University accommodation complaints double

Photo credit: Philippa Grafton

Photo credit: Philippa Grafton

The number of complaints about the University’s rented accommodation have more than doubled in the past year. Halifax appears to have suffered significant problems, with half of the complaints last year coming from this college.

While the numbers of 34 complaints in 2011/2012 and 15 in 2010/2011 may seem small overall, any complaint that is made several times is only counted once, such as if five people from one house reported a similar complaint.

Halifax college suffered from only two complaints in 2010/11, compared to the 17 received in 2011/2012.

The information obtained by a Freedom of Information request has raised concerns over students accommodation, especially given students are now paying the top £9,000 to attend York this year.

Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, said the University should be providing it “faultlessly” and that “cute marketing lines aren’t enough”.

No information was held on complaints before 2010, when an online form was introduced. Since the system was introduced complaints have risen in several colleges but decreased in others.

In Derwent complaints increased from two to six, whilst in Alcuin they also went up from two to four. James College saw complaints go from none to one.

In Langwith and Wentworth complaints fell from two to one. The problems ranged from common issues such as heating and plumbing, to showers being broken, bed bugs, leaking ceilings and cleaners throwing out belongings.

Taylor continued to say that students should be provided with decent accommodation considering the amount they pay in rent: “It goes without saying that the very base level of expectation for students paying their rent should be that their rooms are hygienic, their property respected and that the heat and water their rent covers is provided faultlessly.”

Taylor also said accommodation needs to be up to scratch if second and third years are going to choose to live on campus, “If the university wants more second and third years choosing to live on campus then their experience in first year’s going to be pivotal in that – cute marketing lines aren’t enough.”

A University spokesperson commented on the rise in complaints saying they were always going to be problems with the large amount of accommodation the University rents.

Furthermore, many of the problems were due to refurbished rooms. “The University has more than 5,000 bedspaces and the number of complaints is relatively low. There was a marginal increase in 2011/12 due to the major refurbishment of over 800 bedspaces in the summer 2011. A project of this magnitude inevitably results in a number of ‘snagging issues’ all of which were rectified, with compensation paid where appropriate.”

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