The St Andrews Students’ Association has partnered with Marks Out of Tenancy in an effort to create a platform for students to share their experiences living in private accommodation and make the living conditions of private properties more transparent.
The Students’ Association described said that the arrangement of the partnership was driven by the motivation of “wanting to better prepare students for living in the private sector.”
Marks Out of Tenancy is a service which allows tenants to rate their landlord, letting agent, rental property, and neighbourhood, along with providing legal guides for tenants and landlords and data on cities and neighbourhoods.
The reviews by tenants range from the rental experience through their landlord and letting agent to the quality of their area and the property itself.
Ben Yarrow, founder of Marks Out Of Tenancy, commented, “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. 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.”
By providing such information, Marks Out of Tenancy aims to allow tenants to make an informed decision about what letting agent they choose, in which area they decide to live, and what they should expect from their new home and neighbourhood.
The Students’ Association works to protect and inform students of the renting process with How to Rent guides for all students and informative talks in halls of accommodation, especially since most first-year students navigate private renting for the first time in St Andrews, the Students’ Association noted.
Paloma Paige, President of the Students’ Association, stated, “From the ‘Rent 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.”
The Students’ Association further encouraged all students to share their renting story with Marks Out of Tenancy in order to educate and protect the rest of the student body in the renting process.
On behalf of Rector Srdja Popovic and the Rector’s Committee, Rector’s Assessor Camilla Duke shared her support of the new partnership with Marks Out of Tenancy.
She said to The Saint, “We’re delighted that the Students’ Association has succeeded in bringing Marks Out Of Tenancy to St Andrews! From the very beginning of last year’s rectorial campaign, we’ve been calling for a better, more transparent way for students to rate their landlords and hold them accountable. Marks Out Of Tenancy provides a great platform for a two-way rating system that will hopefully improve the situation of private accommodation in St Andrews.”
Additionally, Lucy Allatt, SRC Accommodation Officer, said to The Saint, “This is a valuable step in permitting students to highlight the best and worst of student property in St Andrews. Allowing each individual student to have their voice heard, along with helping build a resource for future students looking for properties to rent in St Andrews.
“The more knowledge there is about student property within the town, the more action can be taken for improvements.”
The Students’ Association is currently in the midst of Accommodation Week, lasting from Monday 5 November to Sunday 11 November. The week includes visits to student halls of accommodation about the renting process, the publication of the How to Rent Guide 2018, and a Student Accommodation Fayre with private letting agents in St Andrews.