Sussex students are going on a rent strike over the state of their halls

‘Our movement will only escalate,’ said one of the students in Kings Road flats

Over a third of the students in Kings Road Flats have declared an indefinite rent strike against high rent and poor conditions in their university managed halls.

The students living in the £126 per week flats are protesting outside Sussex House on Thursday to kick-start the strike.

Jack Carpentiere, a first-year Criminology and Sociology student and rent striker, said: “We will not back down until we get what we deserve.”

The strikers claim the accommodation suffers from rodent infestations, broken showers, and lack of hot water. The halls have also been subject to construction work which adds to the noise and dust pollution.

The university has recognised these problems and offered £35 a month to students currently suffering from the problems at Kings Road. In response, the students called this “insulting, given the continuous and highly negative impact on our quality of life”.

The strikers’ conditions to end the strike are: “Immediate and total repair of all maintenance issues reported by tenants, compensation of £100 per month for the duration of construction works, provision of a free travel card for every resident given the increased need to commute to the main campus and compensation for all expenses incurred by tenants owing to accommodation faults.”

The Kings Road strikers have warned the university that if their demands are not met immediately, the campaign will escalate. 

The strike – supported by Brighton renters union ACORN – was spurred on by the revelation last week that the ex-vice chancellor of Sussex University, Michael Farthing, was given £230,000 as a leaving bonus. Tensions have risen as the students believe the money could be better used elsewhere, such as compensating students who live in bad accommodation conditions.

A spokesperson for ACORN Brighton said: “Britain has thousands of dodgy landlords, who make their money by renting poor quality accommodation for extortionate prices.

“Sadly, the managers of the University of Sussex are no different. As members of ACORN renters’ union, we stand in full support of the thousands of students and renters getting organised around the country. We will no longer be exploited.”

A protest will be held outside Sussex House on December 14 to kick-start the rent strike 

The university had this to comment: “All of the University’s managed accommodation, whether it is on campus or in the city, meets our quality standards.

“We regularly check all of our properties and ask that our students report any maintenance requirements so they can be rectified quickly.

“Whilst we are already addressing some temporary issues, we don’t recognise all of the claims that have been put forward but we are in active discussions with the Students’ Union and directly with our students about these.”