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Collapsed ceilings and rats in Warwick Accommodation houses

Five ceilings collapsed in Warwick Accommodation – managed properties in term 1 of this academic year, according to statistics obtained through a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Boar.

The statistics revealed that between 1 September and 31 December 2015, five ceilings collapsed in off-campus properties which are managed by Warwick Accommodation.

In addition, one property which is managed by the University experienced two ceiling collapses in 2014.

Students have a difficult enough time with external landlords so it is of paramount importance that Warwick Accommodation-controlled housing is of sufficient quality.

Isaac Leigh, SU President

The property, which is located on Abbey Hill in Kenilworth, had two ceilings collapse within the space of 3 months in the first term of the last academic year.

According to the data provided by the University, one collapse occurred in August 2014 and further ceiling collapse happened in October 2014.

Both of these collapses were caused by water leaks from the bathroom on the first floor of the property.

Infographic: Lily Pickard

Unfortunately, the University was unable to provide further data on the previous academic year as the off campus accommodation fault reporting system was offline for the entire year.

Alongside the recorded ceiling collapses, Warwick Accommodation also revealed that they received 1,300 reports of faults in the properties that they managed during term 1 of the current academic year.

This figure includes 7 reports of vermin, including rats. There were also 190 reports of water leaks from showers, boilers and guttering.

rats in Warwick student housing, rats leamington, rats student homes

According to a spokesperson from the University, Warwick Accommodation manages 470 properties across Leamington, Coventry and Kenilworth. This means that over 1% of properties experienced a ceiling collapse in term 1.

Meanwhile, on average, each property managed by the University experienced over 2 faults during the course of a single term.

However, Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at the University, highlighted that Warwick Accommodation was beneficial for students. He said that if something goes wrong, “you have Warwick Accommodation to fix those flaws, or to bring significant pressure on the landlord to get things fixed.”

He added: “If you are a home owner, or renting direct from a private landlord, you have no such help to call on.”

Isaac Leigh, president of Warwick SU told the Boar that he was concerned about the property damages: “We’re very worried to hear about these incidents. Students have a difficult enough time with external landlords so it is of paramount importance that Warwick Accommodation-controlled housing is of sufficient quality.”

Joe Blackburn, fourth-year European law student, was concerned about student safety on hearing these figures. He commented: “I’ve heard a lot of horror stories regarding accommodation. Considering how much you pay for accommodation, Warwick Accommodation is meant to be looking out for us.

Student safety is the main priority so there is an obvious concern that there could be problems that put you in danger. If you know you are in danger it definitely affects motivation for studies too.

Millman Tso, first-year Law student

“Clearly [properties] aren’t being checked properly and student safety isn’t a priority. The absolute minimum is probably being spent.”

Millman Tso, a first-year Law student, was also concerned with the findings. He commented: “Student safety is the main priority so there is an obvious concern that there could be problems that put you in danger. If you know you are in danger it definitely affects motivation for studies too.”

However, Owen a third-year Physics student, said that he had lived in Warwick Accommodation managed properties for two years and had experienced no problems. He added: “We got lucky, we never had any problems to deal with.”

Isaac Leigh reminded students: “If you have any concerns about the safety of your property, contact Warwick Accommodation immediately, and the SU Advice Centre will be able to advise on your rights as tenants.”

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