I’m calling for a university wide boycott of Digs letting agency

Enough is enough

Student letting agencies have never had a good reputation. They’re often unhelpful and charge as much money as they can whenever they can.

Despite this negative image there has always been one Bristolian agency that shines through in its ability to be absolutely awful – Digs.

Their ability to disappoint and anger has been widely reported in student media over the years. A few days ago, Bristol Cut The Rent led a student march to the Digs office on the triangle to protest their “unaffordable, poor quality housing” and basic disregard for ethics.

In true Digs style, the managers saw fit to close the office by 12 on a week day so there was nobody for the protestors to talk to.

Widely reviled by the student community, Digs are infamous for being an agency that will try to get as much money out of you as possible while being the lowest quality agents.

They fine extortionate amounts for the smallest markings on the wall, are useless when asked to repair things, and treat students like dirt.

Although this reputation exists, countless freshers still fall into the Digs trap year on year. Unaware of the extent to which the agency can be a problem, first years sign the contracts and some of them proceed to live in mould covered rooms with broken appliances.

Digs will carry on providing unethical accommodation and taking money unless we do something.

Thus, at a time when most people will be looking for next year’s accommodation, I am calling for a university wide boycott of their services.

I implore you all to rent out accommodation with other agencies. Tell your friends, tell your course mates, tell the people in your halls. Share this article on social media and maybe we will create enough of a wave to make Digs change their ways.

We asked for personal horror stories from people who have had to deal with Digs and were blown away by the amount of people who wanted to talk of their dismal Digs experiences.

The list below was compiled from messages we received in just a few days.

The List

Jackie Bailey: “We were fined £250 for scuff marks and blue tack, and a further £59.40 for rubbish removal! I found the people we dealt with in Digs rude, condescending and completely unwilling to listen.”

Digs charged Jackie almost £60 just to take out the rubbish.

Tabby: “Dealing with digs is horrendous.  They don’t reply to emails, they ignore you and if you go into the office, no one responsible can deal with issues. It seems like they treat students like dirt because they can.”

Chloe Cole: “We had an awful plumbing situation where sewage and vegetables would come up in the sink and the shower. Each time, Digs would only send a plumber over after repeated emails and phone calls and even then the plumber would have no idea what his job was. The level of effort that Digs put into maintaining the property was atrocious, and the lack of communication even more so.”

Sewage that came up in Chloe’s sink and shower

Izzy Morris: “Our house was fined £1200 for a ‘professional clean’ and £50 for rubbish not being taken down.” (The amount that a group is expected to pay for a professional clean is based on the size of the flat.)

Lizzee: “We had Digs cleaners come at 11pm at night with absolutely no warning. We thought we were getting broken into so we rang the police. When we tried to speak to the cleaners, they were very aggressive and rude and wouldn’t leave.”

Lizee was terrified that complete strangers had entered their house without warning

Saffron Roberts-Carey (ex Digs employee): “I worked a temporary job for digs when I was a student and was absolutely horrified with how they dealt with students. Certain staff spoke to students as if they were idiots, especially if people were calling up to complain about the condition of their accommodation.”

Emily: “We had a mould problem for most of the year. Their only solution was to tell us to ‘open the windows’. When they did finally try to deal with it, it was when viewings were starting for next years tenants. Even worse, instead of cleaning it they painted over it so nobody would see it which did nothing to prevent the mould from releasing harmful fungal spores.”

Emily’s email to Digs about the mould

Mould that had been painted over instead of dealt with

Aaron Chapman: “The flat was absolutely filthy when we moved in, I don’t know how they expected us to live in it.”

Aaron’s Digs accommodation after it had been ‘professionally cleaned’ before they moved in

Oscar Mild: “We cleaned the flat for a whole day when we left at the end of the year. A few days later we were charged £1500 for a ‘filthy flat’. When asked for evidence Digs sent us these two photos.”

You can read the response from Digs here.