It’s being claimed that landlords in Lincoln who fail to pull down ‘to let’ signs, after the property has been rented out, are putting the safety and security of students at risk.
The University of Lincoln Students’ Union has said that the signs make student houses a target for thieves – who know that the properties are often left empty outside of term time.
Letting companies have said that the signs should be taken down once the property has been rented out, but many students say that the signs are left up all year round.
The SU Vice President of Welfare and Community, Connor Delany, said that he has been the victim of two thefts:
“I went into my bedroom as a thief came through the back door to take a lot of our stuff, including a bike. After being interrupted, he then assaulted two of my housemates, it was all quite serious.
“The thief was so brazen because he knew it was a student property, and that the back door would probably be left unlocked. So, he gave it a try, and he had been quite successful up until that point,” he said.
The City of Lincoln Council acknowledged that ‘to let’ signs point students out as a target for thieves, and they also believe that they are an eyesore for other local residents.
The council took a survey of the boards in major student areas and found that in some streets, a quarter of the properties were displaying ‘to let’ boards.
Connor Dyer is looking to get a complete ban on ‘to let’ boards from being displayed all year round.
“If the property has an advertising board outside, it is a big target on the backs of students. I believe the boards tell thieves that the owner is a student, and that they will probably leave the door unlocked.
“It also tells thieves that the tenants are not going to be in the house during the holidays.”
The Linc contacted one of the major student letting agencies for a response, but they were unavailable for an interview.
Instead, Charlestown Properties told us that their ‘to let’ boards will always go up to advertise their available houses and they insisted that they remove the boards when they have been rented out.
The City of Lincoln Council held a public consultation last month into whether the ‘to let’ boards should be restricted in size, style and whether they should be removed after three months.
The council are also considering a complete ban on letting boards without their express consent, and any boards that are displayed without permission could lead to prosecution and fines for estate agents.