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25 June 2014

Victory! York socialists win university letting agency

Megan Ollerhead

York Student Socialist Society recently won a major victory. Our proposal for the student union at York university to open its own letting agency will become reality from August. This is after eighteen months of hard campaigning and organisation, including winning an official union referendum on the issue.

Students face huge problems in getting safe, affordable housing and rents in York are well above national average. The letting agency, as the Socialist Society has demanded, will not be run for a profit. All surplus money will go straight back into the union, with some donated to the university's hardship fund for students struggling with their rent.

Unlike its other major competitors, there will be no hidden or admin fees, which often cost students up to 60 a time. All deposits will be capped at 200, regardless of rent charges, and all legal documents (contracts, inventories, etc.) will be uploaded onto the letting agency website for prospective tenants to read before they consider a property. It will even be cheaper for landlords, offering better rates than almost all other competitors as an incentive to get the area's best landlords to join.

The student letting agency will be the only agency with a mandatory accreditation scheme on the quality of its properties, and will only consider properties approved by standards set by York city council.

These features, all demanded by the Socialist Society, will make this letting agency a real solution to the problem of exorbitant rents and frankly dangerously low-quality housing for students in the city. It shows what a dedicated team of socialist activists with strong ideas and a programme based on the real needs of young people can achieve. This is a victory won by students for students!

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