Landlords – Does your accommodation pass the TikTok test?
Social media channels come and go like fashion trends, but there is no denying TikTok has captured the imagination of young people over last 12-18 months. The usage is massive and many of the TPAS Cymru team have joined me in becoming TikTok addicts.
With regard to tenants, renting and engagement, I’ve noticed 3 exciting, compelling themes emerging from predominantly younger people who are private renting.
Theme 1 – The ridiculous?
Everyone has their own, or has heard horror stories about student housing. One trend that is becoming increasingly popular on TikTok is: ‘Things in my student house that just makes sense’ themed videos where the tenants sarcastically proceed to point the shoddy property conditions including broken furniture, damp, fleas, and the tiny, rusting fridge for 8 people.
In the comments, the students often admit inadequate/inexperienced viewing or express frustration at landlord’s broken promises assuring them that it would be sorted.
We at TPAS Cymru believe we need to arm young people with the tools to do viewings better, and how to make landlords deliver on their promises. For young people moving into student housing, it is the first time they have moved into their own rented property, so they can often be completely unaware of what they should be keeping their eyes out for at viewings.
Theme 2 – The questionable value?
The price of student housing is a debatable subject, the question of is my £200 per week accommodation worth it? Is one that is often discussed. You know the story here, students paying massive amounts of rent, to live in new high-rise blocks of long corridors with en-suite bedrooms with a communal kitchen and sometimes a lounge area somewhere, if they’re lucky. Cardiff and Swansea have lots of these private developments which, in recent years seem popular. However, the high fees look less attractive now with lockdowns, remote lectures, limited facilities and wandering around vast empty buildings. Students are often locked into binding 12month contracts that they can’t get out of as they feel safer going back home. TPAS Cymru has been following this issue with interest.
Theme 3 – The battle?
For these students, even getting a response from their landlord or housing company can cause weeks of stress, never mind having the problem sorted. TikTok shows young people documenting these battles with landlords on repairs, damages and just attempting to have their deposit returned.
I have watched the trials and tribulations of many (admittedly TikTok’s algorithm might be showing me more than other people). As I follow their epic battles against the system, what I like is the comments sections offer some decent advice and support from people who often do know their tenant rights. I also like that most times, the tenant does eventually win. This advice can be crucial for these young first-time renters, as they can be completely unaware of what they are entitled to.
If you want to get an idea of the frustration and slow workings of tenancy deposit schemes, follow @max_balegde who at the time of writing is now up to ‘Part 15 of Max V’s Landlord’ over an alleged stain on his mattress that has been going on for months.
We know that social media can sometimes be a dark and cruel place. However, on this occasion, it really is good to see that young people are using this social media platform to challenge the treatment they receive from both their landlord and housing company, but also to get advice and support from others who have experienced similar issues to them. Spotlighting the way young people are sometimes taken advantage of by those renting a house to them may be one way to ensure that it stops or happens far less than it does now.