Shields Student Homes Suspended from the Unipol Code

01/03/2017

The Chair of the Code Tribunal has suspended Shields Student Homes from membership of the Unipol Code on 19th January and they are no longer an accredited supplier.

The decision to suspend membership has been taken because:

  • six students have not received their deposits back at the end of their tenancies
  • the students report that these deposits were not protected under one of the recognised Deposit Protection Schemes

Unipol contacted Mr Mohammed Shafiq to respond to these issues at the end of November 2016 and despite a seven day warning issued on 9th January 2017, nothing has been heard.

The suspension is therefore taking place because Shields Student Homes are in breach of Clause 7.00 “Deposits are administered efficiently and reasonably by the owner or nominee and are not withheld for any purpose other than for which they were levied” and Clause 7.01 “where a landlord/agent has established an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, they must ensure that any deposit is held in accordance with the tenancy deposit scheme legislation, set out in the Housing Act 2004, and in accordance with regulations made both under the Act and by the relevant scheme operator.

Some deposits were protected and those students have now had their money back from the relevant deposit protection scheme or from the owner of the property.

In addition to the students who had originally contacted Unipol on 19th January, Unipol asked any other affected students to contact us and a further 9 students did. Unipol is currently supporting 6 students in taking legal action against Shields Student Homes to seek recompense where Shields seem to have failed to fulfil their legal obligations in respect of deposit protection. In some of these cases studnets are representatives of their households so another 8 students are involved in loss. As legal action is about to commence no further cases can be added to this from 1st March 2017.

Unipol will report on the outcome of any legal action here, and after that, if students wish, there will be a Full Tribunal hearing.

Unipol also circulated to landlords to see whether they had also suffered from defaults and 9 landlords have contacted us. Unipol have been informed that there are 8 small claims court orders against Shields amounting to £24,000.

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.