“Revenge eviction” fear for students in rented accommodation with fire safety fears

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The risks of fire are seven times higher in rented and shared housing – and students are being encouraged to take advantage of a free property safety check after research

revealed many renters fear so-called “revenge evictions” for reporting fire safety faults to their landlord.

More than 1 in 10 (12%) renters would also not bother to report a fire-safety issue because they believe their landlord would be unlikely to fix it.

Over one in ten student tenants fear raising safety concerns with landlord could lead to eviction

Research commissioned for Fire Door Safety Week also showed that 13% of tenants in rented homes fear that raising fire safety concerns with their landlord could lead to a so-called “revenge eviction”

10% of those surveyed said have seen a fire door propped open in their accommodation – with almost a third believing incorrectly that this is safe.

Very Wise Student founder Ajay Jagota responded to the figures. The student renting support service offers student rents a free property safety check, alongside a free legal advice help line offering advice on:

  • Disrepair issues in their flat or house
  • Boiler problems
  • Tenancy agreement disputes
  • Damp in their flat or house
  • Deposit issues
  • Rodent and pest infestations
  • Revenge issues
  • Rent rises
  • Landlord visits

The service also offers tax advice, including student loans, part time work and Council Tax.

All calls are handled by qualified solicitors with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience

A free and confidential counselling helpline also offers students support with academic pressures, personal problems and money worries.

Ajay said:

“This is just the latest example of unscrupulous and uncaring landlords and letting agents taking a casual approach to renter safety – and renters not having the knowledge or resources to uphold their rights.

Fire safety is a non-negotiable – get a free student accommodation safety check

“Fire safety is quite obviously a non-negotiable, and one of Very Wise’s many free services for students is a free student accommodation safety check – helping student renters protect their rights, but more importantly keeping them safe.

“It’s not unsurprising too to hear that so many renters aren’t even bothering to report maintenance issues to their landlords and letting agents as they assuming nothing will be done. But most repairs are not optional – and if they can’t get then carried out alone, we’re here to help”.

Property owners are required by legislation (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) to ensure that their premises reach required standards of fire safety.

Fire doors – which are designed to automatically close to prevent the spread of toxic smoke and flames in the event of fire are a legal requirement for flats which open into communal areas.

Under the legislation Houses of Multiple Occupation – typically student homes – with shared communal areas must have a fire risk assessment every six months

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 also require all properties in the private rented sector to have a smoke detector on each storey with a room used as living accommodation. All smoke alarms must be in working order at the start of the tenancy and  landlords are responsible for the repair and replacement of alarms – although renters are responsible for informing the landlord of faults.

Electrical safety inspections are also mandatory for all rented properties.

Notes to editors

According to Firemark, the risks of experiencing a fire are seven times higher for people who live in rented or shared accommodation, such as student accommodation

Very Wise Student has been launched by online claims management firm Veriwise, in partnership with legal expense provider ARAG.

More information is available at Verywisestudent.io

Operating in the UK since 2006, ARAG plc provides a comprehensive suite of ‘before-the-event’ and ‘after-the-event’ legal expenses insurance products and assistance solutions to protect both businesses and individuals.

ARAG plc is part of the global ARAG Group, the largest family-owned enterprise in the German insurance industry. Founded in 1935, on the principle that every citizen should be able to assert their legal rights, ARAG now employs more than 4,700 people in 19 countries around the world and generates revenue and premium income totaling more than €2 billion.

Very Wise Student sister company Veriwise can take on housing disrepair claims, deposit disputes and illegal eviction claims on behalf of students should there be any issues.

Student renters can claim compensation from landlords or agents if there is a valid claim which is presented to legal counsel who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.

Veriwise and ARAG is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.