INSECTS and rats have infested UCL students’ halls of residence sparking a new rent strike against the terrible conditions students are expected to live and study in.
Over 50 UCL students at Max Rayne and Ifor Evans halls are now withholding their rent in protest against the poor conditions, and many more are expected to join the strike. This is the third rent strike at UCL in the last three years. Previously, the strikers won victories worth £1.2 million, including cuts to their rent plus increases in bursaries to cover accommodation.
In Max Rayne and Ifor Evans halls, complaints from residents include ongoing rodent and insect infestations, several cases of flooding, and disruptions to hot water and WiFi – the latter resulting in at least one student being unable to submit an online examination and consequently failing.
Students report that issues in their accommodation have largely been disregarded or poorly managed by UCL. In protest, they will be withholding their third term rent.
First-year Max Rayne resident Tyra said: ‘At the heart of this issue is the fact that Max Rayne is UCL’s only affordable housing option for many students – particularly those from low-income backgrounds. ‘Throughout the year, our concerns have been utterly neglected or dealt with slowly, and this sends the message that low-income students’ wellbeing comes at a price that we can’t afford. ‘Other halls do not have the same problem. I balance two part-time jobs which contribute to my rent, only to come home and have a cold shower for three, maybe four days. ‘The entire experience has been frustrating and disempowering.’