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Tuesday 24th
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

UCL students in ‘unbearable’ living conditions given back 20% of rent

STUDENTS refusing to pay their rents because of “unbearable” living conditions in halls of residence were awarded £75,000 in compensation yesterday.

It brings the total that University College London has paid out because of its shoddy accommodation to £500,000 since the start of 2015.

Over 1,000 students across London have been on rent strike for the last two months over exorbitant living costs and deteriorating living conditions.

UCL students in Campbell House West halls were given 20 per cent of their annual rent back after nearby university building works made living in the building “unacceptable.”

First year history student Lydia Hayman said: “Living at Campbell House this year has been almost unbearable with the incessant building noise from Wates House.

“It comes a great relief that UCL has finally capitulated to our demands and admitted that the standard of accommodation is simply unacceptable.”

Last year, UCL was forced to admit that the circumstances at the halls were indeed not appropriate for student living and reimbursed residents for £100,000.

UCL Cut the Rent, which has co-ordinated the London-wide rent strike, believed that “in reopening the hall of residence — the university has shown more evidence of an inherent disregard for the welfare and wellbeing of its students.”

Rent strikes over that period have also led to a reducing or freezing the cost of rent in over 1,200 rooms, as well as an overall 2.5 per cent rent cut.

Students at Goldsmiths University, the Courtauld Institute and Roehampton have also taken part in rent strikes recently in the hope of similar results.

Rents at UCL halls have increased by 56 per cent on average since 2009, with student groups estimating that the university is taking £16 million in profits.

A UCL spokeswoman told the Star the rebate was “not related to the UCL Cut the Rent campaign and does not vindicate its actions.

“The students routed their complaint through official channels and this was fully investigated and upheld by UCL.

“This decision by UCL acknowledges and validates the claim of Campbell House West residents and the rent strike has had no bearing on the outcome.”