News | HOUSING CASE STUDY: We felt bullied by landlord

Leeds students have revealed how they felt “bullied” by their estate agents during their tenancy last year.

Students allege that the house, owned by Redbrick Properties, was in an “incredibly messy and dangerous” state when they arrived. The students say they were fined for late rent before the contract started and that the house suffered from dripping black mould in one bedroom. Overall, the students have told us that in their opinion, Redbrick were “highly unorganised, incompetent and aggressive”.

Redbrick Properties, who deal mainly in properties for professionals, strongly refute these claims. The company states that management software and deposit companies make it difficult for erroneous charges to be made and are able to provide cleaning reports from before and after the tenancy.

Tenants added that Redbrick refused to accept that they had paid rent, despite being shown a bank statement. In response to this, Redbrick said: “To not believe a tenant had paid rent even after being shown a bank statement would be a little naïve of the member of staff.”

Students were charged a cleaning bill when they left the property, though the students argued the house was not given to them in a clean condition.

In the P&C cleaning report made at the time it claimed this was because the house was “not up to standard” when it was vacated, listing “signs of mould” in the shower as one reason.

However, Redbrick admitted fault when one of the tenants complained about black mould in her bedroom. They owned that it was “an issue with
the roof” causing damp and hired a company to solve the problem as well as bringing in a roofing contractor.

The students admit they should have gone to the Student Advice Centre in Leeds University Union as soon as they realised something was wrong. One of the tenants said that the advisers “gave us useful advice about the legal implications of what had happened to us but Redbrick refused to co-operate, by which point it was too late to pursue further action.”

The Director of the company has assured that Redbrick and their staff “are always as transparent as [they] can be with our tenants to avoid issues such as this”. Although Redbrick Properties do not hold Unipol accreditation, they are members of the Property Ombudsman (an independent service
to resolve disputes) and the National Landlords Association.

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