LSE students crowdfund legal fees to take accommodation providers to court over mould, mice and construction issues
They’re aiming to raise £5,000
A group of LSE postgraduate students are attempting to crowdfund £5,000 to cover legal fees for taking their landlord to court over living conditions they faced this year.
The residents of Sidney Webb House claim to have suffered from health problems, distractions from studying and immense distress, due to rodent infestations, long periods without hot water and excess black mould in bathrooms, amongst other issues.
More than 215 postgrads are getting involved with the campaign against their treatment, and an eight member committee has been elected to take part in discussions with LSE.
Rooms at Sidney Webb House, located in Elephant and Castle, are priced between £173.95 and £228.90 per week. For this price, students claim to have been subjected to problems including rodent infestations, widespread black mould, and non-functional ventilation systems.
Over the course of the year, living conditions in the Unite Students Ltd. property deteriorated. Unite are said to have continuously violated the terms of the licence contract, with the conditions culminating in several students suffering from upper respiratory tract infections and one student undergoing an open surgical procedure for a linked skin condition.
Extensive construction work began during students’ exam period, leaving their revision success at the mercy of noisy workers for seven weeks.
Leah Lucas, a member of the action committee who was personally affected by the situation, told the London Student: “Going into some different rooms, you could immediately tell the difference in air quality from room to room. In some rooms I would walk into and my voice would just stop. I wasn’t trying to do that, but the air quality was very, very dismal.”
When the LSE Complaint Procedure failed them, the students turned to funding their own legal aid. So far they have raised over £2,200 of the £5,000 total, with 19 days left to go.
A spokesperson for LSE told The Tab: “Sidney Webb House – a hall of residence owned and managed by student accommodation provider Unite Students Ltd – is to be newly refurbished over the summer.
“We are however aware of a number of complaints made by LSE students about accommodation there this academic year. We take student welfare issues seriously and we are investigating each issue raised as per our complaint procedure.”
You can find the Sidney Webb House Action Group’s crowdfunder here.