Student protest to march on Digs letting agency tomorrow

It was bound to happen

Students from the University of Bristol Students’ Union (Bristol SU) will be protesting outside  the student lettings agency ‘Digs’ on the 17th of November.

The protest follows lettings agents’ recent refusal to sign up to an ethical lettings charter.  

Students from Bristol, Cut the Rent and Bristol SU have compiled a ‘love letter’ to Digs, full of housing horror stories from students and will present this to the agency in the form of a ‘serenade’ at 1pm on Thursday.

Stephen LeFanu, Student Living Officer at Bristol SU said:

“Unaffordable, poor quality housing is one of the biggest issues facing students across the country. Bristol is no different: students are expected to live in houses that are falling apart around them for prices that far exceed what can be covered by the standard maintenance loan.

Asking lettings agents to sign up to ACORN’s ethical lettings charter is just one of the ways that we are trying to improve living conditions for students. We have also been working with the University towards providing accommodation bursaries for the poorest students, and are committed to continuing to work hard on the issue of student housing.”

Stephen LeFanu

Although student group Bristol, Cut the Rent approached Digs over the summer asking them if they would consider signing up to the ethical lettings charter, Digs replied that they were ‘not interested’ and asked the students to remove the agency from their mailing list.

ACORN’s ethical lettings charter lays out Bronze, Silver and Gold commitments for landlords and letting agents on key issues of concern including quality, security of tenure and access & affordability.

To achieve Bronze, lettings agents must meet a small number of basic criteria, including complying with the legal requirements of a lettings agent and not letting properties that do not meet the recommendations of the Electrical Safety Council and Gas Safe Register.

First year students currently looking for a 2nd year house may want to take this information into account before choosing an agency or landlord to go  with.