‘I actually feel sick with how anxious I am’: King’s students react to Champion Hill eviction

‘We have no idea what’s going on, that’s for sure’

Yesterday, The King’s Tab reported that hundreds of freshers were facing eviction from Champion Hill after the discovery of potential fire hazards.

Those who live there now have until the 16th to pick a day to move out, and the entire building is to be vacated by the end of the month. Some of them found out about the news “hours” before exams.

The King’s Tab spoke to students facing eviction, who now face the daunting prospect of finding their own place to live in London for the first time.

‘I’m trying to remain positive and see it as an adventure, but I’m really stressed and anxious’

“So I woke up, and the Champion Hill group chat was going mad,” Lauren Wilson told The King’s Tab. “I thought everyone saying we have to leave was a joke.”

Lauren then checked her emails and saw that management had posted letters to residents confirming the rumours.

“They said it was for fire safety purposes but I’m gutted to leave,” she said.

Lauren says King’s have given students three options: “Either go into a hotel, go into other uni accommodation, or go into private accommodation with friends.”

Deciding they needed longer to than a week to find somewhere new, Lauren and her friends opted for a hotel. Lauren said: “I’m trying to remain positive for it and see it as an adventure, but I’m really stressed and anxious about it.

“I actually feel sick how anxious I feel.”

‘Private accommodation isn’t an option for working-class students’

Final year Owen told The King’s Tab over Instagram: “I found out at 9:30 that morning when the email came through.

“I spoke to one of the advice services provided by King’s accommodation and they weren’t able to tell me what residences we’ll be located to, and said the hotels haven’t been finalised yet.”

Like Lauren, Owen is also worried, especially after King’s overbooking of halls in September left hundreds of freshers in accommodation limbo.

“I can’t afford to go into private accommodation at such short notice,” they said. “This isn’t an option for working-class students.”

Owen said their dissertation is due “in just over two months” and has essay deadlines coming up.

“I really don’t know where I’m going to be living at possibly the most inconvenient time in my life,” they told The King’s Tab.

‘If they don’t give me an en-suite, I’ll go private’

A 19-year-old who wanted to remain anonymous claims King’s hasn’t told the students much about their options.

She said: “At the moment I’m waiting to hear from them in response to an email asking if they can guarantee me an en-suite. If not I might go to private accommodation.

“That will likely be more expensive. I doubt I’ll be able to find a contract for such a short time, and the compensation they offer most likely won’t cover it.”

‘We have no idea what’s going on, that’s for sure’

Christina told The King’s Tab it’s “difficult to understand the exact reasons why this is happening,” and said their fate will be decided by a questionnaire filled out by the soon-to-be-evicted residents.

She told The King’s Tab: “No we just have to wait until Monday when they’ll tell us where to go.

“We have no idea what’s going on, that’s for sure,” she said.

‘They want to put me in a hotel where I will have to pay extra for my food’

In an email sent to The King’s Tab, first-year and international student Kaavya said: “I’ve come to a foreign country on my own for the first time and they’ve basically left me with no roof over my head.”

Kaavya said when she asked King’s residences about the type of accommodation the uni was promising, the person over the phone was short with him.

“They blatantly told me that I could either take their offer or give up and terminate my contract with them,” she said.

Kaavya fears the accommodation King’s puts him in will be far worse than Champion Hill. She told The King’s Tab: “They want to put me in a hotel without a kitchen where I will have to pay extra for my food.

“I come from another country. I would like to eat the food I prefer rather than eating what a hotel puts in front of me.

“Laundry services are also not provided for at the same rates which we got at Champion Hill.”

In her email, Kaavya said international students “deserve some preference in the process” – similar to disabled students, or those under 18.

She added: “If they’ve known about the issue from the 19th of December, they could have informed us in advance so that we could have made arrangements in the month holiday we were given.”

‘As an international student, I don’t have much choice’

International student Raffaela told The King’s Tab she doesn’t “have much choice” but to stay in King’s accommodation.

“I don’t have credit in the UK, so finding private accommodation could be especially difficult since I’m leaving again in nine months,” she said.

“I’m feeling quite frustrated,” she continued. “I know it’s not really their fault, but the timeline is strange with them knowing from the 19th and telling us the morning before classes start.”

‘It’s honestly so rude’

Another student, Sarah Lee, told The King’s Tab her best mate also faces eviction.

“They’ve been vague about what is going to happen and what support they’ll give her,” she said.

Sarah’s friend is a second-year nursing student on the King’s Affordable Accommodation Scheme (KAAS) and is “obviously worried about her finances.

“It’s honestly so rude they waited at a time they know students are overwhelmed and have a lot of things going on,” she said.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Hundreds of freshers left with no accommodation after King’s overbooks halls

King’s students turned away from halls are still living in grim hotels

Things you’ll only experience if you’ve been a resident of Intercollegiate Halls