Digs bows to pressure and signs up to ethical standard’s charter

Progress at last

Representatives of Bristol, Cut the Rent (the Bristol student body of community union ACORN) and Bristol SU recently met with Steve Harris, the Managing Director of Digs.

This meeting was a chance for diplomatic discussion of Digs’ approach to student housing after student displeasure with the state of accommodation and cleaning fees reached breaking point this term.

Digs had previously refused to engage with students who wished to discuss accommodation matters and sign them up to an ethical lettings charter. They even closed their offices early on the day of a student led protest.

We followed this up with a call to boycott their services to reflect the continuing outrage at their activities.

Digs finally folded to the continued pressure throughout the term and agreed to meet with Bristol, Cut the Rent. As a result of this meeting they have agreed to sign up to the Bristol Ethical Standard charter.

The protest outside Digs last month

Bristol, Cut the Rent have since released this statement:

The meeting was to discuss with Mr. Harris the issues raised by our members and the wider Bristol student community, following our demonstration outside the offices of Digs. We also had a long discussion of measures he should take to resolve these issues.

Mr. Harris appeared to take onboard some of our concerns and was willing to comply with a number of our suggested actions for resolving the issues, including signing up to the new Bristol Ethical Standard which Bristol City Council are currently finalising. Although Bristol, Cut the Rent are reasonably satisfied with how the meeting went, we will be adopting an extremely cautious approach and will be meeting with Mr. Harris again to follow up on numerous issues. We would encourage tenants of Digs (and dissatisfied tenants with any agent or landlord) to please contact Bristol, Cut the Rent if they are experiencing any problems.

Mr. Harris also asked us to release the following statement on his behalf:

“Customer service and communication are important to Digs. Our customers include both landlords and tenants. We take the recent comments by representatives of ACORN seriously, as we would comments from any of our customers. We continue to review our customer service and as part of this, we plan to survey both landlords and tenants on a more regular basis. We are grateful for ACORN’s comments and suggestions.”