UoB students start a petition demanding compensation after being without hot water for months
Residents are demanding compensation
University of Birmingham students living at Liberty Park have been living without frequent hot water since September. The students affected have started a petition demanding compensation.
Since September, the students living at Liberty Park in Selly Oak have had infrequent hot water, with showers only being warm during the day. The students told us that the water would switch suddenly from boiling hot to freezing cold. It took almost a month to receive any response.
Many of the students living at Liberty Park chose to move back into halls to minimise the stress of final year. Having to come back in the middle of the day to shower and often having to resort to washing their hair in the sink has done anything but.
In one of many complaints sent to Liberty Living, one of the students said: "After a long day of lectures and working, coming home to ice cold water, repeatedly, has been anything but enjoyable."
She goes on to state that the shower situation often left her with no choice but to miss university "due to the unpredictability of the shower." The student now feels she is falling behind in her studies as a result of the situation. In their response, Liberty Living suggested that the students changed their routine, but showering in the day is not an option for students who spend most of their time at University.
The students had been complaining since they arrived in September, and have waited months having a water supply which has remained inconsistent and temperamental.
In December, the effected students were offered £100 in compensation after a petition was started to demand reimbursement. The petition asked for £100 plus the initial deposit as compensation. The amount offered by Liberty Living does not even cover a weeks rent of £143.
The students involved state, however, that it isn't the level of compensation they are angry about, but the way Liberty Living have treated them. One of the students involved told the Tab: "No one was listening to us, we were left in the dark" and the regional manager who met with them to discuss the level of compensation was "very patronising."
In response to their demand for higher compensation, Liberty Living stated: "We have discounted the amount of your rent that would have been attributed to water rates, this is on average £15 per person per month."
Liberty Living claim all other compensation offered is "purely as a gesture of good will." However, when moving into Liberty Park, the students expected a certain standard of living, yet these standards has not been met and have caused much stress. The problems endured has been equated, by Liberty Living, to £100.
A Liberty Living spokesperson told the Tab: "Some students experienced temporary water pressure issues at Liberty Park last year. We worked with Severn Trent Water to investigate and resolve this matter. In recognition of the inconvenience caused, we paid compensation to those affected."
The experiences of the students at Liberty Park reflects a larger issue of landlords taking advantage of students. Many students feel that because students are young and inexperienced, landlords feel they can treat them as lesser clients.
The University are buying the halls for first years, hopefully the water issue is fixed by then.