Fife Councillors recently voted- despite objective, third party evidence that the policy was not working– to maintain the HMO ban in St Andrews, and in doing so squandered an opportunity to make living in St Andrews much easier and more affordable. To quote Association President Lewis Wood: “(The HMO ban) is part of a vicious cycle that continues to push rents higher as more people arrive in town. Fewer beds on the market means more demand, which means higher rents, which means quicker flat take-up, which means less incentive for the landlords to treat you, or the property, with respect.”
We’ve asked students about their renting experiences, to show just how true this is.
Third year, Anonymous.*
“The day of getting the list from the letting agent was so stressful with so many students competing that we submitted our application without viewing the property like we were supposed to (you were supposed to just go and knock on the door but the tenants weren’t answering). When we then got offered the house we had to ask everyone we knew in St Andrews if they knew the people living there so we could look at it as we were too scared that if we told the letting agent we hadn’t viewed it they’d give it to someone else.”
Third year, Anonymous.*
“i was 1 day away from confirming to live in Fife Park then (my friend) found a single listing on an obscure html-only looking website, called the guy, he said he’d already told someone they could have the house and they’re signing the lease tomorrow. (My friend) continued the conversation, mentioned that we could sign the lease that night, he was like “yeah sure i wanna get it done asap”, so he told the other people they could no longer have it. Once we got the flat, we had a leaky toilet for five months, despite constant assurances that “it’ll be fixed next week” the landlord never got round to it.”
Second Year, Anonymous *
“Our flat had black mould in it for months before anything was done about it. My landlords also lied during an inspection by HMO inspectors, saying that the windows opened when in fact they were painted shut.”
*We were at first hesitant to publish so many anonymous accounts, but because the balance of power is tilted so heavily in favour of landlords and against students, many were nervous about going on the record openly. This is more evidence of the effect that the HMO ban has had on student renters. If you want to do something about this, got to NO to HMO ban on Facebook to find out more. You can also sign this petition if you want to help take action.