St Andrews University Students’ Association has launched a bid to improve the private renting experience in the town.
With many students approaching the private renting sector for the first time during their first year in St Andrews, the Association is taking action to address the perception it is too easy for poor housing conditions and a lack of communication – particularly when it comes to HMOs – to go unchallenged.
To better prepare students for living in the private sector, the Association has now partnered with property review and rating site Marks Out Of Tenancy to provide a platform where students can share their experiences and improve transparency around the whole process.
Marks Out Of Tenancy enables tenants to share reviews encompassing their entire rental experience, from dealing with landlords and letting agents to the quality of the area and their feelings on the properties themselves.
This allows tenants to make more informed decisions about who they want to rent from, where they want to live, and what to expect from an area before they sign their tenancy agreement.
Paloma Paige, president of St Andrews Students’ Association, explained: “From the “Rate Your Landlord” survey we ran in 2017, we saw that our students had a real appetite to provide constructive feedback regarding their experiences as tenants.
“We recognised that by making such information available, students could help their peers navigate the local housing market.
“Marks Out of Tenancy provides them the platform to do just that.
“I look forward to seeing our students utilise what is a valuable resource and tool for them, to better the student experience in private accommodation.”
St Andrews already has more reviews on the site than in any other town or city in Scotland.
Ben Yarrow, founder of Marks Out Of Tenancy, believes students will be empowered to make better decisions, whilst good landlords and letting agents will be rewarded for the service they provide, standing out amongst those who might seek to exploit a market of mainly first-time renters.
“Balance and fairness is key to the Marks Out Of Tenancy platform, with landlords and letting agents enabled and encouraged to reply to reviews and open a meaningful dialogue with current and potential tenants,” he said.
“We want to improve the experience of all parties involved with the rental process.
“This is not about naming and shaming, but providing a platform for real engagement.”