UCL students kicked out of halls mid term

Residents are refusing to pay rent after being made to leave so late notice

Residents in Hawkridge Hall, a UCL Postgraduate Accommodation, were told last week on 26th February that they would be forced to relocate from their residence between March 18th and March 20th.

In response, the residents have launched a Change.org petition against the forceable relocation, and are refusing to move residences until they are given evidence the building is inhospitable. Until their demands are met they are commencing a rent strike.

On the 26th February residents were notified that they would be forced to re-locate mid term and mid-year. The students are arguing this leaves “very little time to pack up our belongings, attempt to find new private accommodation, and imposes a serious mental, physical and economic burden on students.”

In response, Hawkridge Hall residents have created a list of demands for UCL. If these are not met, the residents are threatening to withhold fees and are refusing to move out of their halls.

The contracts signed by the hall’s residents say they can be forcibly moved in the case of “catastrophic failure of services or the destruction and inoperability of part of the building necessitating closure.” But residents state that UCL Accommodation has stated that the House “is safe to live in and meets all regulatory safety measures.”

Residents want an explanation as to why their “movement from Hawkridge Hall must be done so imminently if there is no danger posed” by living in the building. Residents claim that UCL is either lying about the safety risk or are attempting to renovate rooms “so they can move new students in and charge higher rents as soon as possible.”

The petition demands financial compensation of a minimum of a third of their Term Three rent for the strain of moving to a new location or change the move date to the end of term if it isn’t vital.

If shown that Hawkridge Hall is unlivable, they want to receive compensation for living in a dangerous building, and that UCL Accommodation should be responsible for avoiding the possibility to talk about it publicly.

The petition goes on to say that if UCL can prove it is vital to move, then residents should have the ability to look at new housing accommodations before committing to completing their lease.

A UCL spokesperson said: “Hawkridge House meets all regulatory safety requirements for residential accommodation with the legal safety measures in place and has passed all recent fire and safety inspections.

“UCL continually carries out safety reviews of all its buildings and we have decided to carry out exploratory work ahead of possible major enhancements to the building.

“As a result, we are relocating students living in Hawkridge House to equivalent alternative UCL accommodation from next month with similar travel times or distance to campus. All removal arrangements and costs will be met by UCL.

“UCL is in close contact with all students at Hawkridge House. We are listening to all concerns raised and will assess these on a case-by-case basis. We recognise this decision may be unsettling and we will do our best to minimise any disruption for our students.”

The UCL spokesperson went on to say “While catastrophic failures are one of the options in the General Regulations for relocating students, UCL also reserves the right to relocate students to equivalent standard of accommodation in the event of welfare issues. This relocation will prevent major disturbances to the students during a vital time of their academic year.

The petition contains highly inaccurate information and we are working closely both with the residents in Hawkridge and the Students’ Union UCL to alleviate any concerns this has raised.”