What to do when things go wrong!

A lot of students will find that they can get all the way through uni without having significant landlord/property problems, but from time to time, things can go wrong. If not dealt with properly, this can result in disputes between landlord and tenants. Here’s what you should do if you’re having difficulty with a property or landlord:

  1. Try to resolve with the landlord – put the request/issue in writing.To avoid unnecessary escalation, be civil but firm in what you’re asking. Make sure you get timescales and what the next steps are from the landlord. There are suggested timescales specified in Sheffield City Council’s Snug management standards which you can download from this website. Keep a copy of all correspondence for your records along with any accompanying evidence (such as photos). This will help if you need to escalate to a complaint in future.

  1. If the problems aren’t resolved, speak to Smart Move Sheffield about the issues – if property is registered, we can give advice. If it isn’t, you will be sent to Student Advice Centre who will advise further.

  1. If complaint cannot be resolved by getting basic advice from Smart Move Sheffield and/or requesting resolution by landlord in writing, Smart Move Sheffield can escalate and speak to landlord about the issues. The following will need to be put in writing to smartmove@sheffield.ac.uk:

  • An overview of what the problems are/were, including which issues have been resolved and which are outstanding. Also include what the last contact with the landlord was or how it was “left” with them or you.

  • Evidence (copies of emails, photographs, texts etc) – and the more you have, the better.

  • A copy of the tenancy agreement between you and the landlord

  • Written consent to discuss the issues with the landlord (this is really important – without this, we cannot proceed with a complaint).

  1. Once we’ve got all of the information we need, we can contact the landlord about the situation. We may call, email or invite them in for a meeting, depending on the severity of the complaints made. We prefer to take an approach of educating the landlords to allow them to make good the issues and not repeat the same actions. Sometimes, we will ask the landlord to undertake training, we may ask for evidence of work being done, or we may require them to provide us with copies of their policies and procedures (making amendments where we are unhappy with anything). This will usually result in a positive outcome for both landlord and tenants.

  1. If the landlord is obstructive or uncooperative in resolving the complaint, we have the right to deregister their properties from our scheme. As all properties registered with us are part of Sheffield City Council’s Snug team, we will also inform them in case they need to take action.

IMPORTANT > Smart Move Sheffield are unable to enforce any statutory action but Sheffield City Council can do this, if necessary. You can find more information including the Council’s Intervention and Enforcement Policy here.

N.B. To escalate a complaint relating to a deposit deduction or refund, you will need to raise this with the deposit scheme that your deposit was protected with. Please click here for more information about deposits. If your deposit is not protected, please contact us or the Student Advice Centre.