I was about to move into my student house, only for it to be declared unfit to live in
‘We’re going to start uni without a place to live. That’s how bad the situation is’
A group of students at the University of Glasgow were told the property they were set to move in to was unfit to live in, leaving them without term-time accommodation as their teaching begins.
A bubble in a wall under the property on Oakfield Avenue in Glasgow’s west end meant that the house was unsafe to inhabit, scuppering the living plans of 19-year-old medicine student Kit Kirkbride and his four friends.
The incoming tenants have now found out that the council discovered the structural fault in March, and told the building’s owners – but the group of students were not prevented from putting a deposit down and paying the first two months rent.
A section of an email from Glasgow City Council Building Standards reads: “In March 2021 our Structural Engineer inspected the wall and confirmed whilst the wall was in a state of disrepair, the section of the wall was not immediately dangerous and repair works were required.
“All owners of the building were subsequently informed by Building Standards that repair work should be undertaken.”
Despite the fault being discovered in March, the property’s owners and managers failed to rectify the situation.
A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said: “The owners were fully aware of the condition through their factors and the survey that had previously been carried out on their behalf – the necessary repairs were not undertaken.”
Even though the council knew about the deteriorating situation, they were powerless to do anything about the landlords renting out the property to Kit and his friends
“The council can only respond and take action where we have evidence that a private landlord has failed to meet his legal responsibilities or any conditions of their licence,” the council spokesperson told The Tab.
On August 5th, Glasgow City Council Building Standards declared the property unfit to live in because of a bubble in the basement and ordered an immediate evacuation.
By that time, Kit and his housemates had already moved some belongings into the house, after their tenancy began on July 1st.“The landlords knew that the building was dodgy and we later found out they could have done something to fix it,” Kit told The Tab. “We’re going to start uni without a place to live. That’s how bad the situation is.”
Luckily none of the tenants were in the house at the time, but some of their belongings remain locked up inside until the property is fixed.
Kit and his friends have paid the deposit as well as rent for July and August, but to Kit, it’s not the money that’s important, it’s the fact that term has already started and they haven’t got anywhere to live.
Glasgow, like many unis, has been hit by a student housing crisis. Due to being oversubscribed, the uni has housed freshers in Paisley, miles away from campus.
Kit and his flatmates, who’ve now split up into smaller sub-groups, are now forking out for AirBnBs as they hunt for somewhere more permanent to live.