The Chair of the Code Tribunal suspended Shields Student Homes from membership of the Unipol Code on 19th January and they are not an accredited supplier.
The decision to suspend membership has been taken because, at the time, six students complained to Unipol that they had not received their deposits back at the end of their tenancies and some of these students reported that their deposits were not protected under one of the recognised Deposit Protection Schemes. The suspension was because the Chair believed that Shields Student Homes were in breach of Clause 7.00 and 7.01.
Unipol contacted Mr Mohammed Shafiq, of Shields Student Homes, to respond to these issues at the end of November 2016 and despite a seven day warning issued on 9th January 2017, nothing further has been heard from him.
Unipol will report on the outcome of any legal action here, and after that, if student complainants wish, there will be a Full Tribunal hearing.
Action Since the Suspension
Some deposits were protected and those students have now had their money, or will receive their money, back from the relevant deposit protection scheme.
In addition to the students who had originally contacted Unipol on 19th January, Unipol asked any other affected students to make contact and a further 9 students did.
Unipol also circulated landlords to see whether they were owed money if they had their properties managed by Shields and 9 landlords confirmed that they were owed money and Unipol has been informed that there are 8 small claims court orders against Shields amounting to £24,000.
Unipol supported 4 cases (affecting 15 students) in taking legal action against Shields Student Homes or their landlords to seek recompense where there seemed to have been a failure to fulfil legal obligations in respect of deposit protection using Hatch Legal (Solicitors).
Hatch Legal has agreed to a settlement in respect of 5 students and a landlord has agreed to repay the outstanding deposits of £1,500 together with £600 in compensation and will meet £500 +VAT of legal costs.
If students or landlords have any questions relating to this they can email Unipol on SDavies@unipol.org.uk or use the Web Chat facility.