Moving out of campus accommodation involves much more than a change of location. Living without parental guidance beyond the cosy student milieu of campus life is scary: it is one of the first real experiences students will encounter within the big bad world of bills and domestic chores.
And it comes as a shock. Most second-year students will never have had to incorporate the mundane logistics of running a household with the pressures of an undergraduate degree and a social life.
We don’t expect the University and its campus letting agencies to jump forth and offer us an avuncular hand to gently lead us through such times; but student letting agencies have a responsibility to ensure that student welfare is paramount. Students have become too much of an easy target in the manipulative fiscal game which the housing sector freely embroils itself in.
Bitter disputes within what was the notorious letting agent YRLA are not only petty and unprofessional, but completely irresponsible. The five partners’ cattiness has amplified what should have been a personal situation into an unnecessary worry for students.
MacMahon has completely overlooked the necessity to reassure students about the status of his company’s housing contracts, and instead focused on how “sad” and “disappointed” his was by Bennett’s actions. Since when did individual disagreements amongst professionals become more important than the needs and expectations of hundreds of naive and clueless students?
“Students have become too much of an easy target in the manipulative fiscal game which the housing sector freely embroils itself in”
MacMahon’s response to questions over the legality of his actions exemplify his utter insensitivity even further.
By suggesting that students may “try to be clever” and evade paying rent when he has made the chronic error of failing to misinform students about who they should be paying rent to, demonstrates his inability to sympathise and work with the student population he is intending to serve.
After Nouse unveiled reports last year about the failure of Sinclair properties to effectively serve its student customers, it seems that now is a prime time for the University to sit up and take full note of student welfare.
We don’t expect superb luxury and surrogate mummies and daddies to lead us through the process; but surely we deserve a decent quality of life and some genuine, impartial advice from letting agencies not so caught up in their own internal affairs and financially advantageous schemes?
Or a University which ensures that independent agents don’t “scaremonger” their students into unfair and unsure financial situations?
The respective 200 and 38 properties owned by MacMahon and Bennett apparently aim for “quality over quantity”, but YRLA’s reputation does nothing to make us trust in their integrity as landlords. 200 properties within the traditional student housing alcove of York certainly doesn’t signal quality over quantity to me.
Student letting agencies and the University alike need to put student priorities into perspective: enough of this childish infighting; more decent housing.