Students looking for accommodation in York are being warned about a letting agency in the area, believed to be simply a renamed version of a company with a particularly bad reputation. Many, including Robert McMahon of Access Properties York, believe that the agency, now called ‘Student Housing Services’ is essentially the company that previously traded under the name ‘F.L.A.T.S.’, and which had a record of property neglect and financial mismanagement.
Student Housing Services has been targeting students in York through flyer advertisements posted in letterboxes, but the company is not on the list of University-approved private letting agencies, nor is it registered at Companies House. Amongst those students and landlords currently dealing with the agency, there have been stories of basic repairs and maintenance remaining uncompleted and rent paid out by students not being received by landlords. One student currently renting a property let by the company, stated:
“The whole experience has just been one of incompetence; we have had to constantly ring her regarding things being wrong. If I could give advice to anyone it would be to stay clear, get housing through the University and make sure you do your research.”
Furthering the suspicions about the company’s legitimacy is the lack of proper contact details. The inability of one student to contact the agency, over an emergency concerning the property, led them to ask Access Properties to contact the agency. Students in the area are now being warned both by Access Properties York and the University to utilise the latter’s service for checking contracts before signing a lease.