to know to make the right renting decision.

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