Brighton Uni halls empty and clear rooms of students’ possessions with no warning

‘Most importantly her privacy was invaded as someone has gone through her things without consent’

Residents have accused a private university accommodation complex of disposing of all their belongings without providing warning, after students living in halls were encouraged to leave and return home due to coronavirus.

One Brighton University fresher returned to her accommodation at Kaplan Living to find that her room was entirely empty. In videos and photos posted to Facebook, it can be seen that residents’ rooms have been completely cleared of their possessions.

The Sussex Tab spoke directly to Holly, one fresher’s sister, who posted what had happened on Facebook. She revealed that her sister was told to leave as soon as possible, along with other students living in the complex. She said: “All students basically left with an overnight bag as nobody had any idea that lockdown would last for so long. They thought they would be able to return back to halls.”

Recorded footage of the halls being cleared out can be seen on The Sussex Tab’s Instagram here.

In her Facebook post, Holly describes how her sister was informed all belongings would be safe until collected; later to return to an empty room and a key that no longer functioned. She told The Sussex Tab the contract is valid until August. She said: “As halls were closed you cannot just turn up to your room. You have to book an appointment slot and move your things in a two hour slot.”

They had their slot booked for yesterday and they intended to remove all of her sister’s belongings. Holly also revealed Kaplan were taking bookings up until 29 August. She added: “It makes no sense that they have cleared the rooms out without warning and didn’t give a deadline in the first place.”

Holly stated that when they arrived at her sister’s accommodation they struggled to get into her room, however once they did and realised it was completely empty, they ran down to reception. Holly told The Sussex Tab: “None of the staff had any idea what was going on. They advised us to come back another time and leave empty handed.

“I was filming people wheeling peoples belongings on trolleys. There was no resistance and no body tried to stop them. The general manager actually turned his phone off as the receptionist was trying to get hold of him for my sister and other students affected.”

In her original Facebook status, Holly said her sister had lost everything. “Cameras, clothes, trainers, personal sentimental items, photos, hundreds of pounds of skincare items in that room which now cannot be replaced”, Holly said. “Most importantly her privacy was invaded as someone has gone through her things without consent. Her medication, prescriptions, personal details and bank statements have also been thrown god knows where.”

Kaplan Complex has since released a statement apologising for what has happened. A spokesperson told The Sussex Tab: “Since mid-June when lockdown was eased, Kaplan Living Brighton have been working closely with the many students who returned home early before the end of term due to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to arrange for them to come back and collect their belongings. We also offer to put students’ belongings into storage. However, some students have instead asked for us to dispose of their belongings for them.

“We became aware yesterday that three rooms had been cleared in error and we are currently investigating how that could have happened. This should not have occurred and we offer our sincere apologies to the students affected.”

The full statement can be seen below:

Recorded footage of the halls being cleared out can be seen on The Sussex Tab’s Instagram here.

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